One snail

One snail

Monday, December 31, 2012

The Wisdom of a Sloth

I was reading a blog post from Athena Banded Warrior (Blustery Sunday), and it got me thinking about sloths.  The animals, that is.  I think sloths get a bad rap.  Sometimes we use the word "sloth" to mean "lazy" or "slovenly."  "Lazy" means disinclined to activity, while "slovenly" means untidy or slipshod.  And yes, we use the word "sloth" for apathy and inactivity.

However, I don't think it's all bad to be like a sloth (the animal).  In my opinion, here is some of the wisdom of sloths:

  1. Sloths are in fact slow-moving.  They are apparently one of the slowest-moving animals in the world. They remind me of snails!  Sometimes we race ahead of ourselves.  Sloths remind us that the best way can be slow and deliberate. 
  2. Sloths live in a beautiful environment. They are found only in the rainforests of South and Central America.  I would love to visit there--barring that, I could do more to make my own space a beautiful environment.
  3. Sloths hang from trees.  Now, I don't want to sleep hanging from a tree for 18 hours at a time like a sloth can, but I remember climbing trees as a kid, and sitting under trees.  I want to take more time to appreciate the wisdom of trees.
  4. Sloths are for the most part vegetarian--they eat leaves, twigs, and fruit.  They eat very slowly.  I am vegetarian (by choice), but need to work on eating more slowly.  Eating like a sloth.
  5. Sloths, despite living in trees, are surprisingly good swimmers.  Wouldn't have thought that was a good combo, but I shouldn't judge a book by its cover (or a sloth by its body shape).  When do I make assumptions about someone because of their body shape?  When do others do the same to me?

I'm sure that is more than you wanted to hear about sloths (although I didn't tell you the female sloths give birth to their babies hanging upside down!), but I think I'm going to keep a picture of a sloth around for a while.  I hope it reminds me to slow down, consider my options, and live more planfully in 2013.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

50 - 50 = ?

What would you say if I told you I reached fifty going up, and fifty going down?  No, it's not a math problem, it's what happened to me yesterday!

It was my birthday, and I turned

 ...and I reached 50 pounds lost!

Yes, that's what I said, I am now
and I've lost

It was the strangest thing, but also a sweet way to enter my 50's.  Although I didn't specifically plan to have weight loss surgery before I turned 50, it was a nice goal to shoot for.  It didn't even occur to me that I could lose 50 pounds in that amount of time (since August 28)!

I'm so excited that I'm going to have to put in some more "50s" here, but feel free to scroll down if you want. :-)

Oh, and guess who else turned 50?

I remember Clifford the Big Red Dog from my childhood--he's probably part of why I wanted to be a dog when I grew up!

Enough excitement for today. :-)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

My new friend, the blender

Here is my new buddy, my Vitamix blender.  (By the way, the blender itself is 5+ years old and not as new-looking as the one in the photo.) I am one week out from my surgery, and the first few days home my diet consisted of:  Siggi's yogurt (like Greek, but "Icelandic" style), applesauce, and chocolate pudding (in order to get down my incredibly bitter and horrible crushed medications).  Just barely bites of each, and sips of water between.  And a very small amount of Big Train Fit Frappe protein drink. Yikes!  This part is harder than I thought it would be...I really need to make a chart for water, food, protein shakes, vitamins, and medications.

After a phone consult with my nutritionist yesterday, I got brave enough to try blending up low-fat cottage cheese.  (As a vegetarian, that was one of my primary protein sources pre-surgery.)  She suggested putting some tomato soup in it, but I didn't have any--however I noticed a jar of portobello pasta sauce (low-fat, low-sugar) so put some of that in.  It was actually good!  After blending it, I heated it briefly in the microwave.  I could only eat about 1/8 of a cup, but it was yummy.  Today, I extended my blender experiments by blending up a can of Vegetarian 99% fat-free chili.  I took a careful bite (it was spicier than the cottage cheese mix), but it went down fine.  You have to not look at it too much, but having something hot to eat kinda cancelled that part out. :-)

I'm up to 392 calories and 35 grams of protein today.  Still a ways to go, but significantly better than my first few days back from the hospital.  I'm also down 8 pounds!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I woke up to flags at half-mast...

Things feel kinda surreal to me right now.  I checked in for my surgery here in Seattle at 6 am on Friday December 14. All went well (other than nausea from the anesthesia) and I was in my hospital room by late afternoon.  I looked out my window, and saw the flags at half-mast.  I was on some serious pain medication, so vaguely wondered what had happened--assuming someone might have lost their life in combat--but didn't ask anyone.  I wasn't interested in TV, so didn't hear any news reports.  I didn't have my laptop or iPad with me either, which is how I usually learn national and international news.

The next day, my family was visiting, and my dad said there was some bad news.  I thought he was going to tell me about a problem that had happened with my jeep.  My mom said, "She doesn't need to know about that right now," but I said, "No, tell me."  And he told me about the tragic shooting and death of the school children and teachers in Connecticut.

Although I am not a parent, I worked as a child & family therapist for many years before coming to teach at my community college.  This senseless loss of life, especially such young lives, was overwhelming.

But, despite what happened, my focus remained on healing.  On myself.  On my pain, on getting up to sit in a chair, on walking in the halls, on trying to eat and drink.  Was this wrong?  I don't think so.  But I still feel surreal.

There is no way I can do justice to this horrific event.  I would ask you to read some posts from my fellow bloggers, who describe what I would have said much better than me.  Fit and Free with Emily's post Standing in Light is one I suggest.  Another is Chubby McGee's An Update is in Order, in the highlighted part where she reminds us, "Focus on acceptance, love, and compassion every, single day for the rest of your life."

Thanks for listening.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Home from surgery!

I am home from the University of Washington hospital where I had my gastric bypass.  I stayed 2 nights, then stayed with my parents for a night (no stairs), and am finally back in my own bed with my partner and our dog and cat. :-)

I stayed pretty up-beat the whole time (I think) and wanted to get up and walk even before they let me!  My wonderful partner and my mom & dad visited a lot, and I had text messages from friends and co-workers, so I barely had time to be lonely.

The staff seemed impressed by how much I did for myself right away.  I think I was actually helped by the fact that I've had to accommodate my life for some time to the arthritis in my left hip--I was already used to getting up and down certain ways, and walking even with pain.  And since the worst surgery pain is on the left side, I didn't need much PT or OT to get ready to be functional while healing.

I will say the worst pain was actually the incredible gas pains in my lower abdomen. :-(  That and having to eat very bitter crushed pills (that I've been swallowing for years...who knew they were so yucky!) in something.  I went through yogurt, applesauce, cream of wheat, and finally had a winner with chocolate pudding.

I am not eating much yet, but trying hard on my water, and walking the halls whenever I can.

More later--just wanted everyone to know I am still here! :-)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

surgery is TOMORROW

Well, if I were a race car, I'd be sitting on the track, idling my motor, waiting for the green light to start the race.  I check in at the hospital at 6 am tomorrow, a little more than 12 hours from now.  As I've said, I will be having laparoscopic gastric bypass (RNY).  They plan for me to be in the hospital Friday & Saturday, going home on Sunday if all is well.

I picked my parents up from the airport today (they've been in Arizona, but have their house here in town, where they will stay--so no house guests here) and have done as much prep as I can.  I have had 2 days of showers with the "special soap," which is very weird.  It is clear liquid and doesn't lather, and has an odd odor, but, whatever will help me avoid infection, I'll do it.  I'm finishing up a load of laundry with my comfy sweats that I will wear to the hospital.

By the way, I've lost an even 40 pounds since I started pursuing this surgery on August 28th. :-)

I'll check back when I'm back home!

Monday, December 10, 2012

I won!

I am so excited, because I won a canister of Mocha Fit Frappe in the giveaway from Big Train!  The entry info is on their facebook page here:  Big Train facebook.  I just blogged about the new flavor (Spiced Chai) and am glad to have more choices for my protein drinking pleasure. :-)

On another note, I went out tonight for a planned "last meal."  Just this one--I haven't been doing it all month or anything.  Skip if you don't want to hear it, but I had portobello ravioli in a cream sauce, salad, breadstick, and a decadent chocolate-cheesecake-mousse slice.  I'm not going to look up the calories, but I enjoyed every bite.  These are things I don't expect to have more than a bite of in the future (especially the dessert).  Most other things I like I know I can eventually incorporate small amounts and/or WLS-friendly versions, so that was really all I wanted.

My surgery date is in sight--just 3 days until Friday.  My mind is full of things I need to do to be ready, to be sure my partner and "kids" (pets) have everything they need for a little while, to try to anticipate anything I might need to address at school during the winter break.  I know I'll never think of everything!  However I know everyone will cope without me for a little while (hard to believe, but it's true!).

I feel like I'm counting down to a rocket lift-off!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

New Celebrate Vitamins give-a-way!

Just wanted to let you know (if you don't already) that Shelly at The World According to Eggface is having a terrific contest to win a basket of Celebrate vitamins!  Here's my favorite:  Celebrate multi-vitamin Pineapple-strawberry.  If you haven't tried these chewables, meant for us with bariatric surgery, you should.  It has made it so easy for me to get going on a vitamin regime that I can continue post-surgery and for the rest of my life.  Check it out!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ten Things Thursday

Here are my 10 things in no particular order...

1. Monday is payday.  We're going to squeeeeek by.  First on the list: healthy groceries and gas. (The kind that goes in my jeep...not the kind you get from the healthy groceries.)

2. I am sitting here NOT drinking water.  NOT drinking water.  NOT...well you get the idea.  I just finished eating and am practicing not drinking and eating together.  You know the one about the pink elephant in the living room?

3. There are 20 more minutes until I can drink.  That's why I'm writing this blog post.

4. I am on the 3rd week of my 1000 calorie diet pre-surgery.  I'm worried that I'm not losing much weight.  I think I am counting carefully, but maybe not?  I wonder if I should push it down to 900 calories for the last week?  Having my pre-anesthesia visit at the clinic tomorrow and will ask if I am doing something wrong.  Maybe I'm not dropping a ton because I already lost 37 pounds? Sigh.

5. Tomorrow is the last day of the regular quarter before final exams.  In addition to the stress of that, everyone is having end-of-the-term parties, and they drop off all their leftovers in the staff room.  Today:  doughnuts, cake, muffins (frosted), candy bars, soda, pizza, Hershey's kisses with macadamia nuts (from Hawaii), and a pretzel snack mix.

6. I did not eat anything from the staff room.  Only went in there to fill up my water bottle. :-)

7. I am so trying not to get sick!  I need to be healthy for surgery.  Luckily some staff know this, and one of my co-workers stood in the hall outside my office to talk to me because she was sick.  Very sweet!  However, my students don't know and are dragging themselves to class for the last week, some exuding germs wherever they go.  I have some of that alcohol-based hand cleanser in my office.  Not sure if it will help, but I am making good use of it.

8. The Walking Dead is over until February.  Boo!  However, American Horror Story is still on.  VERY creepy episode last night.

9. I want to get a couple strings of lights up on the deck.  However, the weather needs to cooperate--I refuse to put up electric light sets and extension cords when it is pouring down rain.  Silly of me, I know.

10. Last night was monumental in Washington State:  legalization of recreational marijuana, and marriage equality.  It was fun to see the pictures of couples being able to get their marriage licenses now...there were two older women who had been together for 35 years.  :-)

Well, that's it.  I am going off to drink some water now.  Thanks for distracting me!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Big Train Fit Frappe Spiced Chai ...yum!

I had already settled on Big Train's Fit Frappes as my protein drink of choice.  I'm not good about drinking gross's a failing of mine.  I would never be able to consume just veggies squished through a juicer.  Another positive for Big Train is it actually dissolves and doesn't leave any weird bits or strange textures.  I know a lot of people like Click, but somehow I always end up with some slightly chewy bits.

Unfortunately Big Train is expensive.  (I asked for it for Christmas. Hope I don't end up with a train set.)  But it's good.  My favorite to date is Vanilla is Espresso.  They do have plain vanilla and plain chocolate if you don't like coffee.  (Is that possible?  I live in Seattle.)

Just when I was happy, grooving along with my flavors, they put out another one:  Spiced Chai Latte.  Now, I'm not even a huge fan of chai tea, but this stuff is fantastic.  I brought two scoops in a baggie to work, and only ended up using half of it.  When I came back to work today, my whole office smelled deliciously spicy.  Wow!  I might just keep a dish of it around for aromatherapy.

It's quite possible I'm trying to distract myself from my surgery next week.  But if you have a chance try this stuff out.  Or at least sniff the canister. :-)

Oh, here's the link.  Big Train

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Two weeks to go...

In two weeks, I will be in the hospital recovering from gastric bypass.  It's coming too quickly and too slowly simultaneously.  I spent so much energy getting to this place--jumping through insurance hoops, losing the first 17 pounds to qualify, doing my required phone consults with the nutritionist, exercising, exercising, exercising (did I mention exercising?)--that to actually BE in this place is like suddenly putting on the brakes.  Everything seems to have slowed down to molasses.

On the other hand, it is finally hitting me about the ultimate seriousness of this step. I will actually be doing this very soon.  Is it normal to be a little trepidatious at this point?  Instead of using my energy to push for the date, my energy is now racing around in my head.  Then it seems like this is happening fast!  (And it is--I started getting ready for this on August 28, so that makes the process start-to-finish only three and a half months.)

Also I am thinking of more questions than I had before.  Such as, can I drink a protein drink, and drink water?  Makes sense that you could because it's MADE with water, but I am trying hard to practice not drinking water (or anything) with meals.  (WAY harder than I thought, by the way.)  So is a protein drink a meal or a snack?

How about this one:  Can I take my iron pill with a protein drink?  I've been taking it with a protein bar that I don't think will work after surgery (at least for a while), and being vegetarian, I depend on a lot of dairy protein.  I usually take the iron in the morning with breakfast, but obviously can't take it with dairy like yogurt or cottage cheese.  I am writing all these questions down.

Then there's finishing up the quarter at school.  The regular quarter ends next Friday (December 7), and final exams run the following week (ending on December 14).  Grades aren't due until December 18--but obviously I will need to turn them in well before that!  Luckily I only have one regular final to give on December 10 (the rest of my classes this term are online) and a few meetings on December 11.  My usual routine is to tell myself I'll get caught up, and be done with grading early, and then be rushing to submit them on the last day, and that is definitely not going to work.

All this being said, I have a lot of positive energy and plans for the next two weeks.  I am stocking up with broth, protein powder, yogurt, cream of wheat, etc. for the first weeks after surgery.  I am actually keeping up on grading, and when writing my syllabi this fall, set due dates for term papers December 6 & 7 instead of the following week.  (I did this well before I even knew if I could do this--positive thinking!)  I am reading blog posts and re-reading some of the books and materials I have.  I am planning out some of the logistics for the whole hospital thing.  Also I am hanging out with my support people (especially my amazing partner) and my "support pets" (recently had my face thoroughly washed by my dog after I got off the treadmill).

But still...AAAAAAAAH!  :-)

Monday, November 26, 2012

A rebus puzzle



Translation: TWO plus TERn plus VILLE = TWOTERVILLE!  Yes, just got there today. :-)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Surgery Date: December 14!


I have a surgery date for my gastric bypass!  Well, I am "penciled in" until the official approval from my insurance, but have been talking to my case manager and she's all but said it will get the green light. :-)  There was a difficult moment when the scheduler called and said they were full up for December and I'd have to wait for January, and I will admit, I burst into tears. :-(  I've written before how I teach at college, and waiting until January would really mess up my Winter quarter classes. I have three weeks off for winter break  and had been hoping and hoping I could do it then. I asked if there was any way she could talk to the surgeon, and she agreed, although told it me it probably wouldn't help.  (It's not just him, it's having a bed available and the other staff, etc.)  After a couple nail-biting hours, she called back with the good news!  She says this hardly ever happens...just another confirmation that the universe is conspiring for me in getting this done.  She says it's a New Years present, and I agree.  How wonderful to be able to enter 2013 on this path to improved health.  I also turn 50 on December 26th--another milestone.

We have very low-key plans for tomorrow--we're vegetarian, so I'm cooking a Tofurkey--but that's all for the best, since I'm just in time to start my 3 weeks of very-low-calorie diet pre-surgery (1000 calories/day).  Luckily it doesn't need to be liquid or any special thing except just keeping the calories in range and the protein at least 60 grams.

Best wishes for the holiday weekend, and happy thanksgiving to all who celebrate it!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Surgeon approval!

Just waiting now for the final insurance approval, which since I've done everything else they wanted, should be a fairly easy process (fingers crossed!).  I really might be able to get a December surgery date, which has been my goal all along (fingers AND toes crossed!).

In the meantime, I've lost a few more pounds, bringing me to a 32-pound loss. :-)  I'm only 4 pounds from "twoterville" (think that's the right term, lol)!  I've been keeping up on the old treadmill also, even though this colder weather has meant more pain in my joints.  I am reminding myself that this time next year, I should be in much less pain!

I will admit to a minor "last meal" diversion of cheese pizza and chocolate lava crunch cakes...but totally planned, so I don't feel bad about it.

Anyway, much excitement here!

Friday, November 9, 2012

10 Things Thursday!

Technically, it's 12:30 am on Friday...but I haven't gone to bed yet, so I'm counting it as Thursday. :-)

  1. We have a holiday on Monday!  Woohoo...although I'll probably have to grade my students' discussion board posts and such.
  2. My brother's family live in New York, where it's snowing.  My parents are in Arizona, where it's 90 degrees.  I live in Seattle, and we had...wait for it...rain. 
  3. The cat doesn't like her new litter.  (Enough about that.)
  4. We have the ugliest pumpkin in the world on the porch!  It was too ugly to carve, so we get to enjoy it  for longer! (It looks kind of like the ones in the picture below.)
  5. I cooked a bag of frozen veggies, and had to pick the baby corn out of it.  I hate baby corn!  It seems unnatural.
  6. I get paid tomorrow!
  7. I didn't eat any left-over Halloween candy from the staff room.
  8. I am waiting for a call from my bariatric surgery center to schedule my "review" with the ARNP.  I was cleared by everyone as far as I know--so this should be the last hoop until I get a surgery date!
  9. Today I noticed that my underwear is loose. (Okay, T.M.I.)  I've lost more than 25 pounds, so guess that did it!
  10. I've kind of stopped reading my facebook page lately.  I'll bet people are posting notices about games on my wall.  Should I go look?  I actually have enjoyed the time away, and I didn't have to read political rants.  Can we hope that will fade now?
Welp, that's it!  Enjoy the weekend, whenever yours starts and however long it is! :-)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Liebster award!

Marc at Fat or Fit? Changing the Status Quo has nominated me for the Liebster Award.  I’ve never heard of the Liebster Award, but it is very flattering to be nominated for one!  I feel like I should have had a speech prepared!

The Rules- Once you're nominated, write 11 facts about yourself.
- Then, take a look at the 11 questions the person who nominated you asked and answer them.
- Get your thinking cap on and come up with 11 questions of your own for your nominees to answer
- Then choose the 5 bloggers you want to nominate (they must have less than 200 followers) & let them know they've been nominated (there are no tag backs - you can't nominate the person who nominated you).
- Complete this post and then link it to the person who nominated you (in the comments of their blog).

11 Facts about Myself:

  1. I have always lived fairly close to an ocean.  When I was growing up, my father worked for NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), so we lived in Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, and Washington State.
  2. When I was a kid I wanted to grow up to be a dog.  At my girl scouts’ “Come As You Wish You Were” day, I wore a black leotard with dog ears and a dog tail.  Dogs rule.
  3. I did school and community theater, and once played the girl in the melodrama who has ringlets and is tied to a buzz saw by the dastardly villain.
  4. I have friends who had a trading cards shop, and spent time there teaching children how to PLAY Pokémon.  Yes, it really is a game.   (I’ve been known to play other collectible card games also.)
  5. I once sold Longaberger baskets, and still own way too many of them.
  6. I love to read.  My house is stacked with books, and there are more in my storage unit.  I especially enjoy science fiction/fantasy and anything magical.
  7. I have played Farmville.  I admit it. Correction: I was previously obsessed with Farmville--I’ve kind of given it up lately in favor of reading blogs and blogging about weight loss and health.
  8. I have been vegetarian and/or vegan on and off during my life, right now for about 10 years straight.
  9. I teach at community college.  It’s my favorite job ever.  Once I taught a class with students from age 16 (a Running Start student) up to age 73 (taking the class with her daughter)!  It was a human growth & development class, which made it all the more interesting!
  10. I’m a licensed mental health counselor, and a child mental health specialist.  Imagine the poor social worker that had to interview me for surgery!  (Actually I behaved myself quite well.)
  11. I love dogs. And cats. And animals in general, including snails (see the name of my blog!).

11 Questions from Marc for me to answer:

  1. What do I absolutely love in life?  Being with my partner.  We’ve been together nearly 10 years, and have the same sense of humor.  We still laugh about jokes we started years ago.
  2. If there were no tomorrow, what would you do today?  Stay at home. Call my family.  Snuggle with my partner and our dog and cat.  
  3. What would I stand for if I knew no one would judge me?  This is a hard one.  I don’t usually care if people will judge me for my beliefs.  If I had more money and time, I would volunteer and donate to causes I believe in, like saving the environment and reducing bullying in schools, especially for GLBTQ youth.
  4. If my life had absolutely no limits and I could have it all and do whatever I wanted, what would I choose to have and what would I choose to do?  End all factory farming and using animals for food, and have the entire world be vegetarian.
  5. What would I do if I had one billion dollars?  Buy a beautiful house in the woods near the ocean and the mountains that runs on solar power. Buy an electric or hybrid car.  Travel, but always come home again.  Sponsor animal rescue facilities, and domestic violence shelters, and programs for runaways.
  6. Who do I admire most in the world?  People who have gone through hard times and still have a positive attitude.  People who give of themselves to others.  People who make use of their talents and training for good instead of evil.
  7. Are you putting any parts of your life on hold? Why?  Traveling and sightseeing.  It is difficult to travel with my weight--I don’t fit places and am not comfortable walking for long distances.  This is one of my goals as I lose.
  8. What traits in others do you admire the most?   Honesty. Empathy. Patience. Creativity.
  9. If you could be your favorite animal, what animal would you be and why?  Hmmm…a dog!  (See above.)  A smart, furry, cuddly one.  Dogs live in the present, love deeply, and are loyal to their families.
  10. What is your favorite pastime?  Using technology: Computer. iPad. Smart Phone. Second Life. Blogs. Facebook. Etc.
  11. Who are your mentors in life? (formal or informal)    I don’t have a specific mentor.  I believe we can learn something from everyone we come across in this world, if we are only open to it.

My 11 Questions:

  1. What careers did you consider before the one you are in currently?
  2. What were you most afraid of as a child?  What are you most afraid of now?
  3. What type of music do you enjoy?
  4. What is different about your life today that you never would have predicted 10 years ago?
  5. Do you watch any sports on TV?  Which ones?
  6. What was your most favorite vacation?
  7. Star Wars or Star Trek? 
  8. What is the last movie you saw in a theater?
  9. Do you wear a watch?  If you don’t, why not?
  10. What do you look forward to about the holidays?  What do you dread about the holidays?
  11. If you were the leader of your country (i.e. president, prime minister, etc.), what are the first changes you would make in the country’s policies?

My 5 Nominees Are:

  1. Tamzin at
  2. Vanessa at
  3. tz at
  4. Laura Belle at
  5. adorkbl at 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Nutrition consult: check!

I got cleared by the hospital nutritionist today!  Also she had my blood work, which she said was great...even my hematocrit which was a respectable 36.  Since the social worker cleared me yesterday, now I'm just waiting for a call to schedule the test review with the ARNP.  Apparently they can't schedule it until all involved have written their reports--doctor, social worker, nutritionist in this case.  Still on the fast track with fingers crossed for December...

I got tagged for a blog award!  I will work on it on Saturday and post it soon.  TGIF!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Social worker visit: check!

Checked another thing off my list to do before getting a surgery date--met with the hospital social worker.  She was really nice, and I think we got along great.  When she asked about some of my hobbies (i.e. for stress relief), I told her we liked to watch movies, and right now we are watching Wes Anderson's, and she knew them.  We discussed Fantastic Mr. Fox and The Royal Tenenbaums!  For those who are interested, he uses a specific color scheme for each of his films:

I also got my blood work done, ugh!  I have no veins (doesn't matter what size I am), and they always have to take it out of my hand, sometimes after poking me two or three times somewhere else first. However Anna (my phlebotomist) did it in one try!  (This is definitely something I am NOT looking forward to about surgery.)

Tomorrow afternoon I have my visit with the nutritionist. Hopefully she'll have the results of my blood work back by then and can go over the results in addition to reviewing my food and exercise diary.  Then, I should be able to get an appointment with the ARNP for the summary results meeting.  Woohoo!

Happy Halloween, everyone, and watch out for the ghosties!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

25 pounds 60 days!

This is Super Saturday for Super Snail!  As of today's weigh-in, I have lost 25 pounds in the past 60 days (since August 28th).  That's when I started losing to qualify for surgery. Woohoo!

Also, my NSV of the day (non-scale victory, I learned that from you other bloggers here) is that I put on a pair of jeans I haven't worn in a very long time...and they are the kind that zip!  For us larger ladies, this is a big deal, since most of the pants we can fit into have elastic waistbands.

On another note, my dog is driving me crazy.  I made some blueberry protein muffins, and she is standing in the kitchen whining because she wants one.  She looks at me, wags her tail (well, her stump), and looks up at the muffins.  Then repeats.  I am sure she is thinking, "You silly human!  Can't you understand what I want?"  She is unfortunately very cute, and I will probably give in eventually. :-)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Encouraging news...

Today's consult with my surgeon was very encouraging!  Dr. Wright is very nice--and a geek which goes a long way with me. :-)  We actually spent part of the time discussing computer-assisted therapy and using Second Life for mental health support.  Turns out he did some research on cognitive-behavioral methods of treatment at graduate school--and his father trained with Aaron Beck (a huge guru in the field who I just lectured about to one of my classes last week)!

So, needless to say, I was impressed with him...and I THINK he and the team were impressed with me.  (Hope that doesn't sound as egotistical as it did to write it...)  I was super-prepared, had watched their videos online and done a lot of my own research about bariatric surgery, and my physical showed no additional health concerns that they were worried about. He didn't need any extra tests or screenings.  In fact, at least at this point, here's all I have left to do to get to the final decision/scheduling point:

  • Blood tests (Oct 31 8:30 am)
  • Social worker meeting (Oct 31 9:00 am)
  • Nutritionist meeting (Nov 1 2:30 pm)
  • Go over test results with ARNP (will be scheduled after all of the above)
The client services specialist is also super nice, and after we all got a little excited with where I am in the process she was able to move up my nutrition consult a week!  Very cool team there, and I feel very comfortable with them.

So, a cautious celebration is in order!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Surgeon Consult Tomorrow!

I will meet my surgeon for the first evaluation tomorrow.  I got them to send me all the forms, dutifully filled out my medications, dieting history, health history, and a detailed report for the social worker.  I have reports from my orthopedic surgeon, and blood test results from my primary care doc.  I am as prepared as I can be!

More tomorrow...!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

First consult with surgeon scheduled

Here we go with another step: I got scheduled for my first consult with the surgeon!  It's next week on Thursday.  I was really lucky to get in so soon--they told me there must have been a cancellation--because usually he's 3 or 4 weeks out.  I'm taking this as a good sign. :-)

I also got set up for the social worker and nutritionist, one each in the following two weeks.  I live fairly close to the hospital (less than 30 minutes), and told them I would take the soonest appointments instead of waiting until I could get them all in one day.

I haven't lost anything much since my 20 pound mark, but re-started my iron, and that does cause a little, uh, "situation."  I would like to get down a few more pounds before seeing the doc, though, to show continued progress. I've also been walking on the treadmill every day until today, when I don't feel very well.  We have some people out at work, so hope I don't have it!  I need to prioritize getting my flu shot!

Have a good rest of the week, everyone, and stay well!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Super Snail Loses 20 Pounds

Special report...Saturday October 13...for immediate release

In a briefing today, Super Snail reported that 20 pounds have been lost.  This has been verified by independent fact-checkers using a research-based instrument:  the bathroom scale.  Snail also reported an alleged decrease in inches, although no specific measurements were provided.

Snail described a set of variables that led to this pound reduction, including proper eating behavior, increased fluid intake, and use of a treadmill.  Similar results have been reported by others in the past.  Further information is forthcoming.

End of report.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I made my weight goal (for the 5% loss)!!!  My nutritionist should be referring me to the UW Bariatric Surgery Center ASAP!

That's it...!!!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A Picture's Worth a 1000 Words...So How About 12?

I was reading some "back stories" on blogs I follow, and saw the directions for this picture posting.  I am sure others have done a variety of these, but I thought I'd try this one.  The directions say to type the answer to each question into a Google image search, and pick an image from the first page of results. So here goes:

1. Age at my next birthday:

2. Place I'd like to travel:

3. Favorite Place:

4. Favorite Object:

5. Favorite Food:

6. Favorite Animal:

7. Favorite Color:

8. City I was Born In:

9. City Where I Live:

10. My First Name:

11. First Job:

12. College Major:

Not sure if one of these pictures is worth a 1000 words, with then all 12 pictures being worth 12,000 words, but it was kind of fun, and if anyone reads this, you'll learn a little about me.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Almost to my first goal!

Well!  I have now lost 18 pounds by MY scale--but have to lose another 1 or 2 to make my 17 pound weight loss on my DOCTOR'S scale.  I actually went into their office yesterday to just check on their scale myself!  And yes, I need about a 2 pound "cush."

I hope hope hope I can be in a good position to get my official weight documented on Monday, so I can move on to the next phase:  a referral to my surgeon.  I know there'll be a lot of additional things I need to do, and I want to get going on them!  I'm still holding out hope that I might be able to have the surgery over the winter break, since that is the best for my teaching schedule, but I have no idea of their schedule at the University of Washington hospital (which is where I want to go).  My nutritionist has said it might be too short of a time period, as they tend to be quite thorough there.

I did have some coffee today (have really cut down), but plan on being super good this weekend!

Thought I'd share a vision board that I made last year when I was focusing on raw foods.  However, I think it still applies!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Snail creeps down another pound...

Well, finally another pound!  I've lost 15 total now, in about one month.  Still wish it was faster, but I'll take it!

On another note, the pain in my hip got so bad today that after grocery shopping I had a huge melt-down.  I couldn't walk on the treadmill, which made me even more frustrated. :-(  I am used to a certain amount of constant pain, but this went over my tolerance level.  Not much I can do except take pain pills (which I did) and stay steady with the weight loss & exercise.

I was looking for a picture on my computer today, and found this very cute photo of my dog during one of our infrequent snow storms, so will end with it, even though it's not winter yet!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Frustrating Week

Well, it's certainly been a snail's pace week for me.  I am frustrated because I am doing the same things I've done for the past few weeks, and even stepping up my exercise.  I lost 3 pounds last week, and so far the scale hasn't budged since Sunday. :-(

I am getting so close to the first hurdle (5% loss) that this slow-down is distressing.  I have to move at a faster pace (maybe like a super-energized snail!) if I want to try to get my chosen surgery center and the best timing for my teaching schedule.  I think I will try some calorie-controlled frozen meals (found some good vegetarian "lean cuisine" type ones) and try to make inroads into the protein shakes and powders I've collected.

I hope to see some movement soon!  Would love to be at my goal before my next phone consult with my nutritionist on Thursday next week.

Oh, and I've really cut down on coffee!  Go, me!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Another snail step with nutritionist

On Thursday I had my first "phone visit" with the nutritionist assigned to me by my insurance company's program.  The first thing I asked about was whether she was familiar with a vegetarian diet, as I had requested that with my payment.  She told me she's been vegetarian most of her life, and vegan for the last 22 years!  Wow!  She and I are both excited to be working together...seems a great match.

She took a medical history, asked what I was currently eating and whether I was exercising.  I explained my use of and told her I'd already lost 11 pounds of the 17 required.  She ended up saying there was really no reason to make any changes to my eating/exercising plan at this point--why fix something that was working?  We agreed I'd need more help in transitioning to a new eating plan after surgery.

We did talk further about vitamins.  She was happy to see me taking iron and D--was okay with the biotin, although the research isn't conclusive about its helpfulness with reducing hair loss.  She does want me to add B-12 and calcium when I am able to get them in without the "side effects" I have been having with the iron.

She did talk more about compliance with a multi-vitamin.  I told her I have a raw multi I take, but it has to be refrigerated and so is kind of inconvenient to carry with me or remember to take.  She gave a few suggestions (considering I'm vegetarian):  Opurity or Celebrate.  I am looking at both and will order one after Tuesday's payday.

The only really sad direction (which I am not TOO surprised about) is that I need to get totally off of coffee before surgery, and for at least a month after.  YIKES!  I've stopped drinking diet coke, but am really a coffee lover.  At least I have a fair amount of time to try to reduce it slowly, hopefully to avoid headaches.  It would also help if I can force myself to get enough sleep that I don't need it to get going in the morning!

(Yes, I like Starbucks...yes, I live in Seattle...yes, it's kind of a stereotype, but what can you do?)

It looks like I'm really racing along to my initial 5% loss goal!  She set an appointment with me for 2 weeks from now, but said to call her if I reach the goal before that time.  I won't let myself skip even one day of exercise (even though I walked on the treadmill at 1:30 am!) and only allow a little treat from time to time (i.e. I had one Starbucks cake pop yesterday).  Woohoo!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Recently I had my blood tested (see previous post) and Monday I had my appointment with my regular doctor.  She explained "iron saturation" to me--it's how much of the iron you have is actually "sticking" to the blood cells to get carried around to the various parts of your body.  (This is the non-medical description, lol.)  Mine was low, and she confirmed she wanted me to take iron supplements.  I've been taking one per day (due to some constipation).  She wants me to start on Benefiber so that I can get up to taking two per day.  Also apparently the calcium I need to take can cause the same problem!  Argh.  I'm continuing with the D and biotin, and adding B-12, and eventually the calcium if the Benefiber helps.  Anyone taking Benefiber or something similar?

Tomorrow is my big first phone consult with the nutritionist (required by my insurance).  I'm already 9 pounds down (verified on my doc's scale) and to be at my 5% loss, only need 18-20, so it feels like I must be doing something right!  However, more information is always good.  I printed out my food and exercise diaries from because I think I need to send them in (another insurance requirement).

I've been back at work for 4 days now, and have packed my lunch every day!  I'm using my bento box (see previous post).  Today I passed on the staff BBQ, and tomorrow I plan not to attend the union luncheon.  I know I need to learn to go to those types of events and make good choices, but right now I'm going to skip them.  I also turned down a lunch out opportunity (it helps that finances are so stretched also--another reason not to do that right now!).  

Need to go and get on the treadmill! :-)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ten Things Thursday

I've seen some of you doing this thing called "Ten Things Thursday" and thought I'd give it a try.  (I don't know who started it, so sorry I don't know who to credit for it!) (UPDATE: I learned that the credit for starting this goes to Laura Belle of Beer, Dogs, and Getting Healthier!)   Here goes...

1. I swept off my deck yesterday.  My arms are really remembering it today!  It needed to be done, though, and I have been putting it off for weeks.  I even worked out last night too!

2. I go back to work tomorrow.  I teach at community college, and it's the start of Faculty Return Week.  Yes, on a Friday.  No, I don't know why.  (Well, it's probably our union contract.)  I'm worried because I am newly on my eating plan (to lose 5%) and I haven't had to deal with the stresses and temptations at work yet!  That leads me to...

3. I got this totally cool bento box for bringing lunches in.  I had been longingly looking at Shelly's at The World According to Egg Face and broke down and bought one.  I'm excited to try packing it.  Here's a picture below.  You can find it at  bento box lunchbox lunches
4. It's sunny but cool here today.  Definitely fall in the Pacific Northwest!  Fall is my favorite season. :-)

5. My snails are back!  Guess they were laying low while we had higher temps here (without rain, go figure).  But they came out for some new lettuce leaves last night.  (See pictures of my snails here on my page.)

6. I'm going to plan something to go in my crockpot tomorrow morning, so it'll be ready when I get home from work.  I have to do this...I'm going to do this!

7. My organic farm box comes today!  I hope there are some good veggies in it.  Last week I got multi-colored carrots!

8. My dog jumped on me and repeatedly licked my face this morning until I got up.  She's a border collie/Australian shepherd and quite persistent!  Here she is:

9. I need to go through my work clothes (see #2 above).  I don't have a lot left from last year, so my co-workers and students will be seeing a lot of repeat outfits, lol.  However, I'm not going to buy anything new until I can buy a smaller size!  I'll make do with what I have...creative combinations, anyone?

10. Who should I tell about my (hopefully) upcoming weight loss surgery?  Should I tell my boss?  Should I wait until I have a set date?  How about my co-workers, especially my department team?  I know there are pluses and minuses to telling vs. not-telling.  I guess I'll play it by ear for now.

Well, look at that--I thought of 10 things!  Hope you enjoyed it.  I'm having fun reading other blogs and if you find me, you are welcome to return anytime!