Friday, March 16, 2018

Making a lifestyle change...

For those who know me personally know that I have been overweight for several years.  As much as I hate to admit it, I was considered by the medical field to be morbidly obese.  Being more than 100 pounds heavier than I should be, I was having several health issues because of it.  The excess weight was causing issues with my joints (I have arthritis) and my back (degenerative disc disease), as well as my having problems with water retention and having sleep apnea, just to name a few of my health issues.

In 1985 I took prescription diet pills and did a lot of walking which helped me lose 54 pounds.  Then I got pregnant with my daughter and shamefully let myself gain all that weight back plus a huge amount more.  A few years ago my husband and I discussed my having either the adjustable gastric banding (aka lapband) or gastric bypass surgery done, but that's as far as it went.

In May 2017 my daughter told my husband and me about a couple of people she had met at work who had lost over 100 pounds after having sleeve gastrectomy (aka known as gastric sleeve).  Since I had been overweight all her life, she asked me to look into this type of weight loss surgery to see if I would be a candidate.

After doing research on the gastric sleeve procedure, I found a weight loss surgeon who was located in the next county, who also held free monthly seminars on the different types of surgery he offers.  At the end of the seminar the husband and I attended, I filled out a form asking for more information.  When they called me, an appointment was made for me to have a one-on-one with the doctor.  

My husband and I agreed that I should go for the gastric sleeve.  Over the next several months, I had to have several tests done, as well as a 6-months monitored weight loss program with my general practitioner.   The tests I had to have included a psychiatric evaluation, heart echo and stress test, and an endoscope, which were all done by the end of October.

The earliest date for surgery I could get was January 3rd of this year.  Prior to surgery, I had to do a 2-week liquid diet which was to help shrink my liver.  My surgeon said the liver shrinkage would help in accessing my stomach.  I was definitely worried that my liver hadn't shrunk enough for him to do the surgery, but my husband said the doctor was really pleased with the way surgery went.

I will be the first to admit that the lifestyle after having weight loss surgery isn't easy.  However, it is so well worth it.  I wanted to be healthy, and as long as I was as fat as I was, being healthy wasn't gonna happen.  I also did it for my family.  I have 2 small grandsons I want to be able to have more fun with.  My weight and the pain it was causing in my back and legs prevented me from being able to run and play with them like I wanted to.
If you are considering weight loss surgery but are afraid, please go for it.  My doctor's program includes monthly support group meetings which consists of patients who have already had surgery and a nutritionist who are more than happy to answer any questions people who are considering the procedure may have.  If your potential surgeon doesn't offer this, ask and/or look around for one.  There may be family and friends in your life who may try to talk you out of having surgery, but do this for yourself.

I'm lucky in that I have had a great support system throughout this journey.  I do not regret for one second having this surgery.  Having been addicted to food/eating, it is hard mentally knowing I can't have a lot of the foods I ate before surgery but I can handle it.  I started this journey knowing that I would have to make a drastic change in my lifestyle.  As I said previously, I'm glad I started this journey and I'm grateful to my daughter for telling me about the gastric sleeve.  I probably would never have done anything if she hadn't encouraged me.

NOTE:  As of yesterday I have lost 51 pounds.  This is weight I would not have been able to lose without the surgery.
The lapband surgery is uses an inflatable, adjustable ring to create a smaller gastric pouch, limiting the amount of food it will hold at any time. That means you’ll feel comfortably full with less and maintain that fullness for several hours, reducing the urge to eat between meals. Adjustable gastric banding is the least invasive weight loss procedure.  Due to complications, the adjustable gastric banding is being phased out by some doctors.

Gastric bypass (also called "Roux-en-Y”) involves making a small pouch out of the stomach and bypassing the small bowel. Rapid weight loss occurs by limiting the amount of food you consume and the calories your body absorbs. It also requires lifelong follow up to monitor essential vitamin and nutrient levels. 

Sleeve gastrectomy decreases stomach size by about 80%. You’re left with a tube the size of a banana, which limits the amount of food you can hold and promotes a longer-lasting feeling of fullness.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Another Lexington ComicCon Under The Belt...

Doug Jones 
 I am home from experiencing another awesome comic book and toy convention.  The Lexington ComicCon, held March 9-11 at the Lexington Convention Center in Kentucky, played host to such stars as Chuck Norris (Walker, Texas Ranger), Doug Jones (The Shape of Water), Jonathon Frakes (Star Trek Next Generation), John Barrowman (Dr. Who), Jason David Frank (Power Rangers), and Ric Flair (WWE Superstar).  Other stars included Pauley Shore (comedian), Billy Dee Williams (Star Wars), and Lou Diamond Phillips (Longmire).
Lou Diamond Phillips
The crowd on Saturday was very overwhelming at times; I am looking forward to hearing what the actual attendance was.  The lines to get in were 3-4 people wide and longer than I have ever seen.  I was told by a volunteer working the convention that the organizers were very surprised by the number of people attending, and the attendance was approximately 40% more than last year.  As with any convention that experiences such growth there are hicups to be expected, such as crowd control.  The aisle leading to Rupp Arena (where the stars were) was extremely mishandled and people wanting to leave to visit the vendors had a very hard time getting through.  This being said, the organizers realized their mistake of not having a  better entrance/exit made sure that on Sunday rope petitions were set up.  I must give them credit for learning from this mistake.
Jonathon Frakes
One of the upsides to the convention was the security checks; this was the first year this type of security was implemented.  With the number of shootings being reported around the country, I can understand why this was done.
Though there were a few complaints, which is to be expected since you can't please everybody, I am positive the organizers will learn what needs to be changed or improved upon for next year.   The organizers have apologized to their fans for the issues caused by the overcrowding and that's good enough for me.  They always have great guest stars and vendors and I look forward to see what they have in store for us next year.
I have been to every Lexington ComicCon since the first one in 2013 and will continue to go as long as I can.

Friday, March 9, 2018

New Craft Ideas...

Though things are going great with my Etsy store, A Family Affair Boutique, I'm in the mood to try new crafts.  The two ideas I'm thinking of trying are making/decorating wood signs and painting mason jars.  

I am really pleased with the selection of wood signs I've ordered and plan on putting vinyl decals on.  Some I may use stencils to paint designs on these signs.  I plan on sitting down after this weekend and look up what "sayings" are the most popular.

Painting mason jars are really popular.  There are lots of things you can use the jars for, such as soap dispensers, toothbrush holders, canisters, and piggy banks (just to name a few ideas).  

I'm in the process of googling Pinterest and Etsy for ideas and supplies.  As soon as I get a few projects done, I'll post pictures for you to see.  If I'm happy with my end results, I plan on start selling them online.