Colonoscopy

Seems I need to find at least one body part each month that wants to screw with me.

This month was my colon.

When you turn 50 you should have a colonoscopy as a routine part of your yearly (that year). If all goes well, they put you on a 3-5 year repeat schedule.

I had several colonoscopies many years back and had the most violent reactions to the prep and the anesthesia. I had zero desire to do it ever again, polyps be damned. But then I started bleeding bright red blood from my back side and knew I was going in for one.

They scheduled me quickly as there were no obvious exterior signs that I had a hemorrhoid or something like. I negotiated with the doctor to take the easiest possible prep since I can’t manage more than 4 oz at any time.

This prep was truly simple and I was also sure to fast the day before based on my experience. I swallowed 20 pills over the course of about an hour, then spent the next couple hours cleaning out the colon. The next morning you take another 12 pills. The anesthesia was light and easy and had no post procedure effects other than tiredness. I got a polyp removed (what they think caused the blood) and a clean bill of health otherwise.

For once, I came through a procedure unscathed! Hurrah for me!

I didn’t do much the day of the procedure, laid low, napped and did the absolute minimum about of exercise. I was still tired a day later, but was back on track.

Wondering what my next ailment will be. I’m sure there’s one around the corner waiting for me.

Health ?

I’ve been very lucky or very blessed. I’m still unsure which but I tend to lean towards a higher power continues to step in to save me.

I wouldn’t say I have been a healthy person for the latter half of my life.

I’ve almost met my maker at least 3 times in 50 years. There’s got to be a reason for that?

Maybe?

I’ve had the worst health run of most people I know because I’m always in that 1% that weird things happen to. But I survived. I chose the VSG surgery so I could take better care of myself, so with the other complications in the rear view, it’s time I take control.

Keto isn’t easy but it’s doable. Retraining your brain to eliminate obvious carbs is tough. Sometimes I just want a damn Triscuit.

I usually cave to my favorite Grandma pizza on Friday nights and a sesame bagel on Sunday.

I bought a Ketosis tracking machine. A small device where you prick your finger and it takes a reading. I am starting to learn that I can actually have my favorite cheats as long as I continue with exercise and taking my MCT oil. It’s not ideal, and it’s not a true Keto plan but like any other way of eating I’ve tried, I need to build in things that don’t make me feel deprived. I feel full, I’m eating better (hugely reduces sugar) and I have a built in portion control mechanism now.

My belly and guts make noises like I’ve never heard before. People say this is common after VSG. I also hiccup with one bite too many or too fast. It’s a great automatic lever because I still don’t “feel” full but have this amazing auto-reaction that says “stop now or it’s going to hurt.” I notice I still have to focus on eating more slowly. Having smaller portions helps as I don’t want to finish hours before everyone else, but my brain is trained to eat quickly and I have to reprogram it.

I use smaller plates and can easily tell how much food in a serving is too much for me. If I eat the right things, my hunger is curbed appropriately. I probably still don’t drink enough water so that’s something I have to work on. I tend to wake up throughout the night to drink which definitely signals I need more water throughout the day.

When I’m on a date, they don’t usually notice how little I eat or drink. I’m such a cheap date now! My friends notice though. They notice I barely eat and that I don’t drink even half of what I used to – they liked me when I enjoyed more! I tell them I enjoy eating and drinking as much as I always did, I just do less of it and it’s fine!

I chose the surgery because portion control was always my biggest issue. Now it’s controlled whether I like it or not! It’s interesting how the mind works – knowing I “can” eat anything I want makes it much easier not to eat it. I can’t over eat anymore. But if I am dying for a peanut butter cup, I can have one and not feel the guilt.

My heaviest weight back in 2012 was around 256 pounds. My weight prior to surgery was 214 pounds and today was 154 pounds. I can’t believe I’ve lost 100 pounds from my frame overall. I made a photo compilation of the 3 faces of Madeline over the past 7 years and I look healthier and younger.

As for how the weight falls off me, I notice a pretty consistent 3 week stall, then 4th week drop. My initial goal was 150 pounds but I am pretty sure I am going to drop it to 140-145 pounds. The surgeon feels, since I am now a normal BMI, I won’t lose anymore.

I did have to have my wound cauterized again which was super painful this time as he had to open up the edges and make fresh skin that would heal again. It’s a bloody mess and hurts now, but bloody means healthy.

I don’t know if I can ever be happy I made the decision to have the surgery, or have it in Mexico. But, in typical Mads fashion, I am beginning to forget about the horror I endured and starting to focus on the tool I now have in my body. I need to put this weight loss to good use.

I don’t know if I’m in peri-menopause or if my body is still in shock (totally possible according to the doctors) but I just had another 75 day stretch with no period. I don’t miss not getting a period but I prefer to keep the hormones around! I still have to get back to the doctor to discuss what we are going to do about the polyps.

I’ve been steadily ensuring I am working out every day, no matter what. A 30-45 minute commitment is more daunting before I do it so I just have to stop thinking about it and force myself into automation. It honestly feels good to be a little sore and I’m sure, soon enough, I will start sleeping better as well. I have totally lost my ass from the weight loss and feel excess skin hanging everywhere. I don’t like it so I need to change that. I don’t think I have “so much” excess skin that a steady exercise routine won’t fix.

Sorry my posts are so mundane but I think boring might be good for me for a while as I begin to take my life back into control.

Blogging has always helped me maintain focus when I commit to it.

Small forward steps are happening. I am still obsessing over Tony, but I’m taking control of myself again.

Exhaustion (originally published 1/14/19)

*Originally Published 1/14 and disappeared (sorry for the repost)

I had my first period since around Dec 5th. I should have predicted the outcome post menses: total and utter exhaustion. It is exactly the time my iron has naturally depleted (5 month mark) post the blood clot episode in 2015. It’s been 3 years now that I am dealing with this anemia and I hate it.

I made the appointment for the blood test and sure enough my iron is dropping, but not yet low enough for insurance to cover and expensive infusion. I hate this part. I have to wait through another period and about a month before my iron drops low enough to cover the infusion. This basically means I am sick and tired for the next 6-8 weeks.

I have begged the doctors in the past to be more aggressive in treating it, but they say they can’t approve the treatment until a certain point. After 3 years of examples, being pretty much like clockwork….I don’t see why they can’t be proactive with the infusion instead of waiting until I literally cannot get out of bed for days on end.

So most of December into January found me lying in bed, sleeping days away.  I can find energy to get my son up and off to school, and occasionally do required errands. Maybe even one night out with family or friends.  But then, sleep again for days.

Finally went  for a second blood test and, as predicted, I am now anemic.  Waiting for the doctor to get the approval for the iron transfusion.  It irks me they can’t get back to me more quickly.  I called and the nurses empathize but say the doctor is jam packed.

In addition, prior to my surgeries my gynecological options were hysterectomy, ablation or IUD – none of which I wanted.  I should have gotten the IUD when I had the chance!  I was too afraid of the estrogen because the hormone is what caused blood lots in 2015, the ablation seemed like a better choice until I did research that said it could put you into early menopause, and I just didn’t want surgery for a hysterectomy (to explain that: I didn’t want surgery that was going to decrease my libido and increase my depression, less so about the actual surgery itself – though in hindsight the chances are over 75% I would have ended up with similar internal bowel issue that I have now due to all my adhesions).  Now, I have zero gynecological options because of all the issues I just experienced.

This means, I live with chronic anemia and iron infusions until my period stops.  The, hopefully, the anemia disappears naturally.  But it’s still a shot in the dark.

I now feel like my life is passing me by and I can’t seem to grasp hold of it.  I am getting very, very worried about money because I have none.  We have depleted all of our excess the past 4 months and credit card debt.  I was really hoping to not have to tap into my savings, but that will have to be the next step.

I’m hoping my mental and physical states pick up soon, because I feel pretty useless at the moment.

Mexico Update

If anyone lives in Utah or Arizona there is going to be a live news cast on the infection I came home from Mexico with: Pseudomonas aeruginosa

You can also google:

CDC Tijuana Superbug

Grandview Hospital Mexico

Pseudomonas aeruginosa Grandview Hospital

And you will see I was one of the first to come home with, but not the last to be taken down by this superbug.

https://www.cdc.gov/hai/outbreaks/pseudomonas-aeruginosa.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/they-went-to-mexico-for-surgery-they-came-back-with-a-deadly-superbug/2019/01/23/ac0ca280-1dcb-11e9-9145-3f74070bbdb9_story.html?utm_term=.048b6ed8902a

I know the people in the articles and interviews and their surgeries were post mine and we have been consistently shut down from allowing to post in the support group for patients. So one of the ladies went public.

It’s sure to be bigger news soon.

Clean-ish Bill of Health

4 surgeries and 3 months of brainless-ness later, here I sit pondering the meaning of my life.

Since I don’t have any insight or answers, lets talk about my health.

I really liked my US surgeon, he is a good man and a great surgeon and always spoke to me with kindness, empathy and in a way I could understand what was happening with my body and why he was making the decisions he made.  He also saved my life, so there’s that.  Oh, did I mention he’s also super cute like in a Hospital Drama kind of way?

My last weight recorded in the US was 218 pounds.  I am 5’8″  That’s not my heaviest weight, but it was my weight as of April of this year (Fuck you April, just sayin’).  Todays weight was 167 with clothes on.  Almost exactly 3 months post VSG (Vertical sleeve gastrectomy) and he was super happy with the sleeve itself and my progress.  That’s 51 pounds gone forever.   Honestly, I was worried I didn’t lose any weight this month and he said that’s fine considering the wound, but I need to continue to work towards my goal weight.

How does it feel to be (sort-of) instantly thin – pretty fucking amazing if you ask me.  Would I do it again?  The surgery?  Maybe, but here in the US.  Maybe the same thing would have happened, even here.  No one knows.  I was a risky candidate to begin with.  I don’t know what choices I would make if I wasn’t in such a dark place.  But, since I did do VSG in Mexico, and I did lose 51 pounds, I DO feel pretty amazing!

That is, until I get undressed.  It’s really unattractive and I am going to have serious issues with getting undressed.  At the moment, I would pretty much eliminate any casual sex – I couldn’t manage my own anxiety about what they think.

So, that puts the weight loss in a very strange place.  I cleaned my closet and attic and have enough clothes to get through the winter.  I still had my “goal” clothes from my weight loss challenge with Bobby – clothes I never fit into as I don’t think I ever dropped under 180-185 pounds.  And they would have been a bit tight then, even.  I feel good in clothes, I look great.

Luckily, I don’t have the hair loss that many experience and my hair looks gorgeous as it’s longer than ever.

My boobs fell,  but due to a breast reduction when I was about 24, they still face forward! They fit back into my smaller bras, but I can see losing more weight from them unfortunately.  My band is back to a solid 36 from a 40.  I was a 36-26-38 at my lowest weight now 120 pounds at age 24-30.

My ass is gone and flat!  Yikes! Less worried about the ass and legs as they will be the first to come back IF I exercise.  At the moment the skin literally hangs around the bones and it looks old and yucky.  I need to fix that.

My underarms are officially chicken wings.  I downloaded some exercises for them.  I have more creases at the upper arm/armpit due to loose skin.

My son mentioned my neck looks older and he’s right.  I lost quite a bit in my neck and have to get my everyday necklace shortened as it now hangs too low.  Speaking of jewelry, all my rings are now loose and swim on my fingers.

And…..I did email Peloton to restart my subscription today….so that counts as a CHECK!

Weight loss after trauma is just weird.  It’s like I woke up and it was gone.  A lot of that has to do with all the surgeries post the VSG – so I almost forget about the VSG as it was simple compared to what followed and the trauma I endured.

I also can’t decide if I am going to tell or not?  I have told many people, but not all people.  Would I have told if I just lost weight and no trauma?  I don’t know.  People are so judgey.  There is NOTHING easy about weight-loss surgery.  It’s not an easy way out of anything.

I joked with the surgeon today about how I traded one beauty for another.  I look good when I’m dressed up, but underneath the wrappings, nothing is what it seems.  I asked him how many lives he’s saved where people come in worried about their vanity months later and he realized I was making fun of myself.  I suppose I need to be in good humor considering I had a death wish.

I sit and wonder how a man like Tony would view my scars….and how my future men will view them.  Its going to be very, very difficult to embrace certain positions, that’s for sure.

I’ve got a clean bill of health from the surgeon, excluding the possibility of a hernia in the next year.  I will take it.

Therapy is another story entirely.

I’m still working on the therapy part and I do my homework, sometimes.  I liked the relationship book she directed me to and I feel I have completed as much of the work in there as I can up til today.  Next is embracing my inner childs voice.  I do worry about continuing therapy in the New Year.  I will have to start a $6000/year deductible again with no job.  I will have to decrease the frequency of the visits if I continue to not work, and that worries me a bit.  I also need to get my kids in to her over Christmas Break.

My body is ready to get back to the work of living, now I just have to convince my mind.

Stronger than Yesterday

I received his text before my appointed time with the Therapist.

I didn’t open it until after my conversation with her.

I think I baffle my therapist the same way I baffle anyone who knows me. How does this smart, competent, attractive woman lose her mind in an instant?

But that really was what happened.

Some important things happened in a days time span:

Immediately after my cray: One friend talked me off a cliff, one got mad and refused to talk to me about it and my sister just remained baffled and wanted better for me. This was the first time I realized I was pulling my friends into a hole with me because of my inability to control Trixie. Maybe I knew before but I wasn’t paying attention – but yesterday – knowing these were the same women who worried over my life in Mexico – I couldn’t let that happen. They have been too good to me and for me.

The next morning: The therapist listened and I am pretty sure she never said “do not respond” the way everyone else had. She only suggested “put some time between it.” I had already made up my mind that I was going to ask him why he did that after all this time. But she did say several things that made me pause and think. I cannot jeopardize my friendships and I must learn to control my tantrums. And mostly, I have to start forgiving myself and just move forward. Is it earth shattering? No. I’m just listening and actively participating. Some of your comments were good for me – why do I snap the moment I am rejected by a man? Most importantly, I needed her to hear my mania closest to the time it happened. Once a week I can be pretty good at looking alive and well. She needed to have a dose of Trixie because she hides and bites.

After the conversation with my therapist, I told Tony the truth (via text), why I reached out and then why I went cray. Then I apologized. His answer was that I had “liked” a post and he saw his wife scrolling through every like and he panicked. He apologized and said he didn’t even think I would care after all this time. He said he would “re-friend” me if I wanted. Does it matter? It shouldn’t but it was enough for me. I cried a bit because I knew there would be no more, but I didn’t have to press him for questions and answers on anything else. I felt the need for validation and I wanted it so desperately and I didn’t ask for it.

I was happy I cried. Sometimes I think my new meds are too strong. But the tears were ok. If my friend had not come over I probably would have mourned all day, but she did so I didn’t. Then 6’4″ asked me to coffee for Friday morning. So the day moved with less dwelling than any past contact with Tony.

Steps. Steps ahead. They aren’t great. And I am still angry he made the choices he did. My cousin pointed out that anyone who has to check their husband on social media isn’t living the best life. I admit to taking a little satisfaction in that. I feel less of a need to tell his wife, but I can’t say that’s entirely gone. I’m sure it will go away in time.

The result is that I have to call for help when I slip. I was DETERMINED to find his number. It was a psychological need that felt physical to me in the moment. And I knew it was wrong and ignored the sane part of my brain going: you really forgot his number! Good for you! Had I listened to that cheerleader in my head, I would have dealt with the emotion any way I wanted EXCEPT contacting him. I could have cried and screamed and thrown things and a thousand other ways to express my anger. I would have still given my inner child a voice, allowed a controlled tantrum in a safe place, and moved on. Why do I need the person who upsets me to hear me? He couldn’t help me.

So, fork in the road, almost 15 weeks of no contact and I screwed up. I wanted more from him but I finally “feel” that I won’t get more so I feel a bit more confident about letting go. I know that all sounds crazy, but that’s how I feel. I have to focus on how I get what I need from men in my life. Men who are available. And learn how not to take this crap forward with me into any relationship.

In the summer/fall 2016 I thought I had it all. I never felt “put on a pedestal” in my life…but I got to live and love up in the clouds for about a year before my world began crumbling. The fall from those heights nearly killed me. Losing my job in the fashion I did, and having a boss dismantle my credibility was painful. Today was the first time that I realized that as much as Tony hurt me, the damage from the job is probably worse. I was never great in relationship (or at least my track record from marriage didn’t give me a good foundation might be a better way to say it) but I was amazing in my roles at work and always rewarded well. As I talked through the Tony situation today, it dawned on me that I’ve been allowing myself to dwell on something I can’t repair instead of something I can – causing me to feel hopeless.

I can’t go back to my downward spiral after April. I can’t go back to the black hole I put myself in because I am barely, just barely out of it now. The meds are strong and are probably doing the heavy lifting but now I need to use that for my benefit. The fact that I felt less driven regarding Tony today is a step forward. The fact that I realized I can focus on something I can (at least possibly) attain is a step forward. I’m still traumatized but yesterday and today were good learning days.

And tomorrow I see a handsome man for coffee and have a hair appt in the afternoon. So that’s not so bad either.