Monday, December 20, 2010


I'm not singing the blues for fudge this year. That may sound odd.... Let me explain:

My husband asked me to make fudge for the people he works with for Christmas. I've always dreaded making fudge because standing at the stove stirring for over 20 minutes always hurt my back terribly and my feet would ache too. But because I love my husband, I agreed to make 6 batches of fudge for his co-workers.

Fast forward two hours later. My back does NOT hurt! My feet are fine! And all the fudge is made! :-) I know it's because I lost the weight! Yahoo!

And, one more bonus: I'm not even tempted to taste my fudge. It doesn't sound good to me. I really don't eat chocolate much any more. Occasionally (like ever 3 weeks or so), I'll have one bite of something chocolate, but usually that is MORE than enough.

Life is SWEET! without eating chocolate! :-)

Sunday, December 5, 2010


I didn't realize how difficult Thanksgiving would be. Yes, I ate less. But I still got sick. I took one or two bites of each "dish." Which proved to be too much for my stomach. I think Thanksgiving has been the most challenging event since my surgery emotionally....

Being sick was not the difficult part. The difficult part was the emotions I had to deal with... the meal which dealt with traditions and "feel good" food. I was upset that I spent most of the evening throwing up. But I was more upset that emotionally I felt I was being "left behind" of our traditions. I did try to have less food than in the past. I prepared dishes that were healthier for my family. But I guess I wasn't prepared for the emotions I would experience this holiday.

I recognize that traditions based on food are NOT what we should focus on (so no need to leave another comment, L) but my husband loves the traditions that have been in his and my own families growing up for many, many years. Changing traditions is not easy. And I love my husband. If having a traditional Thanksgiving makes him happy, then it's a small price to pay for myself. It was just hard.

I'm already trying to change some "traditions" for Christmas. It's not easy. Scott still wants his traditional Christmas Eve dinner. I'm trying to convice him to change. I think going out to eat on Christmas Eve would be easier for me so that I can order appropriately and not focus on the food but the time together somewhere else. (Yes, it's going to a restauraunt but for some reason that is less challenging for me than a huge meal at home, and we do still HAVE to eat.) Emotionally this holiday season and the traditional meals are downright challenging.

Monday, November 22, 2010

for the "Anonymous" comment under "HAMBURGER"

I think it's pretty spineless to leave comments under the name Anonymous that are hurtful and rude. With that said, I also want to "defend" my decision on how I reward my kids. (Although I really shouldn't have to and the posting wasn't about rewarding my kids with food.) My husband and I did NOT reward our daughters with food. We felt we were rewarding them with an experience. We don't eat out often at all. So going OUT to eat was the reward, not the hamburger. We could have done that at home (for a lot cheaper).... We were rewarding our children with our time and a chance to eat somewhere else. Dinner had to be eaten. And the girls deserved a token of our appreciation for their good grades. Since we can't afford to pay our children for their grades... we thought we could possibly reward them with an experience. So please, whoever you are, do not post under Anonymous again. And do not judge others. We didn't do what you thought....

Saturday, November 20, 2010


For 10 years I have avoided purchasing clothing with verticle stripes. I had heard (and frankly this is a true statement) that stripes make you look larger than you are! Last week, I changed my tune. I didn't have any sweaters (due to the fact that I've lived in Arizona or Nevada for the past 10 years) and I was freezing (due to the fact that Kentucky is colder). So I bought myself a sweater on sale. It had stripes, but I liked it! :-)

Monday, November 1, 2010


Both Kiara and Katia got straight A's on their report cards. We celebrated by eating out tonight. I ordered a kids meal at Back Yard Burger. And I only ate 1/2 of my hamburger... But it was delicious... soooo tasty! I sorta wished I could have eaten more. But at the same time, I'm glad my stomach won't allow me to eat more. Does that make sense?!

Monday, October 25, 2010


Our family tradition is to dress up the same every year for Halloween. It has been difficult for me (and more expensive) because I've always had to order plus size costumes. This year I fit into a "normal" one-size-fits-most costume! :-) Talk about exciting! And I think I looked good too!

Monday, October 18, 2010


Mom has been begging for a new picture of me... so here it is! :-) We went to the zoo and I had to pose with one of my favorite princesses. Belle is my favorite. Snow White is my second favorite.
Anyways, I'm now at 193 lbs! :-) I feel great. Although I'm still struggling with keeping my medications/vitamins/minerals down....

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'M UNDER 200 LPS!

When I first started thinking about weight loss surgery, I was morbidly obese, weighing in at 275 pounds. I could not walk from room to room without running out of breath. I had uncontrolled diabetes and mild sleep apnea. My health was deteriorating fast. I knew if I didn't loose weight fast, my health would go from bad to worse and maybe even early death.

On the day of my surgery, I had lost a small amount of weight and weighed in at 265.5 pounds. I had no idea how long it would take for ALL the weight to come off after the surgery.... I'm please to say that 4 months later I am over 75 lbs. lighter! Yesterday I weighed in at 197 pounds! I haven't been under 200 lbs in over 10 years! :-) I am super AMAZED and THRILLED with the results!!!!! :-) It's a happy day!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Women Food and God by Geneen Roth

I just read this book by Geneen Roth. It describes eating disorders, and in particular MY eating disorder, perfectly. I felt like she was quoting my brain at times. She says, "Every single person has a shtick with food." I was glad to know it wasn't just me. I also related to when she said, "Overeating was my way to punish and shame myself; each time I gained weight, each time I failed at a diet, I proved to myself that my deepest fear was true: I was pathetic and doomed and I didn't deserve to live." She goes on to say, "Dieting was like praying. It was a plaintive cry to whoever was listening: I know I'm fat. I know I'm ugly. I know I'm undisciplined, but see how hard I try. See how violently I restrict myself, deprive myself, punish myself. Surely there must be a reward for those who know how horrible they are."

But I really can't recommend this book. Geneen is definitely not LDS. She uses terrible language throughout her book that made me cringe. Partly because it was uncalled for and partly because I've been taught not to use that kind of language. Also, her view on God is not the same as mine.

Geneen Roth's view on God reminded me of something President Hinckley said in 2001. He quoted William Earnest Hemingway's poem "Invictus." (I thank whatever Gods may be for my unconquerable soul... I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul." Geneen Roth's view is exactly this. But President Hinckley goes on to quote another poem that is a response to "Invictus" by Orson F. Whitney. This poem takes into account the atonement. It is what I have used to help me through my struggles with food and obsession.... It says:

Art thou in truth? Then what of him
Who bought thee with his blood?
Who plunged into devouring seas
And snatched thee from the flood?

Free will is thine -- free agency,
To wield for right or wrong;
But thou must answer unto him
To whom all souls belong.

Bend to the dust that head "unbowed,"
Small part of life's great whole!
And see in him, and him alone,
The Captain of thy soul.

That's my testimony. That the atonement, love and focus on my Savior will help me to overcome my obsession with food. The surgery has helped. But it's not enough. I'm still struggling. I'm still learning. And I probably will always have to have this trial. But Heavenly Father loves and knows me. He has helped me (through angels here on earth too) to overcome my compulsion with food. I'm grateful to Him. I am grateful to the many "angels" who have supported me through this difficult, unhealthy time I have been in. God lives! The atonement happened! It happened to save us all, but also to save me from my dangerous attraction to food in my life!


Well, I'm starting a weight regimen. My exercise coaches at the weight loss center told me to do so starting two weeks ago. But I didn't take the time to learn how until yesterday. So I used 3 lb. weights and lifted for about 30 minutes. I learned the lingo. I did 2 "sets" of 8 "reps" each in 8 different "exercises." I'm not trying to bulk up, just be healthy and build some strength to fight fat. :-) Well, it wasn't too hard. And I felt good afterwards. Really good. Amy said I would probably feel sore today, but I didn't think anything of it until I woke up this morning aching. She was right. I'm sore. I'm aching. And I can only take Tylonal. Tomorrow I have to lift again. I guess I'll get stronger, but right now I'm just in pain....

Monday, September 20, 2010


I've made it! It's been 4 months since my surgery! And now I am at liberty to eat what I want. I have no more restrictions on my diet! I can eat tomatoes now! And I can eat citrus fruits now too! I can eat a salad! I can have beef! I can eat pasta, bread and rice! :-) Of course, all in SMALL, SMALL, SMALL amounts. But it's still a monumental, exciting day! According to my nutritionist, my stomach pouch is now the size of a baseball/racquetball by now! :-)

The toughest part about my eating plan at this point is making sure that I don't migrate back to old habits.

Here are some of the basic fundamentals I need to remember and practice....

1. PROTEIN FIRST: Whenever I look down at the plate of food I have prepared, I should mentally identify the protein and eat three bites of it before eating anything else on my plate. My protein goal is 60-80 grams of protein per day. I need to eat fruits and vegetables next.

2. SNACKING: I should now eat three meals per day and two 100 calorie snacks throughout the day. Each snack should be protein rich or have lots of fiber. Some snacks could include: 2/3 cup low fat cottage cheese, 1/2 protein bar, 19 peanuts, 1 round laughing cow cheese, 1 medium apple, celery, 1 cup strawberries, etc.

3. WATER: This is the best, cheapest and most effective beverage anyone can drink. I need to drink at least 64 ounces a day. I drink A LOT more.

4. VITAMINS/MINERALS: Every gastric bypass patient needs to supplement their diet with vitamins and minerals or they can become anemic and malnourished. This is the most difficult for me. I often throw-up my supplements for no reason at all. It just depends on the day. I'm going to try taking non-chewable vitamins now and see if that helps.....

A NOTE ABOUT STARCHES: There are two types of starch I can choose to eat: Whole grains (whole wheat, brown rice, etc.) provide complex carbohydrates, where refined grains (white bread, white rice, pasta, things made from sugar) provide simple carbs. My best choice is the whole grain starches. When choosing to have straches, I need to limit the amount because they act as a sponge in the stomach and leave little room for proteins, fruits and vegetables. Starches should only be eaten 3-4 times per week.

So now you have the information that I have! Whether you wanted it or not! :-)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I am feeling great! I've never had so much energy! Or at least, I don't remember ever having so much energy. I'm fitting into clothes I like. And I'm finally figuring out how to "listen" to my body. I'm not throwing up (at least not too often). And the only discomfort I seem to have anymore is constant burping if I eat the wrong thing or eat too fast or eat too much. But I'm not eating too much anymore... and I've learned, pretty much, which foods to avoid. :-) I'm really full of smiles! And, if I say so myself, I look good too! :-) I'm not skinny yet. But I feel and look better than I did 6 months ago! Life is good!

Monday, September 13, 2010


I did it! I reached one of my goals for the surgery! :-)

I have wanted to shop in the "regular" clothes section for over 15 years. I hated going to the plus size women part of the store. The "regular" clothing was so much more cuter...

On Friday I purchased three blouses and a skirt. They were all in the "normal" sizes! :-) I used to wear sizes 24-28, but all the blouses AND the skirt were size 16-18. :-) I'm sooo happy I could scream! As soon as I made my purchases, I called my good friend, Joanne! She shared in my joy! I think she was as excited as I was! :-)

Monday, September 6, 2010


Had a great day in Kentucky!

For details, check out our family blog:

Here's a current photo from today! :-)

Saturday, September 4, 2010


I'm still sore after my fall. I've been sore since Tuesday afternoon. It's Saturday night. But the pain is getting less and less. Mom and my sister wanted me to go to the doctor... but I didn't want to pay a co-pay of $30. So I'm just "living with it." I do have two knots in my shoulder blades that I can't seem to work out. I've had Scott rub them, Kiara and Katia work on them, and I've even tried to pinch out the knots myself. I'm sore. Hopefully they'll work themselves out soon....

I went to visit one of the people I visit teach this morning. She just got home from head surgery. She had an infection on her brain and they had to operate. It wasn't cancer. Yeah! But if I'm the sore one, she's the brave one. She just got home from being in the hospital for 6 days and an incredibly frightening surgery. When we visited this morning, she was dressed, had make-up on and was walking (slowly) around. I was so impressed with her stamina and her bravery. I want to learn that from her!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Yesterday I fell. I was volunteering at Katia's school. I was hanging paper from bulletin boards and standing on a chair to do so. I fell trying to hold the paper and stand up on the chair. I was observed by a student and felt more stupid than hurt.... I didn't fall far. But I did fall on my toosh.

Today my buttocks is extremely sore. And walking is hard. I feel like my legs are made of spaghetti. I hope I didn't hurt anything permanently. The really bad news is that I'm out of Tylenol, and I'm not aloud to take Ibuprofen or Alieve.... Guess I need to run to the store.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Mom, bought me this red shirt. It was WAY too small for me, but she bought it for after my surgery. Well... here it is! It fits! It is 4 sizes smaller than I've worn before! :-) She bought it for me because she thought it looked happy! :-) It does! And I am!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I weigh the same as my husband! :-)

I have weighed more than him for the past 8 years! So it's exciting to finally be the same! :-) And soon I'll be less! I can't wait!

Saturday, August 21, 2010


AAAAAGGGGHHHHHH! That's how I feel!

My headache is more than a small hindrance. It's more than a mere frustration. I don't usually get pounding headaches... but today I have one.

Today was DeGooyer Day today. We had a BLAST! We went to the Kentucky State Fair. We walked for hours (which is great for exercise and fun). There was so much to see and do! I especially enjoyed seeing all the cross stitches, quilts, and art work. I want to enter one of my cross stitches in the fair next year. Scott thinks I could win a prize for my work.... I also loved the craft fair part of the experience. There were tons of booths and it reminded me of when I was a kid and would attend craft fairs with my mom. It was one of the highlights of my childhood... and I still love attending them today! The whole family really had fun! AND the fair was completely indoors, so it wasn't too hot! :-) The only negative: my cephalagia (or in lay-man's terms: my headache.)

To remedy my headache, I am only alloud to take Tylenol, due to the gastric-by-pass surgery and the way medication is digested.... Tylenol isn't much. In fact, it is lousy at curing splitting headaches. I am also trying a bit of caffeine (which should also help). I'm drinking a coke icee. So far, neither remedy is accomplishing what they profess to do....

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Well, Amy and I are off and walking! :-) Yesterday was our first day. We only walked a mile... but it was soooo much easier with a walking companion. I've never had a walking partner before! So this is great! Today we walked two miles. But we walked super slow today. The first mile was OK, but then Aaron (2 yrs) and Mary (3 yrs) wanted to walk with us. Aaron especially was fun to watch as he explored his world and tested his boundaries. He noticed EVERYTHING! And it made me grateful to experience his joy and enthusiasm over small things like mailboxes, acorns, and mushrooms. Mary also noticed every cat and spider web. It really made me appreciate Heavenly Father's creations! And I wasn't sitting... I was walking... and enjoying the "exercise!" We hope to keep it up. We want to walk 2 miles a day 5 days a week....

Sunday, August 15, 2010


I have just been called to three different callings in our ward. Now that I have energy and can do more, I get to serve more! :-) Yahoo! I am now the ward chorister (I lead the music in church every Sunday), and I am the ward choir director (which is a no brainer for me and I'm looking forward to helping create a GREAT Christmas program in December) and the Primary Secretary (I love organization!) :-)

My good friend, Amy B., just called and let me know she is pregnant! I'm SOOOO EXCITED for her! :-) After she called I had a grilled cheese sandwich and 1/2 an hour later was throwing it up. I guess I get the "morning sickness" without the pregnancy/baby ... :-/

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Last night we had TONS of fun playing games with our friends the Bettenhausens and the Thorntons. The only problem was there was tons of good food/treats. I ate WAY too much and got sick. I also tried to eat some mini hot dogs wrapped in bacon. That did not go OK with my tummy. At least I was only sick once....

Another thing that I have noticed is that my tastes have changed a bit. I still LIKE chocolate. But I don't LOVE it. In fact, I prefer Skittles or popsicles instead of chocolate. Strange.

Things sure do change when you go through this crazy surgery. One GREAT thing is that I fit into a Large Shirt (when I used to wear 3X). :-)

Friday, August 13, 2010


I shaved my legs today. That probably isn't exciting news to most people, but I noticed that when I shaved today, I wasn't uncomfortable bending over and reaching my legs. I've always dreaded shaving due to the fact that my stomach got in the way.... Today it didn't. I've never had to shave real often. I only shave 3 or 4 times a year. (I'm lucky that way.) But now it's not such a horrible chore. I have to say, it wasn't hard at all. :-) Yeah Me!

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Happy Anniversary to me! We've been married 15 years! We had a GREAT time... except for when I was throwing up. For some STRANGE reason, I couldn't keep anything down today. I even called the bariatric center, because I had only eaten things that I was able to eat before. It was very disconcerting. About 5:00 P.M. my stomach calmed down and I was able to enjoy the rest of the day with my husband.

He and I explored Louisville. There are cool things around here (and anyone who wants to visit is welcome!) We also walked around a mall exploring (for exercise purposes). At 6:00 we ate dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. We shared a meal and it was DELICIOUS! Even Scott couldn't finish the portion of food that was left for him after my 10 tiny bites so he has leftover lunch today from the Cheesecake Factory. YUM!

After taking home our leftovers, we went to see the movie Salt. Armed with Orson Scott Card's review of the movie, we decided that would be our best best. It was really fun and unexpected. It really keeps you guessing...

After the movie, we picked up the girls from Chris and Hammond's house. Put them to bed and played Yahtzee. :-) I'm sooooo glad I married Scott 15 years ago! It was probably the best decision I ever made! He is a good man who loves his family, loves God, and enjoys his work. He makes life fun! And he has his priorities right! I'm blessed beyond belief.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Dad always said, "When you do good, you feel good." It's true with surgery too. When you follow the rules (ie. eating the right foods, eating slowly, and walking daily) you feel a lot better! Today is a day of following the rules. I feel great! I have energy! And I'm not throwing up constantly. I guess I should follow my dad's advice. My dad also used to say, "Dads know everything!" I guess it's true! :-)

Monday, August 9, 2010


I used to never burp. Or if I did belch, I would make sure I was not seen or heard by others. I grew up believing that expelling gas in this way was rude. Then I watched the movie, "The Other Side of Heaven." I learned that in some places burping was actually considered polite.

People burp all the time. A burp (sometimes called a belch or by its medical term, eructation) is the release of gas from the digestive tract (the stomach) through the mouth. It is part of the body natural clearing mechanism for removing excessive gas in the digestive tract. This is caused by eating too fast or eating with our mouths open, which causes us to swallow air. Gas can also be released from food.

I have noticed that since my surgery, I belch more often. I still try to "hide" it and be polite, but more often than not, it is embarrassing and frequent. I'm not proud of my little burps. Although I'm sure my brothers would be proud that I've finally learned how to do it. I'm willing to bet that they would be even more excited if I could burp my ABCs! :-)

Sunday, August 8, 2010


I made a DELICIOUS soup today for dinner. I just threw things together I thought sounded good from our food storage. I put in white beans, canned pork, onion, garlic, salt and chicken boullion. It made the house smell GREAT! And it tasted good too! Kiara made homemade rolls to go with the soup. I only ate 1/4 of the roll, and about 1/4 cup of soup. I didn't think I ate too much, but I guess the bread expanded in my belly, because I still managed to loose some of the dinner. :-(

I also spoke in church today. For a copy of my talk, check out my other blog: :-) Everyone said it was a great talk.

We are also putting our daughters to work. More work = happier kids! :-) We'll let you know how it goes!

Friday, August 6, 2010


I have energy! I can do things! Cleaning doesn't wear me out. Walking doesn't wear me out. (Although the humid heat here in Kentucky is icky! and I don't like sweating....) I feel young again. And I know it's from loosing the weight.

The first 6 weeks after the surgery, I was down. I felt tired. I was depressed. I had buyers remorse. Now I'm happy! I'm healthy. I have energy!

Thursday, August 5, 2010


I didn't go to bed last night. I blame it on Scott's friend, Chris. He lent me a book; "Ender's Shadow" by Orson Scott Card. I'm a total Card fan... and I hadn't read it. So I started it last night at 9:00 P.M. I finished it this morning at 10:00 A.M. I didn't sleep at all. FABULOUS book! I liked it better than "Ender's Game."

Well, staying up all day did not help my eating/bariatric health. It threw my eating schedule in a tizzy. I still ate the three meals I am required to eat (still small)... but I also snacked a little. Which I'm not supposed to do. I got a little sick at dinner. But I didn't throw-up. I just laid down and relaxed.

Besides not feeling well all day, I had to take dinner to our friend's home. Their mom/grandma passed away yesterday. I also had their daughter over for the day to play with the girls. Besides trying to keep the home together with three crazy, beautiful girls, and no sleep - I'm amazed I'm still awake writing right now.

Tomorrow I vow to do better. I'm going to bed EARLY tonight. I'm re-committing myself to my regimand.....

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


I used to HATE putting on my shoes! I only bought shoes that slipped on, so I wouldn't have to tie or buckle or bend over to put them on. No more! :-) I discovered my new found "freedom" to bend over and touch my toes easily on Saturday. I went to the temple Saturday with some friends. When I put on my white temple shoes, I realized how easy it was to bend over and put them on. And then it dawned on me, that I put on buckled sandles the Sunday before without complaint. And I've been wearing tennis-shoes the entire week without asking my daughters to tie them for me - I just bent over to do it! :-) It's amazing what loosing a little bit of weight can do.


Sorry I haven't been online for a couple of days... We had to have someone come out and fix our internet connection....

Thursday, July 29, 2010


I'm still working at this bariatric answer thing. It really goes to my head sometimes. I hate throwing up. Today I regurgitated my pills... I guess I took them too quickly. And my teeth always feel gross afterwards (even when I brush them immediately). Here are a few things I've learned (from experimenting with certain foods):

Pasta makes me throw-up. :-(
I like the fast pace at which I loose weight. :-)
When I shut the door to my bathroom, the girls can still hear me heave. :-(
I can eat a couple of Doritoes without getting sick (but I have to watch that I don't eat too many. :-)
Rice (even brown rice; which I thought would be better) makes me sick. :-(
Ice-cream does NOT make me ill. But I can only eat a couple of bites. :-)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


The Nurse Who Put Me to Sleep




My Favorite Surgeon, Kelly

2 Weeks Later...

4 Weeks Later....

I LOVED the Grand Canyon...

7 Weeks Later... With Good College Friend, Christy

Whose Missing? G.J. Honda!

She needs to move here!

Scott and I - He loves my shrinking sizes!

What a man!

Monday, July 26, 2010


I am really struggling with insomnia. Last night I was awake until 4:00 a.m. My friend, Amy, said that if you are having trouble sleeping, you should get up and work. If you don't feel like it, then you really just need to rest until sleep overtakes you. So with that in mind, I got up last night and cleaned my entire kitchen, sorted out my medication and supplements, filled out paperwork for Scott and the girls to go to the doctor's office tomorrow and Wednesday, and read a book. Tonight I don't feel well again, so I broke down and took a benedryl and hopefully I'll be able to fall fast asleep quickly.

I also was sick today because of 8 stick-pretzels. I guess I shouldn't eat those either. :-( Katia made an awesome dinner of chef salad for us this evening. I ate the egg and a little bit of cucumber. It was delicious and I have kept it down! :-) Yeah!

Hopefully, all reading this will have a great night sleep. And that I will catch some zzzzs too!

Pictures tomorrow?! Hopefully!

Sunday, July 25, 2010


We FINALLY got the internet set up! I've been missing writing my blog for a week and a half. Sorry if any of my readers have been wondering where I am and how I am doing....

Things have been happening so fast and crazy here. We've moved into an apartment. It's small, but we're making it a home! Hopefully we'll be able to move into a house within the year....

I've already made some friends here in Kentucky. (Thanks to the church and service!) And all the friends I've made our very supportive of my new surgery. Amy Bettenhausen has let me throw-up at her home a number of times when I've eaten the wrong thing....

I think the hardest thing about eating right now is eating the right things. It's hard to cook my family meals with only my diet. So I fix them "normal" food and then I try a bite or two. Unfortunately that has usually caused me to regurgitate it minutes later.

I am still loosing weight though. I'm now, according to my cheap scale at home, 223 pounds! :-) And when I went to my new doctor last Thursday (who happens to be cute, young and really nice), she was impressed. She really liked how thorough my surgeon is/was. She likes that I have dieticians that call me regularly from Arizona. She told me to come back if I have problems or in 6 months, whichever comes first. In the past doctors want to see me much sooner than that! So I was excited there were no new problems, etc.

I am going to try to post some pre-surgery and post-surgery pictures this week, so "stay tuned!" We are still looking for the wires and equipment needed to download my camera pictures....

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Well, I arrived. I managed to sleep on both of my flights. So I got about 3 hours of sleep total. I'm super tired.

The first thing I saw in Kentucky was the color GREEN! From the air, everything seemed so green and wet below. It was raining and the water streaked against the airplane window pane. It's been raining ALL day! But at least it keeps it cool!

Scott and the girls picked me up and it was FABULOUS to see them! Hugs all around! Smiles all around! It was good!

I've already had a tour of Scott's work place. I like his office area because it's air-conditioned. :-) The warehouse is really humid hot. Everyone he works with seem really nice. And Scott is definitely happy in his work. He has loads of "plans" for the warehouse.

I also took the car and got it lubed.... Now we are waiting for 4:30 p.m. so he can "take me home" to a place I've never been before. :-)

Monday, July 12, 2010


I'm down two obese "sizes." Actually two categories. There are levels of obesity. When I started this journey I was at morbidly obese. (Believe it or not, there are 4 categories above morbidly obese even!) Before morbidly obese is severe obese. Then just ordinary obese. I finally made it to the latter category! :-) I've lost a total of 35 pounds (20 of those pounds are fat!) I'm progressing well and am now able to travel to Kentucky this evening! :-) The category I'm shooting for is: Normal! I only have two more to go! Before Obese is Overweight and then Normal! Things are looking up! I gotta go pack!

Sunday, July 11, 2010


The Grand Canyon is AWE-INSPIRING! Joanne and Dexter decided to really spoil me by taking me somewhere I've never been before. And I'm soooooo glad they did! It was almost spiritual to see the beauty of the Grand Canyon. I had seen pictures before... but I didn't expect the powerful wave of emotion that accompanied looking out over the vast ominicient beauty the Lord created for us. The only thing that was missing was my family. Scott, Kiara and Katia would have also been blown away by they shear magnificence of the scene.

Our trip started off to Flagstaff to see Payton perform in the Curry Summer Music Camp program at Northern Arizona University. It was a fantabulous performance. The choir was great! Payton is very talented. She sang alto in this choir, but has also sung soprano in other choirs. As a music teacher, going back and forth between parts, is very difficult for someone her age.... I was also priviledged to see the orchestra (although watching the violinists made my heart cry for my eldest daughter.) They were AWESOME! They played Sparticus and Pirates of the Carribean. Both were amazing.

After the show, we went to dinner at a fun hamburger joint called Bun Huggers. The funny story was when Joanne told me the name of the place we were going - I heard "Butt Huggers." :-) I thought she was crazy! I had a delicious salad for lunch.

Then we went to the Grand Canyon. On the way I spotted an real-live elk in the middle of town. I made Dexter turn the car around and Joanne and I got out to take pictures. Dexter chastised us about getting too close to a "wild animal." But the elk posed for us to take pictures anyway. We were about 3 yards away from him. It was sooooooo COOL!

The Grand Canyon was OVERWHELMING! We walked the South Rim, and went shopping for souvineers at the shops on the way. We finished the magnificent day watching a STUNNING sunset. Yes, I took TONS of photos!

We stayed the night at a hotel and came home today via Jerome, AZ. Jerome is a sort of a ghost town. Although Dexter claims we were the only ghosts in town.... :-) It looked really cool!

We are back at the Gunderson's now. Only 28 more hours until I'm on the plane going home to Kentucky! I can't wait. I'm tring to pack, and wash clothes, and take medications, and watch the 4th Harry Potter on TV. I've been a bit sick today too. I keep running to the toilet to do my thing. I guess my stomach is just not wanting to process my foods today.........

Friday, July 9, 2010


No, I'm NOT pregnant. But for some reason I'm craving dill pickles. Especially Vlassic dill pickle spears. I've been eating them EVERY day for lunch. YUM! And usually I eat something else with it. The strangest combination thus far has been watermelon with my pickle. But I've also had cheese, banana, apple, etc. It's an EASY lunch and tastes GREAT!

Thursday, July 8, 2010


I think the hardest thing about my "new eating habbits" is my mind and the taste. My mind says I'm eating too small to survive. And I love the tastes of food. I constantly want to eat more (like I did to get me to this state of obesity in the first place). But my tummy won't let me and then I spend the next 20 minutes in the bathroom throwing up what I ate. It's definitely not fun. And I'm really trying to learn how much is too much. It's a training experience that I am forced into. And that's what I wanted - what I needed. I need the extra help of being sick to realize how much is too much. And it seems to be working. I've lost 35 pounds so far. :-)

I've heard it said: Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels. I'm not sure if that's a true statement. I REALLY LOVE the taste of chocolate (which incidentally I haven't eaten in over 2 months). But I do enjoy fitting into my clothes better and seeing that I have cheek bones and a neck. :-) Maybe I'll feel differently in a year or two?!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


I am currently suffering from a horrible bout of insomnia. I'm having trouble sleeping at night. I usually can't sleep until about 2:30 or 3:00 a.m. Last night I went to bed, exhausted, at 8:00 p.m. Once I crawled into bed I couldn't sleep at all. I was awake until 4:00 a.m. I tried all the relaxing techniques I know. I counted sheep. I tried physically relaxing every inch of my body. I tried drinking hot tea. I think I need to talk to my doctor about it....

But otherwise, I'm in a great mood today! Only 5 more days until I see my family. :-) Today I did some blood work. I went shopping for some more peach yogurt. (It's my favorite Yoplait flavor!) I helped clean out Gabe's toys. (I love organizing and cleaning!) And now I'm blogging! Overall, it's been a productive day! :-)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Today Joanne and I went to the mall. We decided that since I had lost 35 pounds already, we needed to celebrate. We went to the jewelry store, Tinkerbell. I got some new jewelry from Joanne - and I feel BEAUTIFUL! I don't know why jewelry makes me feel so pretty... but it does. I got a really pretty gold necklace with unusual swirls and butterflies in it's design. I also got a bracelet made with my birthstone, peridoe. I got turquoise ear rings, diamond-esque ear rings, and some really pretty gold ear rings. It was fun. And I feel pretty! :-)

Monday, July 5, 2010


I was invited to Ihop this evening for our Family Home Evening activity. I was excited to "try my new skills" at a restaurant. When the waiter took our order, I told him about my bariatric surgery and he let me order off the kids menu. I had tilapia and broccoli. I ate about 3 bites of the tilapia (which was DELICIOUS!) And the broccoli was steamed to perfection! I ate 2 floretts. I have left-overs for tomorrow! :-) And I wasn't jealous of anyone else's meals. And I ate slowly and enjoyed the company! So... yes... you can still eat out after gastric-by-pass surgery. :-)

Sunday, July 4, 2010


I just finished watching the Boston Pops. It's a family tradition that started over 12 years ago with my in-laws. It's AMAZING! And this year's display and music was no exception. Toby Keith was the guest artist! I really enjoy his music! And when he sang "American Soldier" I cried. I just wish he'd also sang "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue"! :-) The colors and songs with the fireworks were spectacular. Scott said that maybe someday he'd take me to the Boston Pops LIVE! Wouldn't that be something?! :-) I think it would be a GREAT job to pick the music and organize the display for a show like this! I loved that they played the song "Go the Distance" from Disney's Hercules. I think the gold fireworks are my favorite! But the reds and purples are pretty AWESOME too!

The only thing that could have made this show better was if I was with my family watching it. I sure do miss my family on a day like today! Celebrating and holidays are something we like to do together!!!!

I did splurge tonight and ate two Ritz crackers while I watched the fireworks. Yum! And I don't feel like purging them either! :-)


Today I attended church. I wanted to stand and bear my testimony. My heart was so full. But "I was a stranger in a strange land (a ward I'd never attended before)" and decided I would write my testimony to those of you who know me and as a part of my journey to health instead.

Today is also Independence Day! And as I listened to many people stand and express their gratitude for the service of those who came before us and of those who are now serving for our freedom and our country, I too wanted to express my gratefulness for them. Their SERVICE has made it possible for me to go to church on Sunday. Their SERVICE has made it possible for me to become a music teacher. And their SERVICE has made it possible for me to make the choice to be married in the temple for time and all eternity to my sweet husband. I reflected on my own father's service during Vietnam and my grandfather's service during WWII. I'm proud that they love our country enough to SERVE. And I'm proud to be an American! We stood at the end of sacrament and sang our national anthem! I was glad to sing out-loud and honor our great country and the flag that symbolizes our freedom and the SERVICE of so many great men and women!

Thinking about SERVICE made me realize how appreciative I am of the Gundersons and their true show of unselfish SERVICE for me during my recovery from this surgery. I've always loved to serve others, and it has been truly humbling to have to be served. But Joanne, Dexter and even Payton have unselfishly given of their home, their food, their bed, and most especially their love to me over the past month. I feel eternally grateful to them. The Gundersons remind me of someone else who was unselfish in their SERVICE: the late Mother Teresa of Calcutta. She taught that “one thing will always secure heaven for us—the acts of charity and kindness with which we have filled our lives.” Doesn't that describe the Gundersons? When MOther Teresa died, the First Presidency of our church declared, “Her life of unselfish service is an inspiration to all the world, and her acts of Christian goodness will stand as a memorial for generations to come.” That is what the Savior called losing our lives in service to others. Thank you, Gunderson's for your example and love!

SERVICE is the hallmark of a Christlike life, the highest expression of Christian stewardship. Service drives out selfishness, the great enemy of spirituality. And the greatest example I can think of unselfish service is my Savior, Jesus Christ. He said that “greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Not only did he give us the perfect example for earthly SERVICE, but for our sake he willingly gave up his life. He went through horrible things both in body and spirit, which I cannot comprehend, just to give us the blessing of the atonement and the resurrection. Christ both lived and died for us. His SERVICE inspires me to be a better person!

Christ once asked the question: "what manner of men ought we to be?" He answered by saying: "we ought to be even as He is." I hope I can emmulate his love and SERVICE! So I can return and live with Him someday!

Saturday, July 3, 2010


Payton came home from girl's camp today. She had soooo much fun. She keeps talking a mile a minute about all her adventures. :-)

It really makes me miss my own daughters. Joanne has really missed her daughter and part of me misses Payton too... but I really, really, really pine for my own offspring.

Yesterday I got a really great note from Amy (the lady who has been taking care of my daughters while Scott is at work). She wrote that taking care of Kiara and Katia was a joy and that it will be sad when they don't get to come over every day anymore. Her sweet letter made me cry. I'm so glad they are being taken care of by people who love them. I love them! I yearn for my girls. And I can hardly wait to share their moments with them again!!!!!!!!

So, welcome home, Payton! But I really do desire to return to being a mother to my own children!!!!!!!!!

Friday, July 2, 2010


Woke up this morning
Feeling sorry for myself...
Too much medication
And supplements for my health.

Pills get stuck
Goin' down.
They come back up
Causin' me to frown!

Oh what a problem...
I'm singin' the blues.
Tablets and capsules
No matter what... I loose!

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Yesterday I was too tired to blog. I do have low energy sometime. But I have to blog about seeing Eclipse! It was fabulous! In fact, I think it was the best movie made in the franchise so far. It was funny, suspenseful, and true to the book. My favorite lines were when Edward confronts the buff, bare-chested Jacob and says “Why can’t you put a shirt on?” The tent scene is especially entertaining because Edward and Jacob are forced to team up to protect Bella but cannot set aside their jealous rivalry long enough to stop bickering over her. Jacob’s “I’m hotter than you” retort to Edward made me laugh out loud!

When I read the books, I was defintely Team Edward. But the movies have made Team Jacob seem equally entreating! I love both men! And luckily, my husband has the best of Edward and the best of Jacob! Scott is truly the perfect man! (And he's neither a vampire or a werewolf!)


I feel like singing! "Beautiful, glorious, heavenly, marvelous, wonderful, wonderful day!" I've really had a fun day! Joanne and I decided that we needed to celebrate being girls today. So she got a babysitter and we took off!

First, we saw "Knight and Day." It was sooooo funny! I laughed out loud through-out the show. "Knight and Day" is a refreshing reminder of why Tom Cruise is a superstar. And Cameron Diaz has that undeniable charisma about her. I loved it.

I also got a much needed haircut. Which felt AWESOME! I love the feel of a new haircut. It's not drastically different. In fact, it's just a trim, but it's great!

We had lunch at Paradise Bakery. I had a fruit cup. (Today is the first day I've been able to eat fruit and veggies!) Yum! I had some strawberries, cantelope and cucumbers.

We ended our afternoon relaxing. We got pedicures and manicures! I'm sure they give those in heaven! The massage with the pedi and mani were HEAVENLY! And Gage was adorable when we got home. He saw our beautifully painted toe nails and fingernails. He "oohed" and "ahhed!" He made me feel like a million bucks!

I still have tons of medications and pills to take, but I don't feel so bad about it today because it truly has been a: "Beautiful, glorious, heavenly, marvelous, wonderful, wonderful day!"

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Drinking water is not a problem for me. I LOVE H2O! Especially on ice! I would take my GIANT 82 oz. mug of water to school everyday. And I would gulp water in between classes. My students were shocked at my water absorbtion. There's nothing like swiging huge amounts of agua to quench your thirst.

Now even inhaling Adam's Ale has been taken away from me. There is no longer such a thing as chugging water... I have to sip it. No matter how thirsty I am, or how dry my mouth is, consuming liquid quickly is not something I can do anymore. It's frustrating. And sometimes I forget and start to guzzle down my H2O intake only to have to spit it out within minutes.

I suppose this is a minor complaint. And sipping is more lady-like. But I do miss my gulping-free days of ice-cold, purified water quenching my thirst and parched mouth.

Monday, June 28, 2010


Well, I caught it... I have a sore throat (like Payton and Gage had last week.) So I haven't felt good on top of not feeling good....

But I've talked to my dad and Joanne and they both assure me that it takes at LEAST 6 weeks to heal from a major surgery. So I guess I won't feel the greatest for another few weeks. I'm looking forward to feeling somewhat normal again....

I did call my nutritionist and she said I'm eating fine. She says that everyone is different and as long as I'm eating 3 times a day until I'm full, then I won't starve. So even though my portion sizes are beyond small I'm OK. I'm also spreading out taking my pills. Instead of taking them in one hour, I'm taking them over the space of 5 or 6 hours. It seems to help.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


I feel I am becoming anorexic. I eat barely anything. I'm not starving but emotionally/mentally I feel I am becoming undernourished, etc. I eat a thumb serving of food 3 times a day. That's it. And my pills still don't stay down. My body feels weak. I'm not sure I'm healthy... of if I did this a healthy way. It frightens me. I don't want to be anorexic. I just want to be healthy and have my strength back....

Saturday, June 26, 2010


It seems that I can't keep my medications and minerals down. I retch after taking them. I'm not sure how much of the vitamins and pharmaceuticals actually gets absorbed since I seem to spit them out 15 minutes after taking them.... Is this normal? It drives me crazy!

Friday, June 25, 2010


Today I saw the new "Karate Kid." It was great! I enjoyed it a lot. Much of "The Karate Kid" is predictable, because of the original story. But Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith won me over. They have a magically chemistry. Chan really displays depth and range that actually made me tear up. And Smith has great spirit and reminds me of his famous father. I'm glad I saw this show! I just wish I could have enjoyed it clinging on to my husband or sharing a "scared squeeze" with my daughters.

I also saw "Dear John" today. I liked it, but felt there was one scene missing. The man Savannah married needed to CHOOSE John to be his son's father when he died of cancer. Other than that, I felt it was a good movie. I cried... but that's probably not a big secret since when I watch movies I am VERY involved (I cry. I scream. I yell at the movie. I jump out of my seat. - My husband says I'm very interactive when it comes to watching a flick.)

I love escaping into good movies! :-)

Thursday, June 24, 2010


I was diagnosed with chemical depression in 1992. Since then I have been on some sort of medication to combat the sadness that often creeps up on me if I stop taking my meds. Throughout the years I've struggled with maintaining that balance I get with the medication and my mood swings. It's not always easy. But I find that if I take my medicine and if I remember: "IF YOU DO GOOD, YOU FEEL GOOD!" (My father always used to quote that.) I usually feel better....

For some reason, my depression is returning. I'm not sure if it's the fact that I REALLY miss my family. Or maybe it's because I feel like I throw-up everything I put into my mouth (including water, medications, or food.) Or maybe it's because I'm feeling a sense of loss over NOT being able to eat foods I once enjoyed. Or maybe it's because I'm tired ALL the time (I guess the surgery has really taken a tole on my body). Or that I'm constantly having dry mouth even though I am sipping on water whenever I get the chance. Whatever the reason, I feel sad.

Almost every morning, I wake up and lie in bed for a good hour before I actually convince myself to get out of bed... usually because I am despirately thirsty.

I'm still taking my mood altering medications. But I wonder if they are working. I try to use my dad's advice... but I feel like there's nothing good to do... I feel like there's nothing to do....

I'm sure I'll be OK. I know Heavenly Father wanted me to be healthy and that's why I did this crazy surgery! I know that my family is behind me 100% of the way. I just feel down and that's what depression does to you. I've lived with it for over 19 years. This too will pass.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Some days are harder than others. I really miss my daughters today.

I think the reason I miss them so much is that I was helping Payton get ready for her Secret Sister at camp. We went to the Dollar Store to get some small things. In the past, Kiara and Katia always went to the Dollar Store with us. And the age difference between Kiara and Payton is non-existant. They are basically the same age (Payton is 1 1/2 months older.)

According to multiple phone calls, my daughters are happy. They love the new ward in Kentucky. They enjoy spending time with new friends. And Chris and Haymond are like uncles to them already. I hear the joy in their voices. I miss their smiles and their hugs/cuddles.

The count-down is only 19 days til we are reunited! :-)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Yum! I had completely forgotten that I could eat beans this first month... until Joanne and I were watching Rachel Ray. She was using beans in one of her meals. I suddenly remembered I could eat beans (with the exception of green beans and baked beans.) Joanne had made burritos for dinner with refried beans on the side. I had some with some cheese! Take about delicious! Small things that make me happy! :-)


Today I'm not feeling well. I'm dizzy. I'm exhausted. I just feel sick. I can't seem to get enough water to drink and yet, when I do drink, I feel like throwing it up. I'm eating alright but even then I don't feel that great. I'm not sure why I feel like I do today. It could be that everyone in the Gunderson household has been sick for the past week, and now I'm sick too. Or it could be another "symptom" of the surgery. Whatever it is, I just feel like hitting the hay right now. I guess I will...


Monday, June 21, 2010


This morning I ate half of a yogurt and was full.

At lunch and dinner time I usually eat 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup of food. That's it. Then I feel stuffed and can't eat any more.

Strange to see what I'm eating now and what I ate before. My portion sizes have dramatically changed.


Each day now feels the same. I eat the same breakfast (yogurt or cottage cheese, sometimes jello). Then I take my vitamins and medication 30 minutes later with my protein drink. (YUCK!) Usually a pill or two gets stuck and I have to take a break between. I take a 15 minute walk. And then I find ways to keep myself busy until noon. Then I eat lunch (chicken or an egg). Some more busy time until dinner (chicken, fish or an egg). Another 15 minute walk. 30 minutes later I take some more medication and vitamins. Then I go to bed. I'm also constantly drinking water (because I'm supposed to.)

Joanne and Dexter are very hospitable. I love them soooo much! But I feel like this routine could happen just as easily in Kentucky with my family. I really miss them.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Happy Father's Day!

Although I don't get to spend time with my father or my daughter's father today, I am grateful for both of them in my life. They are both super supportive of what I have done (GBS). Both my husband and my dad encourage me to "follow the rules" of the surgery and to "get well soon." Both of them have been behind me from the start. This surgery isn't easy, and without their knowledge and acceptance of the "new me" I couldn't have done all this. Their encouraging words and loving support is worth more than words can say.

So, although I am not physically with my sweetheart or daddy, I want them to know how much I love them and I'm grateful for them on this Father's Day 2010!

Saturday, June 19, 2010


I don't like protein drinks. In fact, I REALLY don't like them.

Because our bodies don't store protein, and I can't eat very much, everything I eat has to be protein. And for the first month, I have to drink 20 grams of a protein drink. I started off drinking a powdered protein drink (flavored strawberry cream). It was so horrible that the first 4 days I drank it I gagged and tried to throw it up. Finally on day 5, I did. I couldn't hold my protein drink, so to speak.

I asked my support group what I should do. They recommended another brand that was already mixed. Yesterday mom got me some Isopure already mixed protein drink. I drank it today. It was better. I didn't gag. But I didn't like it. And the worst part is the after-taste that lasts after you drank it for hours! Even water tastes like the Isopure now. Yuck!!!!!!

Thank goodness I only have to drink this stuff for two more weeks....


I'm feeling melancholy.

Yesterday I ate some chicken for lunch. It was left-over from the hospital, so it was a bit dry. Unfortunately, it got stuck in my esophagus. The pain was intense. I really WANTED to throw-up, and I did. But even that didn't help my distress. I laid down for an hour, and still felt the constant burn/pressure in my chest cavity. I sipped some water and the pain returned stronger. I finally broke down and called the bariatric center. I thought I perhaps had a stricture. But I didn't. It was just swollen from eating dry chicken. I was to suck on ice-chips for about 2 hours and then return to a liquid diet for the rest of the day. I'm back to "normal" today.

My mom is going home today. Dad came to get her last night. I LOVE seeing my father! But I am really going to miss my mother when she leaves. She is so nurturing. And she's a fun companion to be around. So I'm already missing her. I guess we all have to grow up and leave our mommys, but I don't want too.

The Gunderson's also left for the weekend. They are helping Joanne's parents move. So I am all alone.

It is time for reflexion and solitude. It's also proving to be a time for missing my husband and daughters. They are the light of my life.

Part of me wishes I had never had the surgery so I can be with them right now. I KNOW the gastric by-pass surgery was for my own good. I KNOW that it will add years to my life where I can be healthier and happier. I KNOW that it was a good thing for me to do. But I FEEL depressed that I'm not with my family right now. I FEEL down that this surgery recovery isn't easier. I FEEL forlorn about the food I have to eat (I really just don't want to eat at all - especially breakfast). I don't like my diet right now (chicken, fish, turkey and cottage cheese). It's bland.

OK, enough of my pity party. I'll be fine after I have a good cry....

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Itch comes from the Latin word: pruritus. An itch is an unpleasant sensation that causes the desire or reflex to scratch. Modern science has shown that an itch has many similarities to pain, and while both are unpleasant sensory experiences, their behavioral response patterns are different. Pain creates a withdrawal reflex while an itch leads to a scratch reflex.

There are many things that can cause itching. Most notible, in my opinion, is when a fly crawls on my skin, or a drip of sweat trickles down my leg. Mosquito bites are the worst kind of itches!!!! And then there are also ellusive itches that take a spouse to scratch your back. The ones where you are quoted as saying: "no, more to the right... a little bit up... no too much... OK, back to the left..."

Today I want to talk about the healing itch! :-) It's my favorite kind! It means I'm getting better. The only negative is that I can't itch the areas that are healing because I could reopen the wounds. I've been itching for a couple of days now - all over my belly! Although it's annoying, it's kinda a moment for rejoicing. Anyone know how to stop this healing itch?! JK

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


I have five rules I have to do everyday for the rest of my life, since the surgery. They aren't hard rules. And, in fact, I think anyone who wants to loose weight could use these rules and achieve some loss.

1. Protein first at every meal, three meals a day. - The reason we are supposed to eat protein first is because our bodies do NOT store protein and protein is essential to our bodies or our muscles can break down. So now I am much more aware of protein. And luckily, my favorite food, cottage cheese, has LOTS of protein!

2. Drink water: 64 oz. per day (minimum). - I love water. I always have. I still do. Although when someone says that is all you can drink, you start wanting crystal light or SOMETHING. But as long as I have ice and the water is cold, I'm OK.

3. No snacking, as it promotes eating for non-hunger reasons. - I thought this would be difficult. I love snacking on chocolate and popcorn. But I haven't missed either since the surgery. I'm content with my small three meals a day. I hope this doesn't change....

4. Exercise at least 4 times per week for 30 minutes or more. - I'm still struggling with this one. I've "hated" exercise for 37 years and it's hard to make my mind change - I am walking though.

5. You must take vitamin and mineral supplementation daily for life. - I've already written an entire post dedicated to my supplements, etc. It's a pain in the neck to take, but I can do it.

So these are the 5 Rules I'm to live by from now on. Not too bad. Eh?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


There are a number of concerns after surgery... but thus far, I've only experienced one: FOAMING. Foaming is a lot like vomiting/dumping except it's with foam from your stomach. I've experienced this twice now. It's awful. Not only is it extremely painful in my sternum, but I end up foaming at the mouth and having to purge it. I know this isn't a pleasant topic, but I'm bing honest.... The pain is intense. It is pressure combined with burning. And I WANT to vomit, but physically can't. Both times I've experienced this sensation I was taking my evening pills. And I think the "bites" were too big. I cut all my medication, but apparently not small enough. I waited out the pain, which usually lasted about 30 minutes. I don't recommend foaming to anyone. And I'm much more careful with my meds now.

Here are some other common bariatric post operative concerns (that I hope to never have!)

-- It is very important to continue to eat food three times per day.
-- Some aches and pains are normal after surgery.
-- Dizziness after surgery may be due to dehydration. Remember to drink at least 64 oz. of water daily.
-- Dumping occurs when you put some type of food into the pouch which the intestine does not like. It usually occurs shortly after eating.
-- It is usually associated with a high heart rate, profuse sweating, nausea and diarrhea and is most intense in the first year after surgery.
-- The key to stopping dumping is to identify the foods that caused it and DO NOT eat them again. (The foods are usually high in sugar, starch or fat.)
-- If you experience vomiting, step back and try to identify if the process of eating had any of the following:
-- Were the bites too big? Dime sized?
-- Did you take enough time between bites? (20 minutes to eat meal)
-- Are you chewing your food thoroughly?
-- Remember the 30-20-30 rule
-- Make sure you drink enough water
-- Make sure you exercise daily
-- Do eat/drink excessive dairy products
-- Make sure you eat enough dietary fiber

Sorry this post was so graphic. Maybe I should have had a content warning about these concerns too.

Monday, June 14, 2010


I can sleep on my left side now! :-) Most of the surgery took place on my left side so for the past 11 days I've been sleeping on my back and a little bit on my right side. Now I have both sides "working!" And it doesn't hurt anymore. :-) Yeah!

DAY 11

Today I'm feeling fine. I'm not hungry at all. I had to force myself to eat lunch. Sometimes it's frustrating to have to eat three meals a day. I would eat two if I could....

It's really wierd that I haven't had any "cravings" for chocolate or salty popcorn/chips. I have had cravings for fruit. But I can't have fruit for 2 1/2 more weeks. I guess it's more difficult to digest fruit and vegetables so they want to give my stomach a break for 1 month before I attempt eating the more fibress foods.

I woke up at 6 A.M. I took Joanne to the doctor's office. It was really too cold in the office, so I walked around outside for about 20 minutes. It turns out that Joanne has a torn tendon in her arm and has to have surgery! :-(

Joanne, Gage, and Payton are also sick with a stomach flu... It feels like EVERYONE except me. I really am the most healthy person in this house, and I just had surgery! :-)

The rest of the morning, my mother and I are planning our family renion for 2011. It makes me excited for July 1-4, 2011. :-)

I think I'm going to take a nap now. I'm a bit tired.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


I've never really thought about hunger. But now I HAVE to. I've learned what the signs of PHYSICAL hunger are. For example, growling stomach, emptiness, loss of concentration, weakness or lightheadedness and irritability.

I've also learned that thte signs of PSYCHOLOGICAL hunger. They are: The sights and smells of food, Places associated with eating (like popcorn at the movie theater), TV food ads, "eating buddies" and special occasons and events. Also included under PSYCHOLOGICAL hunger signs are boredom, depression, sadness, anxiety, stress, anger and positive events.

I feel the PSYCHOLOGICAL signs that will be the most difficult for me will be the sights and smells of food and special occasions and events. I'm also going to have to really fight boredom and stress! All have been triggers for me to eat in the past. BUT now that I've identified them, I'm sure I can "fight" them.


Two weeks ago, I weighed 265.5 lbs. on the body composition analyzer.
On Thursday at my post-op appt., I weighed 254 lbs.
I'm already down 11.5 lbs.
My BMI is down 2.2 also! :-)
6.5 lbs of my weight loss come from fat! :-)

The body composition analyzer (an extremely fancy scale) is really cool. It tells you everything!

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Thursday I went to my post-op appointment. I finally had my blood sugars controlled. So when I showed up at my appointment, Kelly, the nurse assistant who did the "exam", said, "Well, you're no longer exciting!" I asked her if that was a good thing of a bad thing. She said it was a good thing this time! :-) I think I'd like to keep the rest of my "recovery with weight" unexciting. But I'm not a quiet and shy kinda person so I'm sure there'll be plenty of drama! Stay tuned!


I have become the "Queen of Pills" since my surgery! It doesn't help that every pill I take has to be halved or quartered in order to fit into my stomach. It really is a time consuming venture. It usually takes me 20 minutes every morning just to swallow and take all the "stuff" I'm supposed to take! Here's the breakdown:

In the morning:
-- 1 serving of a Multivitamin (I take Centrum Chewables)
-- 500 mg. of Calcium Citrate
-- 300 mg. of Venlafaxine (for depression)
-- 40 mcg. Potassium Chloride (only for 10 days! :-)
-- 150 mcg. Levothyroxine (for thyroid problems)
-- 1000 mg. Metformin (for diabetes)
-- 40 mg. Pantoprazole (for acid reduction with my smaller stomach)

In the afternoon:
-- 500 mg. of Calcium Citrate
-- drink 20 grams of Protein drink (The worst by far. I always gag! I don't have to take it after 1 month, thank goodness!)

In the evening:
-- another Centrum Chewable
-- additional iron pill (20 g)
-- 500 mg. of Calcium Citrate
-- 300 mg. of Venlafaxine (again)
-- 40 mcg. Potassium Chloride (again)
-- 1000 mg. Metformin (again)

Just writing the list made me tired. I have to look for all this information in different places - so maybe this list will make my life a bit easier....

Friday, June 11, 2010


I ate too fast today at lunch. I got some fish lodged in my esophogus or something. There was soooo much pain between my ribs.... And I was really scared. I was warned that if I didn't eat my food slowly enough or small enough bite sizes (dime size) I would have problems like this. They said you just have to wait it out. It hurt soooo bad! I was crying and angry with myself for eating to quickly. (I know I didn't eat large bites because I've been measuring them....) I guess you live and learn. I won't do that again.


I've always wanted to be a dancer. Not the high-school move around to the beat kind of dancer... but a "real" dancer who can ballroom and latin dance with the best of them. I thought that dream was beyond my body's abilities. I just realized that maybe I CAN make that dream come true in the future. I'm looking forward to classes with my husband learning those fancy dances and not feeling extremely self-conscience. And who knows? Maybe I could also learn how to tap dance or Irish dance too?!

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Nothing has been "normal" since Monday at noon. My aunt and Joanne said that it just proves how "special and unique" I am. You decide if the following story makes me "unique" or "special" or "just really bizaare."

Monday at noon my blood sugars went really low. I was down to 51. I was shaking, out-of-control, cold and hot and sweating. Everything "felt" wrong. And I was scared. I called my surgeon and talked to one of the nurses assistants named Kelly. She told me to eat TONS of jello and call her back in 1/2 an hour. I did. And I was still low. So for the next 5 hours my mother worried, Joanne fretted, and I kept suffering severe lows without any sign of regulation. Finally, Kelly told me to try one tsp. sugar with a jello shot. That worked for about 15 minutes and then shot my blood surgars even lower. She had me try that twice. Finallyat about 8 p.m., I was told to go to bed and ignore the situation while my sugars were at 59. Still not high enough but as high as they had been all day. That seemed so odd, but I followed orders.

I woke up Tuesday morning with low blood sugars again. I ate some jello. But instead of calling the office again, Joanne lent us her white Durango so mom and I could go to a post-operation class and eat my first meal. The class was really good. I learned alot. But before lunch my blood sugars were way low (45). The dietician said to check after lunch. (In really cool news: I enjoyed my first meal of 1 Tbsp. cottage cheese and 1/2 of a hard boiled egg.) After lunch I was as low as I'd ever been and I was immediately admitted to the hospital again. (Luckily, the post-op class was right on the 5th floor of the hospital... I only had to move two doors down to my "new" hospital room of 5407.)

Mom and I settled down in the room for a long night which turned into a longer night as they IVed me sugars, monitored my blood sugar levels, and used me as a common pin cussion every hour on the hour. They also fed me my second meal of fish and cottage cheese. (Can you tell that I LOVE cottage cheese? Well, I do. It's been my favorite since I was a very little girl.)

Dr. Blackstone and Melissa came to see us after their hospital operations. They explained what was happening to me with my blood sugars. Normally when sugars go low, eating or ingesting some kind of sugar will help raise the levels. But after gastric-by-pass surgery, your stomach doesn't digest the sugar because of it's size and missing the first 1/3 of your intestines, so the sugar goes stright into your blood. Insulin instantly kicks in and sends your sugars and extra potassium into your cells, causing a low. Eating sugar is the absolute WRONG thing to do after GBS. Instead, I should have eaten protein... and waited. I shouldn't have panicked and eaten sugar.

They assured me that their education for diabetic patients would change because of me. It would be better. And they would review the material they sent home too. I guess I was the first one in ten years to have reacted this way. Joanne and Aunt Val said that I was special. :-)

Mom and I settled down for sleep at the usual hospital bed-time of midnight. Mom wasn't comfortable in the reclining chair so she decided to sleep on a small bench built into the wall. There wasn't much room (only about 2 feet across) but it was long enough. Nothing else exciting happened until (duh duh duh) mom fell at 5:00 a.m. off of her make-shift bed. She landed on her shoulders and instantly began crying. I begged her to let me call the nurse... but she wouldn't let me. After about 10 minutes, I told her to call dad and see what he wanted her to do. He told her to let me call the nurse.

Jodie, one of my favorite nurse aides, came as I called. I told her my mother fell. She said, "Oh! That's who fell!" I guess both patients on either side of my room had called the nurse reporting that someone had fallen. They had looked in and seen that I was still in my bed so they had continued looking for the "ghost" faller. The mystery had been solved. Mom was taken to the ER. I was allowed to sleep for another 30 minutes. It was extremely hard to sleep worrying about my mom....

By now, my sugars were high. I was ranging in the 180s. Which is better than low. They told me I would get to go home today after my surgeon released me. I waited for Dr. Blackstone, as well as my mom....

Mom came back from the Emergency Room about 9:00 a.m. She had a hilarious story to tell. After having xrays and a cat-scan, she was pronounced OK. They said she would be sore for a few days and to take Ibuprofin. Then they put her into a room to wait until they could discharge her. She waited for over an hour. By then she was worried about me. She was also cold and she needed to use the restroom. So she came up with a plan. There was only one blue piece of paper in her room with her name on it. So she got a pen from her purse and wrote a little note. It said: "Hi! I'm running away. But I'm not running far, I'll be in room 5407." Then she made her get-away. She didn't get far. A nurse asked her where she was going and she said, "I'm running away." LOL. They gently brought her back out to discharge her properly. Mom and I laughed so hard as she told the story of the little grandmother who fell and tried to run away. :-)

The rest of Wednesay was spent waiting to go home. We waited. We waited. And we waited. Finally we were allowed to go home at 5:30 p.m. I was worn out. I really wanted to return my friend's car. And I wanted some normallacy. I was grouchy and tired and for the first time a bit depressed about the surgery. (Why? Because I learned that I won't be able to go "home" to Kentucky for 6 weeks... and I really miss my daughters and husband!)

Monday, June 7, 2010


Well, yesterday was a bit discouraging. I think I was mentally ready for the life-style change. And I was mentally ready for the eating changes in my life. But I hadn't really thought about the pain involved in surgery. Yesterday I was soooo discouraged with myself because I STILL hurt. I feel like all I do is walk, breathe and drink water. I don't contribute at all to society and when I do try to walk around a bit, I complain because of the constant pain to my abdomen area. It's a bit upsetting. I thought I was tougher than most. After all, I had both of my daughters completely naturally without any pain medication (including Tylanol.) Why is this putting me out of commission more than that did? Mom and Joanne assure me that it's natural to be in pain after surgery and that I will recover. But I wanted to be "better" in 3 days... not 5 or 6?!

Sleeping is also difficult with the pain. I am a side sleeper. I have always been a side sleeper. But it is physically impossible to sleep on my side right now. I have to sleep on my back. Which causes more pain to my back injuries that I suffered earlier this year. So I prop myself up on pillows so I'm SORTA lying backwards and SORTA sitting up. I do get some sleep... but it's not comfortable.

Well, I guess there are some days you just have to complain a bit. I knew this wouldn't be easy. Maybe this is just a huge reminder to me that it is a lifestyle change and it isn't going to be easy. There will be pain involved. And some ickyness... Speaking of ickyness....

CONTENT WARNING! Don't read on if you have a weak stomach.
I also FINALLY went to the bathroom, number two! It's not much, because I haven't had anything to eat except jello and chicken broth. It's extremely runny and not fun to clean up (especially when you have to twist to wipe right where the pain is...) But the doctor's at the hospital were anxious for me to go number two. So... yeah! I did it! Twice! I've also been passing a lot of gas. That was the other thing the doctor's wanted me to do but it took me until Sunday to do it. It's oderless, but loud. I guess it's left over from the surgery when they pumped me full of air. At least it's leaving my body.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


If anyone decides to do this surgery I would recommend staying with my best friends, Lori and Joanne, to prep and recover. I feel and have felt like I'm at a 5 star hotel!

I'll always remember swimming in a warm pool with Lori, while discussing solutions to "the eating game." I'm forever grateful to Lori and her parents for letting us get away from our lives for a few hours by watching Shrek, the Final Chapter at the theater. I'm glad Ollie (Lori's father) was worthy to administer a priesthood blessing the night before my surgery. He even dressed up as if he were going to church, and with the pain he is currently having in his body, I really am grateful for his loving gift of service. The Lori van ran non-stop to get me whatever I needed. She took me to my appointments. She took my mother to get me my vitamins and minerals. etc.etc.etc. And my mother was also taken care of. Lori packed her food for the hospital. Mom constantly thanked Lori outloud in the hospital for making such a good lunch for her. She was never hungry.

Since the surgery I have also felt cared for. Joanne has done everything she could to make me feel comfortable. Payton, Joanne's daughter, has graciously lent us her room to make us feel comfortable. She also made sure I had yellow roses, my favorites (and she would know) beside my bed and pictures of my daughters on the other side of my bed. Too make me smile. She was sure it would help in my recovery. :-) Joanne has made the best chicken broth for me to eat. The tasteless stuff at the hospital has nothing on her! And she's made tons of different jellos for me to choose from and eat. She's got tea on hand for when I need that bit of comfort. She is ready to listen and let me tell her about my surgery. Things couldn't be nicer....

DAY 3 - SATURDAY - 6-5-10

Saturday was "leave the hospital" day, and Mom and I were ready long before the hospital personnel.

Breakfast was a litle more welcome. I sipped the herb tea and ate a few mini-bites of my lemon jello. One sip of broth was enough - absolutely zero flavor. I'm surprised that I'm not hungry. THe last ten years I lived life around my food....

It's also interesting that my blood sugars have ranged from 110-160 units, and that's withouteating anything. They say the meds and IV matter. It will be so interesting to see what happens with that factor when I get home.

"Leave the Hospital Day" was also "Shower Day!" - Hip-Hip-Hooray! I think showers are like pain medication. It really helps me "forget" the pain while the warm water runs over me.

Watch out Joanne! Here I come!

DAY 2 - FRIDAY - 6-4-10

Day two seemed long in one way but also full of breathing, walking and drinking water.

My breathing is shallow compared to what I could do prior to surgery. Prior to surgery I did 3250 ml, and the most I"ve done after is 1000 ml. Gotta keep working on breathing! Breathing deeply causes a little pain b ecause the diaphragm is so close to the stomach.

Walking - I've gradually increased my distance over the day. I can now make it three times around the nurses' stations. I"ve also practiced wearing a smile while walking!

I've probably been best at drinking. My mouth has been so dry that I've felt I can never get enough water. (Ice chips just didn't do the job.) I was told to drink at least four .5 liter bottles during the day, and I easilymanaged 4 1/2 bottles!

Taking meds has been "something to write about." All of my regular pills have been cut into 4ths and 8ths, so I am 'swallowing' for much longer time-wise. The only other thing of note is my potassium levels. Because I've tested a bit low, they've made me drink the most awful, disgusting, horrible..... stuff (potassium) three times today.

My pain medication has been: hydrocodone. They have made my life wonderful and miserable at the same time. Wonderful in that my pain is eliminated within 20 minutes of taking the pain killers. Miserable in that they cause me to be extremely hot an perspiring. The latter has even been hard to sleep around, but better hot than hurting. Right?

I really haven't slept much today. Mom has read Oprah experts' "Ten Most Valuable Lessons in Living" to me. We both decided there were several bits of thoughts to take away from them.

LOri cam around noon bringing flowers, hugs and smiles. She even walked me around the nurses' stations. She is such a dear friend.

Breathing, walking and drinking - I've made progress today.

PS In total I probably ate 1/8 cup of jello throughout the day. Period. My "food" of choice is water.

PSS I received a complimentary manicure and a complimentary food massage today. My nails are toupe and my feet spoiled. I'm spoiled too.

DAY 1 - WEDNESDAY 6-3-10

Here I am at the Scottsdale Health Care Hospital, the bariactric Center is on the fifth floor, and my room number is 5421. The experiene has been a new and interesting one.

While driving to the hospital we recieved a phonecall telling us my surgeon, Robin Blackstone, was running a little ahead of schedule. We arrived 15 minutes early, and I was immediately prepped for surgery. I had no time to sit and be nervous, but I think I preferred it that way.

I really like this hopsital. Everyone was kind and reassuring as they took my vitals and tarted teh IV. Mom was with me after the prep for a few minutes - before they took me to OR. She tells me I was calm and collected about going in.

The anestheiologist gave me my "forgetful" drug, and the next thing I remember was waking up in Recovery, with six small incissions. There are two on my right side, two on my left, one near the center of my rib cage and one near my belly button.

To explain my surgery: They cut and sutured my stomach to the size of a golfball. They also rewired one/third of my intestines, so the stomach attaches directly to the rest - hence the gastric "by-pass."

While workig on the by-pass, they decided to give me a "two-fer." My gall bladder came out! Other than that the surgery was uneventful and went very well. Dr. Blackstone is the best in her field, and we chose her for that reason.

My recovery was supposed to take, at most, two hours. But because of room availability, I was there for six hours. Mom was a little concedrned until she realized they weren't able to shuffle people out fast enough to shuffle me in. I didn't mind at all. I slept through the whole thing.

Coming back to my room, I was pretty much alert. I remember being told I had three jobs to do the rest of that day and through the next two days. #1 Breathe. #2 Walk. #3 Drink Water. -- More about those "jobs" later.

Meanwhile, my family and close friends were all contacted andt old that I'd been a "star" patient. The first call, of course, went to Scott, and the following were next: Parents, Parents-In-Laws, Siblings, and Best Friends, Lori and Joanne.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Good morning! I'm really, really, really scared now.

I must have a SLOW digestive system. I didn't get "sick" until 10:45 p.m. I drank the Magnesium Citrate at 1:00 p.m. I was up most of the night using the restroom. So sleep was not available. I'm also "sick" because I haven't eaten since yesterday. I can tell my blood sugar is way off. The hospital staff said they would manage my diabetes in the hospital so I guess I won't worry... but in the mean time I have a headache and I'm really shakey.

Last night Lori, Mom and I discussed coping mechanisims when I have my "episodes" where I break down, cry, eat, sleep, or shop! I think changing my thoughts and coping mechanisms are going to be the most difficult thing about this surgery. I really am worried. Lori suggested that I make a "happy box." I've made "happy boxes" in the past for friends who needed pick me ups. She suggested that whenever I feel like eating or shopping I should get something out of my "happy box." I think it's a great idea! I plan on making that a priority as soon as I'm in Kentucky! I'll let you know when I have made my "happy box." :-)

Well... this is it. We're leaving for the hospital. They say I won't remember any of it... which is a good thing... I'm mostly worried about my emotional and psychiatric health.....

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


OK. Now I'm getting nervous... scared actually. I'm still excited for the surgery, but I am frightened to go "under the knife." It's real now. My mother is here for emotional support and help. I just ate my "last meal" for awhile. One of my best friends, Lori, made me breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast. In a few hours I get to drink the Magnesium Citrate. I probably won't be able to blog again until Saturday or Sunday... More then.... And I'll add pictures when I move to Kentucky and have my own computer. I want to add before and afters. And mom said she'd take some pictures in the hospital! :-)

Monday, May 31, 2010


Here's my schedule of events and meals before my surgery on Thursday:

Wednesday, June 2nd
Eat a light breakfast of eggs and toast.
Take all medication normally EXCEPT diabetic medication.
Take half of all diabetic medication.
Eat soup ONLY for lunch
At 1 p.m. drink 12 oz. Citrate of Magnesia (Magneseum Citrate)
- purchase over the counter.
Only clear liquids (broth and water) until midnight!.
Thursday, June 3rd
No food or water.
Only take Effexor with a SIP of water.
Arrive at hospital for prep at 9:00 A.M.
Surgery at 11:00 A.M.
After surgery, I can only "eat" broth, water and sugar-free jell-o.
Saturday, June 5th
Home from hospital.
Blog experience then!!!!


Well, I'm doing it. I have carefully considered the risks and complications as well as the benefits of weight loss surgery. And I'm scheduled for surgery in 4 days (Thursday, June 3rd). I'm excited and frightened. Which I think is normal.

I've already attended my pre-operation class. I learned soooo much! And I'll share that information with you throughout my journey.

There are many skills and life changes I am going to have to make. The surgical team suggests that there are many ways to make my surgery successful. The most important thing to remember is that the success of my surgery depends on ME!!! This is a lifetime commitment.

To help me maintain my focus after the surgery, I have identified three goals that I I hope to accomplish with the help of my Gastric-By-Pass surgery (GBPS).

I always feel like I'm holding everyone back. When my family goes hiking, I've always been the one who waits at the bottom of the trail or mountain. I don't want to do that. I want to be out enjoying nature with them.
But this goal is much more than physical. I want to keep up with my daughters when they are married in the temple. I want to be alive for grandchildren. I want to enjoy family reunions with my parents and brothers and sister. I want to not be held back because of my weight or health problems.

I am really excited when I read the research about how GBPS helps diabetics! My immediate goal is to be off all diabetic medication by the end of July! I'm also hoping that the weight loss will help with my arthritis in my back. There are other health benefits I'm hoping for to. I'd like to live healthier and longer. And maybe... just maybe... I'll learn to like or at least want to exercise daily! (Exercise has not been one of my favorite things for 37 years!)

I hate shopping for clothes. It's not fun to walk past the cute clothes for "normal" size women and go to the dinky section of plus-size clothing. I can't wait to shop in the average section.
I also don't like flying. I always have to ask for a seat-belt extender. How embarrassing. Maybe someday I'll find those seats comfortable. I won't feel wedged into them.
I can't wait for people to look at me and not feel sorry for my size. I see judgements in their eyes.

Well... this is the count-down. T minus 3 1/2 days and counting!!!!!