2018/2019… let’s do this

(Trigger warning)

2018 was a big year for me, physically and mentally. I can’t say it was all good, as I lost 6 people within my family and friend circle. I don’t think I’ve ever lost that many people in one year. It’s been a heartbreaking year, an eye-opening year, and a victorious year. I can’t believe how much I’ve accomplished. I went into 2018 with a different mindset that I had never had before. I honestly still have no clue where the motivation came from, other than working my butt off in therapy. I didn’t realize my mindset was changing until it hit me like a brick wall.

The year didn’t start off great; my uncle passed away on January 1. I wasn’t as close to him as I had been in my younger years since we lived a state away, but it was still a challenging time. My mother lost her brother, my cousins lost their father. We are now upon the first anniversary of his passing and I know it’s not easier for anyone. In July, I also lost my great uncle. It’s been a rough year for my family.

In previous years, my “new year’s resolution” always included losing weight, but it never worked out because, well, I never worked out. I would work out or diet for maybe a week, maybe two, then go back to my old habits. This year, that would change. I couldn’t lose weight on my own, so I talked to my doctor and she recommended weight loss surgery. I went for it and made an appointment with a bariatric surgeon. After 3 months of preparation, dieting, and exercise, I had the surgery in August. I haven’t lost weight at the pace I would have liked, but I’ve still lost weight and I’m okay with that. I still have a long journey ahead of me, but I’m still motivated to get the weight off.

As for the people I’ve lost this year, it was rough. I lost a few close friends and two family members. One of them, though, hit me like nothing has ever hit before.

I started my mental health journey in 2014, and I won’t get into details with that, because I’ve talked about it in previous posts. I was checked into a mental hospital and then immediately started group therapy after I was discharged. The first person that talked to me when I walked up to the door was named Katy, and she ended up becoming one of the most important people I’d ever meet in my life.

There were times during therapy and even outside of therapy that she would talk me through it and help me through it. I remember one day in therapy that I was called on to speak, and I ended up crying… hard. I couldn’t get through what I was trying to say. Katy sat next to me every day, and on this particular day, she looked at me and said, “I promise you that nobody here is going to judge you, and everybody here loves you, including me. I’m right here. Just talk to me.” Those words helped me get through the duration of my time in group therapy.

I learned that she had a lung disease when I would talk to her everyday, but I didn’t know how bad it was. She passed away this year, in June. The bad thing for me is that I didn’t find out until July. I missed her funeral, I didn’t get to say goodbye, and I didn’t get to tell her how much she meant to me. It was heartbreaking. I still think about her and cry. I have never grieved over anyone else as hard as I have grieved over her.

As much as her passing affected me, I didn’t let it slow me down. I couldn’t. I know she would want me to keep working hard on my mental health, so I have. I have progressed, I think, a lot in therapy. I’m working my butt off daily to stay alive. Everybody has bad days, including me, but I get through them. Finn (my dog) is definitely a huge help with that. I’ve accomplished so much mentally, but also physically. I made a lot of progress in school. I’ve been getting out of the house more, but one of the main goals I have for myself is to get out even more. I’ve got so much planned; hiking, dog park visits, walking trails, yard work, and even just sitting outside getting more fresh air.

Health wise, I am going to continue to take care of myself. For so many years, I put my health on the back burner because I hated myself that much. I wanted to die so bad that my life didn’t matter that much. But now, I feel like I need to stay alive, and I want to stay alive. Some days are very difficult, and I still have suicidal thoughts from time to time, but I don’t feel as if I would act upon them now. It’s even kind of crazy to think about because I got so used to thinking I would be better off dead.

Another goal is to blog more! I’ve had to take a few months off from blogging, but I’m back at it. I felt like if I had writer’s block, then it was going to happen whether I wanted it to happen or not, and I didn’t try to force anything.

With all of that being said, I want to know how your year was and how you want 2019 to be. If you had a bad year, it’s okay. Not everyone is going to have a good year. And its okay to have bad days! Even if you have perfect mental health (and no one does), everyone has bad days. Try your hardest to bounce back the next day. I know it’s easier said than done, trust me. Depression is no joke at all. But stay strong for me, for your family, for your friends, your pets, your spouse, your girlfriend, your boyfriend, but most of all, stay strong for yourself. Because you’re worth staying strong for. You’re worth the life that the universe gave you. You matter.

Happy new year, and let’s have a great 2019.

My Weight Loss Journey, Part III

On August 10, I had vertical sleeve gastrectomy surgery, also known as gastric sleeve surgery. Yep, I went through with it. I’ll be honest, I am the first one to admit I thought I would chicken out. But here I am on the other side of surgery, and I’m doing great.

At my highest weight, I was 253 lbs.. I am 5’5″, so that is considered morbidly obese. Surgery day, I weighed in at 251 lbs. After the surgery, I was in some pain, but the pain medication kept it away. I vomited a few times (including in front of both of my guests. Ugh… sorry about that!). I had to walk around the hall multiple times and the next day I was discharged and went home.

It was tough the first few days. I could barely sleep on my stomach, but did. I had no problems sleeping (thank you, Ambien). Getting in the amount of liquids I need is still a struggle because my sleeve is so small now that it fills me up pretty quickly. I am on stage 2 right now, the pureed stage, and I am full after a 3 oz cup of blended soup. It’s so weird to me because before, I would eat because it tasted good and wanted more. Now, while I still struggle with that, I can’t eat more or it physically hurts. My sleeve tells me to stop by making it painful to eat more.

Since 8/10, I am down to 237 lbs., which truly blows my mind. That means I am down 16 lbs. in less than a month and I couldn’t be more happy. I’ve hit a couple stalls in weight loss, but I figured out what I was doing wrong, and fixed it. I don’t lose weight as fast as other people, and that’s okay. It’s frustrating at times because I don’t lose weight as fast as others, but my body is different than theirs, and that’s okay. I’ll get to my goal weight in my own time.

I’m walking everyday, but I haven’t made it to my first goal of 30 minutes yet. That’s because I have an intense back pain when I do walk for an extended amount of time, but I’ve discovered that if I wear my abdominal binder that the hospital gave me, then I can walk longer than if I don’t wear it. So I’ll get there. On October 1, I can go back to the gym and possibly start doing more cardio and start weight training.

That’s it for now, but I’ll continue to update as my weight loss journey continues. If you have any questions about the surgery, you can contact me by emailing me at aliveewriter@yahoo.com, or texting me at (318) 321-8725. Be sure to leave your name and a way to contact you.

My Weight Loss Journey, part II

It is officially happening. I’m having weight loss surgery.

I know I said it was happening in part I, but now it really is happening! I couldn’t be more excited for this new journey in my life.

This past week, I saw a PA (physician’s assistant) and dietician, as well as attended the informational (and mandatory) bariatric seminar, lead by my surgeon. I was told by the PA that I am an excellent candidate for this surgery, based on my build and weight. He told me I will have success in my weight loss journey after the surgery. What words could be better than those? He told me that we could schedule my surgery around the end of July or early August, which blows my mind!

When I spoke to my dietician, she had nothing but positive words as well. She told me some things I need to stop drinking, such as sparkling water. I’ll miss it, but I’ll definitely get over it. We talked about pre-op and post-op diet, and I got some samples of protein drinks, since I’ll be drinking those for a month after the surgery.

The informational seminar was just that – informational. My surgeon talked for an hour about what the surgery does and what it will do for me. He spoke numbers, like percentages about mortality rates, which are very low. Below 1%. The seminar made me want the surgery even more.

Next appointment is July 17, and I believe it’s my pre-op date for all the testing. I should most likely get my surgery date then, hopefully. I see my dietician again two days after that, then we’re in the final stretch! It’s getting closer and closer to surgery day!

I’ve been exercising a lot and making sure to close my rings on my Apple Watch. The three rings consist of moving, exercising for 30 minutes, and standing at least 12 times a day for at least a minute to get rid of the sedentary lifestyle. I’ve been competing with other people and even though they’re kicking my butt, it’s still fun, friendly competition.

I still haven’t lost any weight. My weight is still fluctuating between 250 and 245. I can’t seem to get below 245. I’m currently 249.

Part III will be next month after my appointments and I’m constantly updating on my new Facebook page! www.facebook.com/aliveewriter

My Weight Loss Journey, part I

I mentioned last month that I was approved for weight loss surgery. Up until today, I was waiting to get psychiatric clearance. I got that clearance today so I will officially be having the surgery!

I promise this is not taking the “easy way out.” Just because people have this surgery doesn’t mean that it’s easy, so if you believe that, please keep reading this series. I’m going to continue to blog my experience during my weight loss journey. I’ve tried for years to lose weight, and nothing has worked because I give up so easily after not losing weight as fast as I want. I also feel as if my stomach is simply too big so I continue to eat until I’m full or sometimes even past full if it’s something I love eating.

So for almost 4 months, I’ve been exercising almost everyday. I even took up hiking, which I’m loving by the way. I got an Apple Watch so I can keep up with my workouts. I’ve been eating right, but with cheat days here and there. I even bought a basketball to get more cardio by playing a game with my niece and nephew.

People, when I say all that, I’m doing all that I can until my back pain gets too unbearable. It’s still not working. Surgery was the last resort, and I’m there now. Every single professional I have talked to about having weight loss surgery has said it’s a great idea for me and that’ll help me so much.

With all that being said, I’m going to continue to keep everyone updated on my weight loss journey. This is going to be difficult, because I hate disclosing my weight, but I’m going to do it. I’m going to conquer a fear, because that’s what my year has been about. Conquering fears and being happy. It’s been a great six months and I can’t wait for the next six. Here’s to getting healthy and happy!

Starting weight: 252 lbs.

Current weight: 246 lbs.