"Though no one can go back and make a brand new start,
anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending." ~ Anonymous

Friday, February 28, 2014

Weigh-In ... February is Done

Today's Weight:  167.0
Loss/Gain: + 1.0 lb

I'm going to be completely honest... I woke up bloated and with menstrual cramps, having just begun my cycle yesterday, so I knew the scale wouldn't be pretty.  It was up a pound from yesterday and I think that is all water settled in my middle.  Kidding.  Sort of.  Ugh.

In all truth my self preserving, selfish, toddler side wanted to put 166 down as the official weight because I've hovered between that and 164 this month and that's what I weighed yesterday.  But as I brushed my teeth I reminded myself that I've never put down a weight on my blog that wasn't true to the day I wrote it and I will not start doing that now.  

February has been an interesting month for me.  At the beginning of the month I was only 11 days post abdominoplasty surgery wherein the loose skin (and some flab) in my abdomen was removed and I was barely getting up to use the restroom and take little walks around my house.  Now I am bathing by myself, cooking and cleaning pretty much like normal and even getting in some walking and jogging for exercise.  

Along with going down the road to recovery from surgery I've had to take a few emotional breaks to begin working through the death of my mother, which occurred two days after my surgery.  We made the trip to Arizona for her memorial service and while it was a good type of closure for me it wasn't until we got home that the reality of my loss really hit.  

My mother was the closest person in my life, second only to my husband.  While we haven't lived near each other for the last ten years we were in constant communication via email and cell phones.  The grieving is easier most days now, but this past 12-18 hours has had me missing my mom pretty badly.  I think menstrual-related hormones intensify things, but I also know that the realization that she is not coming back from some long vacation hits me at various times.  I'm told her loss will not necessarily get easier, but easier to bear.  

So, this month hasn't exactly been the easier, nor best one for me.  I've noticed how my eating habits have been effected by some of the circumstances I've been dealing with and that has been very interesting to me.  I've also been reminded of a few things as I wrap up this month ...

  • I can not go back and change anything that did or did not happen in February 2014.  
  • If it seems I am not one who eats "perfectly" when going through recovery or loss I can not let that beat me up emotionally.  I am Leah of My New Ending.  I am not ____ of ______ blog.
  • As my motto quote above states, I can not go back and change anything, but I can start again today to work on a better future. 
  • I will keep my weight down.  There has been some overeating this past month which almost made me feel like I was going back to my old ways, but I caught myself and said no.  I will never give up and go back to that lifestyle.  
  • I will get back into better physical condition...when I am completely healed.  (I have internal stitching that has to heal before I'm allowed any intense exercise). Some days just cleaning the house and running an errand or two is enough to cause swelling in my abdomen and I know I still have to take things easy.
Most importantly this month I am reminded ...

  • I have a great group of friends and relatives who are supportive and care about me and my family.  I am truly blessed.
  • I have a wonderful savior and Lord who continues to prove daily that He is a "present help in times of trouble". 
Life happens and things don't always turn out the way we think they will.  But there is a God in heaven who knows all things even before they happen and promises there is a greater plan for us than we can ever dream up.  

February has been a learning month, but it is done and as I turn the page on my calendar tomorrow and see a fresh new month waiting I will look forward to another chance to make better choices and continue in my new ending of healthier, happier living.  

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

One Month Post Op & Two Confessions

It has been (just over)one month since my abdominoplasty and I'm pleased to say everything is healing just as it should.  In fact, I have begun some regular exercise.  For now I am mostly walking, but I have gotten two small runs in as well.  

The first walks I had to concentrate on making sure I was walking with with good posture.  My first run was 1 mile and it went very slowly.  I finished it in 14 minutes 26 seconds, which is very humbling.  However, I didn't "kill" myself doing it and walked another mile and a half afterwards.  

Today I ran two miles straight on the treadmill and finished in 25 minutes.  That is a much better "slow" time for me.  I started and finished with 5-minute walks, so I could work my way up and down from my run.  This time made me push it a little, but I really kept concentrating on just completing two miles.  

I have to admit that my eating has been off for a while.  I've not been the good example when it comes to my diet lately.  It's another post for another day, but I seriously thinking regular exercise has been key in helping me to stay focused on my eating being better.  I've heard it many times, but it's strange to watch it actually happen.  

I also have to admit that I've been vexed with how large my thighs seem to look.  People have asked me if having the skin removed from my abdomen has made me drop clothing sizes and it has not.  I carried/carry a lot of my weight in my stomach, hips, thighs and buttocks, so losing my stomach has only made that part of my clothing fit better.  

However ... having seen how toned running made me last summer I now know what it is like to experience loss of muscle tone, and subsequent spreading of the thighs, when one lays off of regular exercise.  Again, another post for another time, but this has been a first for me.  I've not yet experienced a situation in my weight loss journey where I lost fitness or muscle tone to the extent I could feel it in my clothing.  Until now.  I now have one or two things that are snug in my thighs in ways I know gaining five pounds shouldn't cause (I mean I can kind of hope those five are spread between my thighs...maybe??).  

Worrying about my thighs sounds very vain and I'm sorry.  One thing I'm really trying not to be with all this change in my body is become a vain or superficial woman.  It's just the facts and I've noticed it.  I think my crappy eating is affecting my outlook on things at times.  

My hope in all of this is that I knew having this surgery would set me back a little and I know that things will get better as I'm able to do more.  After my two-mile run today did not kill my lungs or heart or legs I was encouraged that I have not lost all my fitness.  And every time I look in the mirror and see my flatter tummy I smile.  I worked hard to lose the weight and I will continue to work hard to maintain a healthier me. 

This journey has and always will be about pressing forward in my new ending in life.  So, I will continue to do just that.  

Thanks for stopping by!  

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Reminder: Don't Quit

This past Sunday a visiting minister spoke about not allowing past failures to stop you from pressing forward in your life.  He made a point that failures are necessary in life and we need to learn from them and not allow them to derail us from ever trying to succeed.  

My thoughts wandered to my weight loss journey and afterwards my husband agreed that the past five years of my life have been a perfect example of succeeding despite prior failed attempts at weight loss.  

When I started on my "umpteenth" attempt at weight loss in May 2009 I was so scared of failing I didn't even tell more than two people I was trying to lose weight again.  Out of sheer desperation I took a couple baby steps towards eating less and moving more and in four years I lost approximately 65 pounds.  I managed to keep that off and even lose another five pounds last year.

As I am healing from my abdominoplasty I'm reminded that I need to keep pressing on in my weight loss/healthiness journey.  The first couple weeks postop I saw a drop on the scale, but now that number has crept back up.  There's a familiar feeling of "oh geez...can't I get it together??" that threatens to depress me, but then I remember I will bounce back.  I have done this before and I refuse to ever go back to being overweight.

My journey has always been more of a slow-and-steady-wins-the-race type of journey.  No quick fixes or extreme weight loss tactics here.  I simply get back to what I know is best for me and I'm able to keep my weight in check.

I try to learn from my failures, or shortcomings, and keep going.  

The minister finished his sermon by sharing this poem.  I'd heard it before and I thought it was a great reminder, so I want to share it with you. 

Don't Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and its turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When they might have won, had they stuck it out.
Don't give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than, 
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor's cup;
And he learned too late when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit,
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit!

 - Author Unknown

Thanks for stoping by!  If you're doing great - Awesome! *high five*  If you're finding yourself in need of some healthy encouragement to stay on track - I'm with you.  *hugs*

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

4 Weeks Post Op

Yesterday was four days since my abdominoplasty.  Last Friday was my follow up appointment with the doctor and he said ... 

  • The incision is healing nicely.
  • I don't sound like I have any abnormal swelling.
  • I am released to do cardio exercise such as walking, light jogging, elliptical, moderate swimming and the recumbent bikes.  
  • I can do light upper body weights. 
  • NO core exercises or anything that requires core stabilization ( i.e.  squats, overhead weight lifts) for two more months. 
  • Swelling after a busy day or hard workout will be normal for the next year, so I don't have to worry.
  • He advised taking NSAIDS (Alleve, Ibuprofin, Motrin) for five days whether or not I think I need it to help with the swelling I do have; and suggested doing this when I feel like I'm beginning to swell more than a day or two in a row.  
  • I can sleep without pillows under my knees if I'm comfortable.  He said it may hurt to lie more flat, but I will not injure any of the work done.  
My next appointment with him is in two months. 

I thought everything looked like it was healing nicely, so it was good to hear him say it was.  The swelling I do experience is always worse by the end of the day but goes down nicely after a good nights rest, so I was especially glad to hear that was normal and that I do not require any draining. 

I only had a few stitches that did not absorb and they were trimmed up nicely when needed.  He reminded me that my stitches that tightened up my abdominal muscles are still healing, so it's very normal I have pain with coughing, laughing, crying or sneezing.  He said that is also why I am not to do any core work.  "We don't want you to bust any of those stitches."  Um, no we don't.  I asked him if he would please write down "NO BURPEES ALLOWED" for me .... *giggle*  Those are definitely not allowed right now.  (Yes, I'm doing a little happy dance about that.)

He asked if I had any other concerns and I said I was only looking forward to when I don't have constant aching and/or pain in my abdomen.  I know it's mostly from stretching back out, but it can be a vex.  Or, like when I'm turning over in bed and I'm reminded that I am still healing.  Yikes.   He reassured me I'm still in the very early stages of healing and to just take it easy. 

My husband and family have still be awesome in helping me do just that.  Today is the first day in four weeks that I cooked some dinner.  Yesterday my husband went with me for a walk and it was nice to have his company.  I am still walking slow, making sure I have proper upright posture, but it feels good to be moving again.  

Slowly but surely I'm healing and I'm very grateful everything is going well concerning my surgery.  

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Traveling, Healing and (not)Blogging

Hi!  I wanted to stop in to say that I was gone last Thursday through Monday for my mother's memorial service and then my kids and husband had two snow days, so I've been busy and surrounded by people lately...which has lead to no blogging. 

I have many thoughts to post and I will get to those eventually.  Please know for now that my trip to Arizona went well.  It was very emotional at times, but it was good to my dad and other family and friends we haven't seen in a few years.  My body did fine with the traveling, post surgery, even though I did not take things as easily as I probably should have. 

Tomorrow is another followup visit (postponed due to the "inclement weather" recently) and we'll see what the doc has to say.  I have a couple questions for him, like why is my skin so sensitive to touch, so we'll see what he has to say about that. 

My incisions are healing nicely and I think I am walking upright most of the time.  I definitely still need to stay off my my feet a lot or I really feel it at the end of the day.  I feel like I'm right on target for what is expected post abdominoplasty, including beginning to tire of feeling stretched and achy in my abdomen.   Sneezing, coughing, laughing and crying still bring pain, but I think it's the abdomen muscle repair that hurts.  I keep thinking how glad I will be when I can move around like normal again.  Again, I read these feelings were to be expected, so I try and smile through them knowing I'll be back to normal in due time.

As my incision turn into scars and the swelling goes down it's becoming very noticeable that this surgery was worth it to me.  Pardon the TMI, but I'm so tickled to be able to wear hipster underwear and it not roll down under my belly.  Woot!

Today I drove for the first time and it seemed to go just fine.  My doctor said I could drive when I felt I could react as needed.  I'm just praying I don't have to react too much, because I have to drive myself to the doctor tomorrow as my driving friend is busy then.  

I must say that my clothes only fit a little nicer without the extra belly, but not really any looser just yet.  I think this is because the lack of exercise has caused my thighs, bottom and hip areas to spread a little, losing the muscle tone I had accrued through running and regular intense exercise.  I comfort myself in knowing I will get back to exercise soon enough.  :)

I guess that pretty much sums things up for now.  Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, February 3, 2014

A Little Tummy Achiness

I think I'm beginning to feel a bit antsy lately.  I want to get to walking or moving around and I still seem to have a hard time standing up straight.  I still feel pulling around my middle when I try and stand straight, so I slouch a little.  Standing slightly slouched causes my back to hurt and then I'm worn out pretty quick.  *sigh*

On Thursday we are flying out to Arizona for my mom's memorial service and I think knowing I need to travel is stressing me out a little now.  I hate to admit something like that, but I'm not feeling "a-okay" or really even really close to that and it bothers me.

We knew the plan would be for me to probably need to use the wheelchair in the airport for walking, but going out for a little each day and seeing I can't walk quickly or for very long is vexing me a little.  

I remember reading an abdominoplasty patient will hit a day when they'll feel like recovery is taking forever and wondering if things will ever get back to normal.  Well, this weekend was kind of like that for me. I just keep reminding myself that this definitely is worth it.  

Again, like I said, I think it's the fact that I have to travel that's kind of stressing me out.  I didn't plan to have to do anything extra for four to six weeks and then my mom's passing kind of changed up the plan a little.

My husband and most everyone we're going to see on our trip are aware of my surgery, so they know I won't be the same old Leah.  I know I won't be expected to act like my normal self.  I just need to keep reminding myself of that.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Weigh-In ... Two-Week Post Op Pics

Well, I hesitated weighing myself after the surgery, but I definitely weighed myself before.  I had read plenty about this type of surgery not really causing much of a loss and even many times a bit of a gain from all the swelling, so I hesitated to weigh before now.

Saturday I decided to go ahead and weigh myself and just face the facts...no matter how scary it is.  Facing the scale is not always fun, but it's always good for me and I know it's what keeps me in line.  Hiding from the scale won't change the truth.  

So, my son brought my scale downstairs and I weighed first thing in the morning and was greatly surprised to see..

Current Weight:  161.0
Loss/Gain:  -5.5 lbs 

Yes, 161.0.  I weighed myself three times to be sure.  :)  

I'll write a little more another day about why I'm surprised, but kind of not surprised.  For now...I'll share some pictures I took Saturday -- exactly two weeks from the "before" pictures.  

I do have my binder on in these pictures, but I pretty much look the same without it.  Seeing these pictures really makes me realize what that extra bulge around my belly did (or didn't do) for my figure.  This is also an outfit I would not have worn before without a jacket or sweater due to the belly bulge.  

Anyway...here are the pictures.  Left is before, right is after.  Enjoy! And thanks for checking in.  

P.S.  You'll notice I'm still slouching a bit.  That's actually as straight as I can stand right now.  I'm almost completely upright, but not quite.  Soon...  :)