Posts Tagged ‘Traveling With Eyes Wide Open’

Is your stuff any better for me than chocolate?

Too many years I spent stuffing ice cream, twinkies and rasin bran down my throat, trying to find some comfort from my own emotions. Today I am 7 years post op and I am amazed at things that go on in the bariatric industry.

For the past 4 years I have attended the ASMBS and I have seen vendors almost argue of who’s product is the best. I have seen name calling and at times what I thought might escalate to physical violence. I have seen products come and go. Do any of you remember AchievOne? God that was good stuff right? We all loved the protein latte in the glass bottle and thought we would be devistated when it went away…. then came replacements. We survived. My friend Jill told me if you put your Bariatric Advantage Vitamins on Autoship you get free shipping and that you can add PROJO in on that.. If that is so, Tom Kinder you made a believer out of me. I will be placing an order.

Honestly I have worked in the bariatric industry long enough that I want to ask some people WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?

You better believe I recall sitting in the preop seminar as they went over the possible complications of surgery. You better believe I was the first one to notice hair loss over death in the complications list. Now at 7 years post op I realize how silly I was.

People, please understand this surgery is serious.  Abnormally low lab values are found in most of us preop. After surgery it only gets worse. Forgettabout your hair and look at the big picture. I lost tons of hair, it came back. There are people out there who are getting iron infusions, and who have permanent nerve damage from lack of vitamins.

I work with post ops everyday who have vitamin deficiencies and complications such as rickets, beriberi, and neuropathy. Thank you to Andrea Ullberg for creating a lab book for us post ops. It will be available at the OH event in Houston. If you have never heard Andrea speak about labs and vitamins I hope you get that chance. I remember the first time I met her and she started spouting normal ranges and high lows off her head. I was blown away.  You can find her blog at http://wlsvitagarten.com/

One more thing, if you are going to sell products in the bariatric world, please don’t practice fat hating. We can feel that!  I go to many OH events, ASMBS and other WLS related functions. We notice when you tell us what we “should” do and when you cross your arms as if to block us out when you talk to us. I weighed 385 pounds I was super morbidly obese, and I had weight loss surgery to save my life so that I could begin living and not merely existing.  We judge ourselves enough when we are obese, please we don’t need help with that.

It’s one thing that you want to pour protein and vitamins down our throat, we might actually like your product. But show us some compassion. We are human just like you, only prettier! Bless your heart.(ok, yes I do love that song)

Now let me come off my soap box and tell you about some great people in the Biz…

BJ’s Bariatrics He is a very nice man, I don’t believe I have met his wife. He is a patient and I believe she is as well. Bob has shown nothing but kindess and consideration at the events and when you place an order it ships right away. I can order today and have it tomorrow. I know that all depends on where you live, but ship time is great.

Connie Stapleton, Mary Jo Rapini and Margaret Furtado. These ladies are speakers and authors as well as medical professionals, I have  books by all three of them and love their writing. I have been fortunate to have met and spent time with all three of them.. KUDOS to you… for your service to the bariatric community.

Chike Protein, and Click Protein… both of these companies are wonderful… I have felt loved and supported by both of them in my post op life… Trust me when I say a chocolate chike mixed with click is amazing (1/2 scoop choc chike,  1 scoop of Click either flavor… Kudos to your protein and to YOU.

WLS Lifestyles Magazine… Love this publication.  They focus on wellness and treating the person with obesity as a whole person “mind,body and soul” … Kudos to Dan and Rebecca and the staff, and writers in this magazine. (note:yes I do write for them, but I would love them even if  I didnt)

Bloggers thank YOU all for telling your story… We all have a story and something to share.. thank you all…

Obesityhelp.com for your continued support of our community. You give us great resources with the magazine, the message board and the events. Kudos to you and for all you do.

I see things differently now that I have lost 225 pounds and my vision is no longer clouded. I chose to support companies that are operate from integrity, who have compassion for our community and who speak the truth.


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Henna Tattoos Jill and I at Diwali



The night before Halloween, it is said to be the darkest night of the year. This year, I made a conscious decision to celebrate LIGHT on this day…

My friend Jill called and invited me to go to the Diwali festival with her and her husband Dale. One thing I have promised myself on this journey is that I will honor myself and allow myself to experience life, other cultures and their traditions. I grew up on a Mountaintop in West Virginia there was not a lot of experiencing culture there, so I spent my time in the woods swinging on grapevines “pretending to visit other lands and other people”

Now that I am grown, I can truly experience life… and I chose to do so!

We parked the car and before we could even get to the festival I was dancing… the music of life moves me in ways that I suppose only I can understand. Luckily I have been blessed in life with friends who “get that” part of me.

Celebrating the Inner Light

I made it into the festival and at the very first booth before I could even get a full view of the grounds a fine looking young man had unwrapped a fuschia colored Saree. It was made of silk and had such beautiful hand sewn flowers and decoration as the border. I was instantly mesmerized and could see myself wearing the Saree… to…to… well to the Grocery store, the doctors office, the bead store… you see, I can so easily see myself in my own visions that it just might as well be so.

Since I am not getting married tomorrow with an Indian ceremony the Saree would be a bit eccentric to most… but actually I thought it just screamed my name. As a matter of fact this entire event is just screaming my name. They say the eyes are the doors to the soul, and for this event I have left my doors wide open.

Diwali or Deepavali is commonly referred to as the festival of light, and it is a day of gaiety and merriment. The intent of this holiday is to Glorify the Light of God. (How can you not love that? It just brings a smile to my heart to hear the words) On the whole, Dawali signifies the triumph of good over evil, of rightousness over trachery, of truth over falsehood and of light over darkness.

This is a day to celebrate the inner light. Imagine that a day of looking at our soul and honoring it, rather than focusing on the “outside”. Imagine a day to let our true self shine, instead of being focused on the outside decoration, costumes, masks ect…For the first time in my adult life.. I am celebrating the darkest night of the year in light.

Jill, Dale and I walked around the event and took in every moment, every experience. Jill and I signed on for a Henna tattoo. We also enjoyed some of the delicious Indian foods. A Dall Roti with vegetable curry. We shared a piece of Laddo, an Indian sweet.

We also got to watch an Indian Wedding ceremony… maybe  I missed it..but I did not hear those words “I promise to obey”….

I am making myself a promise… I promise to honor my inner light….after all when it is all said and done, it is me I have to answer to before I lay down to sleep.. I don’t want to explain to myself why I neglected to take care of me… why I didn’t honor my inner most thoughts and desires…

Sometimes you just have to step outside the box, get out of the comfort zone and experience life. Even though I am not from India, I learned so much about their customs and beliefs and guess what? I can apply them to MY life.  Now to figure out how to get that Saree…

I'm Going to Let it Shine

How about you? What are you doing today that YOU really want to do? How are you honoring yourself and making the most of your life?

The Wedding Ceremony.. I did not hear the "I promise to OBEY" did you?


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At seven years post op from gastric bypass, there are times when I wake up and forget that I have had surgery. I have worked through so many of my life issues and just want to live a normal life. Don’t get me wrong, I will never forget where I came from with my struggles with obesity. It just seems like for me these days my life is more about living, experiencing, doing and being rather than worry about what my next meal is going to be. Does that make sense at all?

Today is Saturday and that is my weekly bead circle day. Back home in WV we had quilting circles, I don’t think I could put together a quilt with thread if I was freezing. But I would make you a beautiful necklace in trade for a quilt *smile*. My bead family is wonderful. We laugh and share life stories and all the while we are creating beautiful pieces of jewelry filled with love.

My beautiful friend Francine and I!


Today I sat at the table with my friends Francine and Susan. I have been working on an amulet bag that is very detailed for over a month. 31 four feet strands of fireline on a loom with 30 seed beads on each row.. My first loom project and I chose the most detailed project in the book. I did not chose it because I think I am the BEST beader in the world, I chose it because it reminds me of someone in my life that I am very thankful for. It’s a project that has slowed me down tremendously.

Today as I was beading it Iaccidentally cut one of the cords of fireline. I cried. So much work I have invested in this bag, many hours of not only physical work, but hours of devotion and love has gone into this piece. I cried harder.

I wanted to pick my loom up and throw it.. to crash it into the wall.. I wanted to yell and scream and cuss.  My friends Susan and Francine both hugged me and said not to worry I am with people who loved me and it will be ok.  These two friends of mine have been with me through the entire process of beading this bag. The listened to me talk about it for months before I actually got the loom. Then they have sit with me each Saturday as I add rows of beads to the loom.

You might be reading this thinking how in the world could I get so upset over a beaded amulet bag, right?

Like I said, I put so much of me into the bag, so much of my creativity and my love that to watch that string snap was like cutting me. How often have I talked about how I apply my beading and jewelry making to my “life”?

Today was no different, and I realized there are things in my life “relationships, jobs, education ect…” that I have put so much of myself into, then suddenly that string broke. It reminds me of that Martina McBride song…

You can spend your whole life buildin’
Something from nothin
One storm can come and blow it all away
Build it anyway

You can chase a dream
That seems so out of reach
And you know it might not ever come your way
Dream it anyway

God is great but sometimes life aint good
And when I pray
It doesn’t always turn out like I think it should
But I do it anyway
I do it anyway

This worlds gone crazy
And it’s hard to believe
That tomorrow will be better than today
Believe it anyway

You can love someone with all YOUR heart
For all the right reasons
And in a moment they can choose to walk away
love em anyway

God is great but sometimes life aint good
And when I pray
It doesn’t always turn out like I think it should
But I do it anyway
Yeah I do it anyway, yeah,

You can pour your soul out singin’
A song you believe in
That tomorrow they’ll forget you ever sang
Sing it anyway
Yeah sing it anyway, yeah, yeah

I sing
I dream
I love anyway, yeah.

So there I sat crying over a broken fire line! Then it dawned on me..I am blessed… I still have beads, a loom, fireline, creativity and two healthy hands to work with. That is just the beginning, I have so much in my life to be thankful for.   I can start over if I have to, I can begin again. The amazing thing, was realizing this was not about the broken line on my loom at all, it was about  weaving the patterns of my life…. My tears transformed from sadness to cleansing happy tears.

About that time my bead Guru Fin came along and showed me how to add a new line  in, she said she looks at this as getting rid of the old and making way for the new… and that is why she is my bead Guru… There are no problems… only situations… and once again I have overcome a situation and the beading of the amulet bag continues and guess what? So does my life continue. I will walk this path one day at the time, learning and growing each day. It’s amazing how many valuable life lessons I have learned already from beading a amulet bag and from living my life.

Later that day some new beaders came in and asked about the loom work that I was doing. Fin explained to them that looming is deligent, tedious work and that the piece I am making is wide and complicated. She told them that the only reason she agreed to have me begin looming  with this project is that I have the patience of Job.  I also have the ears of a turtle and heard her say that and a nice warm smile came over my face.

I realized the path I have chosen is not easy and it takes lots of courage, strength and dedication. It also takes a lot of willingness to be patient with others, but mostly patient with myself.

At the end of the Beading day... a Smile was on my face.

So in other words… a broken life line does not mean the end of life… just ..  time for change…

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Below is an entry from my original online journal about my bariatric journey. I must say I don’t really recognize myself in the writing, but yet I do. I can see my strength in the writing, but I can also see what a wounded spirit I had. I suppose you can see by  reading the entry I was in a horrible place in my life it seemed.. But, really it was a good place because I was sure learning lots of lessons…rather quickly I might add.

The point of sharing this is to 1. If you have had surgery and lost a lot of weight and worried about the skin, you see you are not alone in this journey. 2. Realize there are issues that we battle that go beyond the weightloss, I have lost all my weight in this entry, but I am battling emotions, self doubt, body dysmorphia, feeling unloved and incontinence from PFD. 3. You can see, that with perseverance we can do so much. This was written 5 years ago and I was 2 years post op almost at the time. I did manage to have the reconstructive surgeries, I did manage to get the strength to leave the husband, and I don’t pee on myself anymore… oh life is so good!!! I still don’t have lumbar seats though. **************************************************************************************************** June 7,2005 My plastic reconstructive surgery consult was today. I drove myself to my appointment although driving really sucks with this SI injury and PFD. I got up this morning at 5:00 am and fixed my face, and lord knows that is a days worth of work. Fixed my hair and got dressed. I hated the thoughts of making this trip alone but hey a gals gotta do what a gals gotta do. My husband is really not into this and it seems everywhere I go and everything I do, I am alone.

Along the way I realized my SUV was riding funny pulled over and low and behold my tire was low, so I pulled off at the first exit which was in Beaver, WV filled up the tank and the tire. Saw a real hot guy in a Lexus 270 who was giving me the eye haha too early in the morning dude! So Im back on the road, brought me a frozen coffee drink from home with a scoop of vanilla matrix for protein. Why I keep missing my mouth and spilling this on my new dress I have no idea. Funny thing is I used to drop everything on my chest now it hits a little lower SO here I go, going somewhere Im not really sure of the directions since I dont venture out of my safe world too awful much.

I turn up the radio and jam awhile listening to some music always makes me feel good. I forget when the radio is blasting that I cant carry a tune in a bucket even if it does have splash guards on it. SO I just belt it out as loud as I can go. Although my back is killing me and Im thinking my next major investment will be a car with lumbar seats. It seems like I am driving forever, miles and miles. After many miles an no road signs that even mention Fishersville I am beginning to worry. OK. Maybe I should invest in a CB radio, yea breaker breaker this is Miss Dolly, I got the hammer down, and Im rolling down I-64 not sure where the  Hell I am, could one of you nice people point me to the right path?? I am heading to Fishersville.

When am I going to learn to right down directions before I leave the house. No wonder my daddy worries to death about me. Well if all else fails I will do like my mommy taught me stop and ask some nice gentleman where the Hell I am. The road sign ahead says the road is going to split! Right for Richmond and Left for Staunton. Ok I dont want either I want to go to Fishersville. So driving at 65, I close my eyes for a moment (its kinda dangerous shutting your eyes driving 65 on the interstate) and think ok GOD give me a sign here do I go left or do I go right, well low and behold got gave me a sign a great big green one that says Fishersville 1 mile, YAHOO!!!!! Alrighty then thank you GOD for that one!!I sure needed your help with that!!

I am getting quite nervous as I know I am going to have to bare it all when I get where I am going and my pouchie Betsy is being quite bitchy with me. She needs to be a little nicer to me when I am having a bad day!!! Ok here I am Fishersville exit, the Augusta Medical Center itself is easy to find I reckon because it is HUGE!!! But finding the medical offices is a different story, but I managed!! I am figuring out I can do these things by myself, and I am not totally helpless!!!

I go in to the office and fill out my paperwork, and sit down for the wait. I start reading little pamplets one says are you considering botox injections?? Haha I hate needles. Another says vitamin C topical solutions is the key to beautiful skin, well Hell I figured that out along time ago when Adrienne Arpell started selling vitamin C skincare kits in her Signature Club A collection. Thank God for HSN so I can get it a little cheaper.

I am deep engulfed in this reading material when I look up and a lady says to me Honey did Dr. Knox do your work?? Well she caught me off guard I reckon, I said what work? and she says well you have had something done to your face havent you???I kinda laugh and say oh no honey I just LOOK this way. I am here for some BODYWORK!!LOLOLOLOLOL

She looks at me again and says now honey there is nothing to be ashamed of you have a perfect figure, surely you have had face work Well gosh dang it no I havent But she can fix anything she wants to when Im under!! SO the lady finally believes me. She tells me she figures I am there for a boob job since I have such a cute little figure. Oh I feel like pulling up my dress and showing this lady that she doesnt know it ALL!!! But she is so d@$% prim and proper she would probably poop in her pants!!!

Betsy is really peeved by this point. I am scared to death I will pee all over myself on this little trip due to the bladder problem I am having. With this huge pani of skin I have PFD and I also have a SI joint injury from a wreck and so I have issues. 😦 I have made a point to stop very frequently and pee and stretch my back. But Betsy she is her own boss. They call me in, I just look at the little blue haired nosey lady and smile. Betsy wanted to say BLECK!!!

The doctor comes in to talk first, very good, I am impressed. She is very nice and lets me tell her what I am there for, tell her what all is bothering me. She is very receptive and listens very carefully. Then she gives me this gown and says I need to get undressed and put the opening in the front, and gives me these little blue photo panties. OMG PHOTO PANTIES What am I doing here???, shut up Betsy this is NO time for you to act up!!! Ok imagine me in blue paper thong panties and that is it. I am not impressed with that look! I CAN’T BREATHE.. I do NOT want to take PHOTOS in Blue paper THONG panties. She takes the photos, and we discuss the surgeries, it will take 4 to get me back to normal!!

*&^$#@!@#$%^^&*(((*&^%$#@!$%^&*(((&%$#@!@$%^&***((*&&^%$# @ NORMAL….isn’t that a setting on the dryer?

Of course we all knew about the tummy tuck I would need, she says I have massive amounts of skin. That my weight was carried mostly from the waist down, I may or may not need the whole anchor cut, but that she will not leave it to look poochy if I need it she will do it. I will have a new belly button, a nice little innie like I used to have. I actually have a rash which she says is a good thing it will be in the photos she submits to my insurance. My panni is longer and bigger on the right side. How weird is that.?? What a wonderful day it will be if they approve me really quick!!!

About 16 pounds of excess skin

Second surgery breast Did you know one of my boobs is larger than the other?? Yea, that is a deformity in itself, hooray for that!!! OK my whole body must be lopsided. She says the insurance will possibly cover the lift and the removal of the extra skin along the sides. Implants I will have to pay for$1,800 hmmm no matter what size same price. OK no I dont want Dolly boobs, I dont think I could carry them, and I already have a bad back so what would it do to me??I have to decide if I want the implants, and what size I want. Easy enough.

Third, thighs. Oh she says my thighs are awful but that is ok she didnt tell me anything I didnt already know. She will have to cut around my groin area and down the inside of my leg almost to my knee. OUCH!!!! So is my right thigh larger too?? No well dang I thought I was finally going to have an excuse for being heavy on the pedal, ya know speed demon!!!Pedal to the medal!!!

Then later on a brachioplasty. She does not feel that I will be able to get this covered although sometimes she says insurance does cover it will massive weight loss, we shall see.

One thing for sure I have learned to fight for things. My WLS was approved before I had it then Accordia PEIA tried to not pay for it. I fought that and I won. Then when I went to the ER with my abdominal pain in February and the insurance tried to say it was not an emergency and tried to only pay half, well I fought that and won my bill went from $1,800.00 to $150.00. SO I will fight with all I have left to fight with to get these surgeries approved! I probably have a job ahead of me.

When it is all said and done I have a power crunch bar waiting in my car thinking maybe Betsy will settle down if I give her some protein. I sit in my car and turn on some music, while I eat. MMMM I do love power crunch bars.

The music that comes on is Fleetwood mac singing the song where she says something to the effect of I was afraid of change because I build my life around you Now children grow older and I am growing older too Wow words to my life. I build my life around my husband and my kids, do I even exist?? Then she says if you see my reflection in a snow covered something or other I turn my mirror around to see MY REFLECTION!

Who is that in the mirror??? When did my hair get so dang big and when did it get curly?? Especially when I havent had a perm in years. Where did those lines come from?? Where did my fat MASK go??

Ohh you know the one, the one I hid behind for years. There is nowhere to hide now. Who is that in that mirror?? That is Gregs wife, that is Lynndall and Kays daughter that is Megan and Leesa’s mommy but who is she??? I am Teresa. I am a new woman now. With needs and expectations. I have a life, a job, I love taking good care of my patients, I am a student. I am a good person. I am loving, caring and just an ole country girl. I am healthy. And most of all I am NORMAL! Well almost they tell me, or I will be after 4 surgeries…*sigh*

For so long I had the fat mask to hide behind, ya know people dont look you in the eyes when you have the fat mask, they just kind of look down and hope you wont look at them in the eyes, they are hoping their children dont say something out of the way, they are hoping your disease dont rub off on them.They are sure hoping your obesity is not contagious. People dont see me that way now.

They see me as normal, you know with the comments—the cute little figure yada yada yada. It is me, who still sees myself that way, it is me who still sees the obese person I once was. When will I be able to look into that mirror and see ME, Little Teresa, the one with the beauty mark, the one with the deep set dark blue eyes, the one with the intelligents, the sense of humor??? When will I see her again, does she ever come out?? Is she lost in all of that skin?? Or even worse did I lose her when I lost the pounds??

I know some you know and understand what I am talking about. Some of you will ask –when will I see that I have lost the weight? But some of you will understand that this is much deeper than looks, this goes deep down to the root of the problem, to MY feelings. So we will submit to insurance and wait for a reply! I wish you all a wonderful journey. I hope you lose all the weight you look to lose. But most of all I hope you find you. And enjoy your life.And love yourself. I mean after all you are the main person who matters in this journey. Hugs from the mountains of WBGV, and I do LOVE ya’ll! 🙂

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