Sunday, April 13, 2014

Goodbye For Now

I know a few people noticed that I closed my blog down since the start of the year. It wasn't personal to anyone or anything, I closed it completely because I needed to feel less exposed while I was feeling a bit vulnerable.

My mum passed away from cancer at 9.56 am on Sunday 23 March at the age of 52. There are no words I can use to express my devastation at this loss. I don't feel like I am coping very well with how traumatic her death was, especially as I nursed her through those last few weeks. I am not coping well with the idea that I will never see her or talk to her or hold her hand again. It is just too much to bear.

If you have the time, please read the post I wrote about my mum back in 2008 to get a picture of what an amazing woman she was and how much she means to me.
Thanks Mum!

I don't plan on re-opening this blog in the foreseeable future. It is a chapter in my life that I feel like closing right now, but I do think I would like a new outlet to blog one day soon. If you would be interested in reading if I decide to start a new blog please just email me at prettyif(at)gmail.com. It would be good if you could send me a link to your own blog or facebook page or just let me know who you are so I can get to know you before I send you the link to a new blog. Please understand if I don't respond to any emails right now though while I am feeling so emotionally and physically depleted. Just know that I appreciate the support and kindness I have received from you guys more than you can ever know.

With love.
Tully.

xxoo






Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Living A Bad Dream

Ever since my mum got sick I really haven't had much to say on this blog. Well actually I have plenty to say, but I just can't handle how sad and depressing my own thoughts are right now. I am trying to think of the best way to describe how I am feeling, but every time I let myself think about it my eyes well up with tears and I am at work so I better keep a lid on things!

I do want to give an update on how things are for those of you who have been so kind as to enquire. My mum finished up her chemo and radiotherapy in the middle of August. Unfortunately she was too sick to complete the full course they had planned, she did the absolute best she could, but her body was too weak.

Over the past few months she has gained some strength back and is able to do a few things around the house and even occasionally accompany me to the supermarket or the gift shop she likes to look in. Unfortunately she is in a lot of pain and has breathing difficulties so even her best days are not exactly great. I am very grateful that we have had these last few months though because she was so sick after her treatment that we didn't think she would make it.

The doctors have not given us any hope that she could beat the cancer, but of course I keep hoping for a miracle. We have no indication of how long she has left but I hope she will be one of those people who can brag one day that "doctors told me I was going to die 6 years ago and now I am healthier than ever".

Dealing with my mum's illness and mortality has been such a devastating experience. It feels like I have been hit by a grenade and the world is just going on as usual all around me and no one understands what is happening.

It just feels surreal that everyone else's lives are going on as normal. It feels even more surreal when my own life goes on as normal and I am sitting at work doing boring paperwork or going to the races all the while the worst thing ever is happening and I can't stop it. It's like being in a living nightmare.

I really want to say more but just letting the thoughts enter my head is a bit much right now.

 
 

***
ps Writing this made me almost cry a lot and every time I was about to lose it I looked at this because it makes me laugh a lot!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Race Day Dress


We had planned to head to the races again this year because we had soooo much fun last year, but due to a rather massive weight gain I ended up dreading it because I had no idea what to wear. None of my clothes in my wardrobe fit me. So I ordered a dress online from ezibuy exactly to my measurements but it ended up being too big around my bottom half and I had to return it. I knew a shopping trip would be a torturous and unsuccessful venture due to my wonky body shape right now. So I just tried to ignore the whole thing... good plan!
 
Then while reading blogs I saw a cute dress on a plus size Australian fashion blogger's post on race day fashion. Perfect! I strode into City Chic, tried the dress on and took it home. I didn't look at anything else because I was in no shopping mood. It stung a little that I was back shopping in the plus size shops. It stung even more that the dress was $179.95. Oh well, suck it up, we all have much bigger problems than the size tag on our clothes!
 
Then, the day before the races, I was in Target looking at bras and I saw a cute dress that proposed to sculpt your shape. I had major doubts that a white skin tight dress could work for me, but I tried it on and it really did work miracles. Even better, it was only $39 (obviously I will return the other dress). Jackpot!
 
It was such a relief to find something flattering and comfortable to wear. I was able to relax and just enjoy myself and I had a fantastic day. Now, if only all my clothes came with in-built body sculpt material I could have my cake and eat it too! 
 
Me and AJ before we left home

Our group in front of the track


Me and the girls (my two sister-in-laws and my high school best friend)

 

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Body Lift Surgery- 1 Year Anniversary

The massive lead up to Spring Racing Carnival here in Melbourne has done nothing but remind me of the 1 year anniversary of my body lift surgery which I had on Melbourne Cup Day last year. I have had a lot of mixed emotions about this anniversary, both how I was feeling a year ago and how I feel now. I really wish it was easier to push aside these thoughts, but when I live a 15 minute walk from the racecourse there is no chance of forgetting my surgery anniversary!

First and foremost, I have to say that my body lift surgery was a 100% positive experience and it is honestly the best thing I have ever done for myself. I have written in great detail about my experience here, so if you are looking to learn more about body lift surgery hopefully I have answered all your questions (if not, feel free to ask). This time last year I was just so excited and hopeful for my life post-surgery and it is hard to reconcile those happy memories with how I feel now-- not just about my body, but my entire life.

The reason I am struggling with my feelings about the 1 year anniversary of my surgery is because I am disappointed in how much weight I have gained. I wanted this surgery so badly and I really did not think I would gain 20-25 kilos (44-55 lbs) in the year after surgery. Sigh. Everyone has been very generous and cut me some slack due to the horrible situation with my mum's illness and the stress surrounding it, but I am still massively disappointed in myself.

The weight I have re-gained has distributed itself all over my body, except for on my stomach, which remains quite flat. The bulk of the weight has gone onto my back and chest, with my thighs and arms also getting their fair share. I have never gained weight in these places before so at first it didn't bother me, it was actually a bit of a novelty, but 20 kilos later it is not so funny!

It has been a whole new experience getting used to being fat in totally different areas. I am not enjoying the cellulite on my thighs and I am quite self conscious of my rather large chest. There is just no hiding my size 20 E boobs! I feel like a complete stranger in my skin because nothing is the same anymore.

The only other thing worth mentioning is that I still feel quite numb around my scar. I can tell if something is touching me, but I can't really feel it properly. This doesn't bother me at all, but it does feel a little strange. I also feel a weird mix of numbness and dull pain on my hips/upper (outside) thighs when I am exercising. Once again, this doesn't bother me, but if I was a runner it would make life difficult because just running for the tram occasionally is painful enough.

I have tried to be as honest and open about this body lift process as possible, so that means some photos at 1 year out from surgery.

This photo shows the overhang I still have under my boobs that my surgeon wants to do another surgery to remove.

A close up of my scar on my hip, which I think has healed awesomely.

The back view of my scar and bum crack!

It gets worse, sorry for TMI... here is the front view!

I have finally managed to get myself back in the right head space to work on losing the weight again. I realise it took me about 6-12 months to gain the weight, so I have to accept it will take the same time to lose the weight again. As much as I would love to wake up and weigh around 75 kilos (165 lbs) tomorrow... no amount of wishing is going to help, just hard work.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Nothing Compares

One of the biggest barriers I had to face while trying to lose weight was comparing myself to others. I was constantly left feeling confused, frustrated or like a failure because I compared myself with other weight loss bloggers. There was always someone who seemed to have a better method of losing weight or was able to do it much faster than me. Of course I get a great deal of inspiration from other bloggers, so it not all bad, but I just couldn't help listening to the devil on my shoulder telling me that I just didn't measure up.

Now the tables have turned and I find myself constantly comparing myself with 'skinnier me'. I have gained at least 20 kilos (44 lbs) this year and I can't stop comparing the way I feel now, with how I felt when I was thinner.

It has been over 3 years since I weighed over 90 kilos (198 lbs) and so it has been a huge shock to the system. I honestly forgot how much harder life is for me when I am bigger. I find everyday tasks more difficult, I don't like to take up room on public transport, getting up the stairs at home is harder, my thighs chaff, my feet and back hurt and I just feel like an obese person again.

Obviously one of the main ways I feel inadequate to my former self is in my appearance. I hate to be shallow, but well, I am going to be! I have not received a single compliment since I gained weight. Now don't get me wrong, I don't need compliments to feel good about myself, but they are an indication of what others are thinking of your appearance. In fact the closest I came to a compliment was when a friend said 'you have a pretty face' to me the other day. We all know what a slap in the face that statement is to a fat girl.

I found the first photo of myself taken in January and the second photo taken in July (I actually got bigger than this). How on earth did I let myself gain so much weight in such a short period of time? I can't even imagine what sort of denial I must have been in to gain 20 kilos and pretend it wasn't happening.

January 2013
July 2013
The silver lining is that I now look back on the girl in the first photo and think she looks great and that was an awesome weight to be. Of course at the time I still thought I needed to lose a heap more weight and could not be happy with myself. So this weight gain has bought with it a new perspective that I obviously needed and I really hope I remember this if (and when) I get back to being the girl in the first picture.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Meet My Elliptical

True to form, I have come up with my latest 'get fit' plan and, as usual, it involves spending way too much money. I have purchased (well AJ did) a fancy new elliptical machine for my apartment.

This is not the first time I have tried to buy an elliptical for the home, the last time I bought a cheap model online and it was such a piece of crap that I could never actually use it and I got rid of it in hard rubbish collection two months later. So this time I knew I had to go to the shop and actually try before I buy. AJ and I went to a couple of different fitness shops and both fell in love with this one. We had set a budget before we went shopping and this was twice our budget... but we couldn't go back after we tried this one. We are such suckers!

This is my lovely new torturer:

 
It was delivered last Friday and it took AJ about 3 hours to put together, but he had a ball doing it, he loves doing things that involve tools! We put it in the spare room, which is now 'the gym' and have it all pimped out with our weights, fitball, yoga mat, TV, music and even a water filter. I did have photos, but blogger is being a shit and just refusing to upload photos right now.
 
I was away all weekend looking after my mum so I didn't get to have my first session with the elliptical until Monday night. I got myself dressed for a big work out, put on my music, got on the elliptical and started going for it... and then 3 minutes later I was done. Holy crap I was absolutely stuffed!
 
I am just shocked and appalled by how unfit I am right now. I managed to get back on after I had a break and do another 3 minutes, but it almost killed me. So much for striding away on the elliptical while I watch an episode of Mad Men... I'll be lucky if I can make it through an ad break!
 
This is the most unfit I can remember being since I was at my largest weight. I really feel like I am back at square one again. It is quite discouraging, but I figure I can either sook about it and eventually weigh 130 kilos again or work hard and eventually weigh 75 kilos again. Obviously I am aiming for the 75 kilo option! 
 
So I will keep exercising in my little 3 minute (and even 2 minute) increments until my fitness builds. I certainly won't be smashing out any 500 calorie workout sessions, but I am doing this for fitness and toning, not for weight loss. I find it best to separate exercise and weight loss in my head because otherwise I play mind games with myself like:
  • Lazy brain: This work out will burn 300 calories, so I could just skip lunch and then also skip the workout and it evens out
  • Obsessive brain: This workout is only going to burn 300 calories, I need to do it twice a day, 7 days a week to achieve anything
Instead I am trying to find the balance and work out for reasons other than to lose weight. Don't get me wrong, I REALLY want to lose weight, but I will do that (hopefully) with the food choices I make.
 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Working the Lap Band

I went back to my doctor to get another fill in my lap band on Monday. I have decided that I am really going to try and work this lap band... before it inevitably needs to be removed!

Fill details
Pre fill level: 6.1 mls
Fill given: 0.3 mls
Current fill level: 6.4 mls
Band capacity:10 mls

I was reading the Australian lap band forum recently, Banding Together, and got inspiration from everyone talking about how little they can eat and how long they stay full. I realised I have never really pushed myself to get the lap band full enough to have that satiety. I was always too scared of the limitations it would put on me socially and also fearing embarrassing stuck moments at work. So maybe if I keep getting fill put in my lap band I will get to that sweet spot that lap banders always talk about.

There is just no point having a lap band if I am never going to feel full so I just have to accept that eating out is going to be difficult and embarrassing situations may happen. Even when I have my lap band quite empty I still have trouble eating out because I get nervous and the band closes up.

I know there are plenty of people out there who have the lap band and have been able to reach the 'green zone' where they can eat healthy foods and feel satisfied and rarely get stuck. Those of us that have not ever reached that point end up feeling like a failure. I have had the lap band for 4 and half years and during thate time I have fallen into one of two categories:

1. The band does not have enough fill in it to help me feel full. I can eat chicken, salad, red meat, rice and bread and McDonalds...
 
2. The band is too tight and the only foods that will go down comfortably are chips and ice cream and there is no chance of eating a normal healthy meal

Apparently there is a magic third category:
 
3. The band has the right amount of fill so that I can eat half a cup of normal food and feel satisfied for at least 3-4 hours

I am determined to try and get myself into this elusive category!

This is now the most fill I have ever had in my lap band. Right now the band still feels very tight and eating is quite difficult, but I find that fills can take a couple of weeks to settle into place, so I will wait and see how it goes. I am mourning food a little bit, thinking of all the restaurants I want to eat at and all the fun summer time adventures that are sucky with the band. I guess I just need to learn how to have fun without it revolving around food. Ha ha!!!



Thursday, October 03, 2013

Very Sticky Situation

I have had a lap band for about 4 and a half years now and yet I can still surprise myself by how poorly I can manage it. After getting a fill last week it has been a bit tighter than I am used to, but I haven’t had any issues yet… that is until yesterday when I managed to have the grossest moment I have ever had with the band. I don’t blame you if you want to stop reading now.

I have read on a few blogs that people keep little bags with them in the car in case they have a bad ‘stuck’ moment while driving. I didn’t think this applied to me because I am an anxious driver and don’t normally eat and drive anyway. I really should have been more prepared!!!

Yesterday afternoon I was leaving my mum’s to drive the 90 minutes back to Melbourne to go home. I decided to eat a slice of cheese to tide me over because I hadn’t eaten all day. I could feel that it was sitting a little funny, but it felt like it was going to slide down ok so I got in the car and took off. As I was driving it got worse and worse and then it started hurting more than I have ever experienced with the band.

I was growing increasingly panicked because I just didn’t know what to do. I was driving in extremely strong winds (Melbourne and Geelong readers will know what I am talking about!) and it was pouring rain so I was already total white knuckled on the steering wheel and freaking out about the driving conditions. I knew I needed to pull over, but I just didn’t feel confident in pulling off the freeway and then trying to get back on in heavy traffic with poor visibility. So I just kept driving and hoping that the cheese would go down the band.

I was out of luck. Over the course of the next  45 minutes I PB’ed* on myself in the car 5 times. People that have a lap band will understand just how revolting that is. My only saving grace was that the day before I had accidentally smashed a glass jar of salad dressing all over the floor and while I was cleaning it up I used all of the paper towel. So when I had gone to the supermarket for my mum I picked up more paper towel to take home with me and it was in the backseat of my car. Thank the lord!

It was one of the worst (in terms of volume and pain) PB experiences I have ever had. I know you probably don’t want to hear about it, but it was so outrageously bad that I just have to talk about it. After I got home I had to clean the car and then strip off and have a shower… I was a slimy mess. I will never get into the driver’s seat again if anything is even remotely sitting in my band!


* PB: Productive Burp- When something you eat can't go down the lap band and it comes back up (with slime and foam). It’s gross.


Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Lap Band Fill Time

I am still trying to lose weight after my massive gain this year. I can't say that I am having much success... but I am trying! I know that I will never give up so I have full some confidence I will get back to where I feel comfortable. The problem is that I am not feeling very patient at the moment. I want to go to sleep and wake up 20 kilos lighter in the morning. I feel too overwhelmed by life right now to worry about what I eat... but it is now or never. I certainly don't want to step on the scales in 6 months time and have gained another 20 kilos!

One of the main reasons I am struggling right now is because of the back pain I am having. When you gain 20 kilos in a few months and most of it goes on your chest and back, you are lumped with quite severe back pain. Ah, I am so frustrated at myself for getting into this position. There are only so many neurofens I can take every day... ultimately the only thing that is going to help is losing some weight.

So last week I made an appointment to see a lap band doctor at a local clinic (not my surgeon's office because they are too hard to get to during business hours). The doctor was lovely and didn't make me feel like shit, so that was nice. He gave me 0.3 mls, which takes me to 6.1 mls in my 10 ml band-- which is the most I have ever had in my lap band (I think).

Prior to getting this fill I was able to eat anything and everything. I could eat a whole pizza, a Big Mac, a Whopper burger... and not feel satisfied at all! I had been reluctant to get a fill though because I struggled to ever get food down when I eat out. Then I realised that I have got stuck on food almost every single time I have eaten out in the past 12 months... so why bother worrying about that anyway. I just have to accept that I can't eat out for now. Losing weight is more important than my social life (which is pretty non-existent right now anyway).

I really hope this latest fill in my lap band helps me get some of this weight gain off. So far I have found that I am pretty tight, but it still takes a lot of food for me to feel satisfied. So I guess I need to keep trying and see if I can get my lap band to a place where it can give me a bit of a helping hand help when I need it most.

While I am talking lap bands, I found out today that a good friend of mine's lap band has eroded. I find it scary how many people I know who have had their lap bands flip, erode, or leak. Aside from the difficulties in using the band correctly, the complications with the band mean that if I was choosing weight loss surgery today, I would not choose the lap band. I guess I should try and get mine to work while it still can!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sticky Situation 3

One of the worst things about having a lap band is that fact that food (and even drinks sometimes) can get stuck. Once the food is stuck in the band and won't go down, it only has one way to get out-- it needs to come back up. Depending on how tight your lap band is, this can happen daily... or not at all. My band is not very tight and pretty much the only time this happens to me is when I am out because I get anxious and the band tightens up and food just will not go down. 

So I am normally very careful when I eat in public, but occasionally I am not careful enough and mistakes happen. I recently made one of those mistakes... with very embarrassing consequences.

I went to the footy on Sunday because AJ is a massive Tigers supporter and we were excited to see them play in their first final in 12 years. So were the other 95,000 other people at the stadium. The game didn't start until 3.20 pm and I hadn't had a chance to eat anything all day because I had rushed from my mum's house back to Melbourne and then caught a train to the MCG in time for the game. I was starving and there were not a lot of band-friendly food choices to make.

I am obviously an idiot and I decided to get myself a meat pie and a cider because it's the footy and that is what you do! Then disaster struck and I felt the pie get stuck in my band. I let it sit for a while and hoped it would go down. Then I stood up at the back of the seats bay for a while trying to jiggle it down. Then I took a tinsy tiny sip of cider because sometimes that can lubricate it down the band. Nope, nothing would work.

Next thing I get a familiar feeling that means that food is coming out of the band RIGHT NOW. I raced to the toilets and was faced with a large queue (did I mention there were 95,000 people there?). It was too late... it already came up. I didn't even have time to get to the sinks or the bin and so I vomited in my own mouth. Everyone in the queue saw me do it and they all collectively jumped away from me. I just stood there, completely panic stricken for what felt like 5 minutes, but was probably 5 seconds. Then a lovely girl grabbed me and pushed me to the front and shoved me in the next available cubical.

I tried to stay in the cubical for as long as possible so that by the time I came out no one from the queue would still be in there. Of course I timed it perfectly so that the lovely girl who helped me was standing at the sinks when I came out. I thanked her, she told me I toilet paper stuck to my shoe, and I just wanted the world to swallow me up.


After that incident... and the performance by the Tigers, I was in need of many more ciders to ease the pain. Luckily I managed to find the vomiting incident more and more funny by the end of the night... but not any less disgusting!