The Ongoing Adventures of Naked Girl

The story of my quest to look good naked -- really good.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Next Step

Tomorrow I take the next step in preparing for WLS. I will be meeting with a dietician, psychologist, bariatric doctor and physical therapist. It's supposed to take four hours, and I'm not really sure what to expect. I have to be there at 7:50 AM to start the program at 8:00. I think once I'm done, I will check in with Barb and see what else I need to do since I know my next appointment (to review the results of my psych test) isn't until July 14. I just hope she is having luck with my insurance.

The last few days I have been trying to focus on when I feel hungry compared to not feeling hungry but wanting something to eat. That seems to be a main theme in several of the books I read. I'm also trying to determine when I feel full compared to feeling stuffed. I'm finding that in the afternoons, when I think I'm getting the munchies, a hard candy is satisfying me instead of a bag of chips. It's still going to be hard to make some of the modifications needed to be successful.

In a lot of ways, it still doesn't seem real. I guess until I actually have a surgery date will it seem like I've finally made the commitment to having this done. At this point, I still feel like I can walk away from this.

I have started working on 100 reasons why I want to do this. I've only listed about 50 so far, but I keep coming up with more, I just have to write them down. Once complied, I will post it. I also need to come up with a list of things I want to do or accomplish once I lose the weight -- things I don't want to do because of my weight, or things I think my weight is holding me back from doing.

On the home front, we got the curtains installed and the new stove was delivered. I'm especially happy about the stove. It's a ceramic flat top, so I don't have warped burners to deal with and it's digital meaning I don't have to guess on the oven temps. The curtains look great and will help in keeping the hot afternoon sun and glare out, keeping us cooler and our cooling bills down. Plus, they aren't PINK! I swear, whoever did the window treatments in our house must have had a passion for the 80s. The ones in the family room are maroon, teal and white. The hardware in the living room is gold plastic. Ugh. Slowly but surely we are getting these things updated and replaced. I know I can't afford to do it in one fell swoop, but I'm now about 30% done with the downstairs. I still have the family, living and dining room to do, but the sliding glass door, the kitchen and the laundry room are finished. I think the next step will be covering up the hideous wallpaper in the powder room and replacing the hardware (white plastic).

We did get the bird's nest removed from the venting last week. Animal Control also put a plastic mesh basket on the opening of the vent so we wouldn't get more freeloaders. On Friday morning when I stepped out on the deck I noticed one of the baby birds that was trapped inside the basket. The mother bird was hovering around, the chick was chirping up a storm -- it was heartbreaking (at least for a softy like me). AC came back out and released the bird. They took both babies with them since they weren't quite old enough to fly.

Off to finish my mid-year review which was actually due yesterday. I'm just not feeling inspired, but I want to send it before my boss gets back from his morning meetings.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

They Didn't Come With A Straight Jacket

The psych test on Thursday went well. There were 3 tests, the first two being very similiar. There was a question and you answered true or false. The third test asked a question like how important is something in your life and then asked how satisfied you were with that something. The first two tests had about 500 questions and the last one about 20. I was in and out of there in about an hour.

The questions were similiar to what Barb told me they would be. There did seem to be a lot of questions about whether or not I thought someone was following me or reading my mind or could hear my thoughts. There were some obvious ones, like am I contemplating suicide. Some I couldn't figure out what they were going for like, "Would you like to do what a forest ranger does?" Huh?? I will review the results with a psychologist on July 14. I had 3 vials of blood drawn on Friday for my meeting with the doctor next Thursday.

On Thursday I will be meeting with a doctor, dietician, physical therapist and psychologist. That's supposed to be for 4 hours, and I have to check in at 7:50 AM. Even though that's early, I figure I'll be the first one in, so I should have no problem getting out by 12:00. I'm not sure if there is a step after that meeting or if I just wait until July 14 when I have a second meeting with the psychologist. That is the day before I leave on vacation so I will have the week to further reflect on my decision.

I spent a good portion of yesterday reviewing a few of the books I purchased, making notes and highlighting some of the important parts.

The Doctor's Guide to Weight Loss Surgery : How to Make the Decision That Could Save Your Life was the best out of the three I read. It's written by a doctor who has done over 1500 surgeries and it really gave a good idea of what to expect pre- and post-op. He also outlined, by type of surgery, what some of the negative aspects are like hair loss, bad breath and gas -- three things I am afraid of. He also stresses that the expectation shouldn't be to get to your goal weight; it should be to get healthier and that may mean only losing 50% of the excess weight. That means I might have to be happy with maintaining a weight of 235. That's a hard pill to swallow because you think you are going through the pain and cost and sacrafice to only reach your goal part way. The reality is, losing 50% of my weight would make a huge deal in my health and my self-esteem, but I have to honestly ask myself, if that's all I lose, will I be happy? Will I consider the surgery a success? Good questions to ask.

The second book, The Patient's Guide to Weight Loss Surgery: Everything You Need To Know About Gastric Bypass and Bariatric Surgery was a somewhat negative look at surgery. It showed a less than rosy outlook, including stories from surgery patients who regretted the surgery. It didn't sway me from having it, but it did raise my awarness on what to expect. The one thing I got out of it, is those who were not satisfied with the surgery is that they didn't seem to do the research prior to going under the knife. Many seemed surprised with the food restrictions and some of the problems that developed. Obviously, the way to combat those is to research, research, research.

The last book, Exodus from Obesity: The Guide to Long-Term Success After Weight Loss Surgery was written by a woman who had a good experience with the surgery. She has a lot of suggestions about what to do to prepare for surgery and how to deal with life after surgery. Some of the best ideas are "training for surgery" like doing stretching and deep breathing exercises. Some of her stuff is good not just for WLS patients, but for people looking to lose weight and dealing with some of the psychological aspects of weight loss.

Tonight we are going to see
Bill Maher
. We saw Dennis Miller in New Orleans a few years ago, and we both enjoy political comedy. On Friday, we finally got around to seeing Star Wars. I thought it was pretty good, and tied things up nicely.

It's looking a little overcast this morning so I think I will make a Target run (second one in 3 days!) to get a few items I forgot and get new curtains for the sliding glass door to the deck. Baja ran through the screen door and the blinds (PINK!!) that are up there are awful, so I'm going to get some decent curtains that will keep the bugs out but let the dogs run out without fear of them tearing through a screen door.

The best news is that our new stove
is arriving on Tuesday. Since I couldn't get a gas range, I opted for a flattop electic range -- I'm very excited.

Off to errands before the stores get too crowded...

Thursday, June 23, 2005

You Know You're Crazy When....

So I have my psychological testing appointment today at 4:00 PM. It's supposed to take about 2 hours. I have my lab appointment tomorrow at 9:30 AM where they take a few vials of blood. My 4 hour assesment with a psychologist, dietcian and physical therapist is next Thursday morning. Finally, my one hour follow-up with the psycologist (reviewing the test results) is on July 14.

The test will be interesting. Barb, my nurse consultant, told me not to worry about it. She said it will ask me questions like, "Do you love your mother?" and "Do you ALWAYS love your mother?" and "Have you ever had feelings of hate toward your mother?" and, my favorite, "Have you ever fantasized about being a professional baseball player?"

I figure once I finish the test I will call Barb to let her know where I stand with the appointments and see if there is any news on the insurance front. The best part about this program is that I only have to deal with one person -- Barb -- for my insurance. She calls them, finds out what they need, writes the letters, etc. As I go down my checklist, it seems like I've already scheduled most of what I need. Assuming there are no hang ups with the insurance company, I could really be looking at August/September.

I have another three-day weekend coming up (have I told you just how much I love having three days off?). There seems to be less to do since Don has been totally overseeing the homestead -- carpets cleaned, bird removers, etc....

Yeah, Animal Control has to come out this afternoon. We have a bird's nest in our venting unit. The vent goes from our downstairs bathroom to the back yard. Since we have a basement, the vent entrance is too high to reach from any of the ladders we own. When I use the bathroom, it sounds like I'm peeing in the jungle -- do you have any idea the racket a bunch of hungry baby birds makes? Neither did the dogs. They are facinated. Well, partially because of the noise and partially because of the stench that now permeates our bathroom. Hell, the porta-potties at a chili festival don't smell that bad. Yuck. The Animal Control officer is supposed to remove the birds, and hopefully they are big enough to go out on their own. We'll get a screen to prevent any further freeloaders.

I also just realized that I will be leaving for Santa Barbara in just 3 weeks. Whoo Hoo!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Weekend Wrap-Up

Ah, the dog days of summer...we had a beautiful weekend with clear skies and temps in the upper 70s. The best part was low humidity, although that is changing as we speak. We were able to spend a lot of time outside -- we took the dogs for two walks, went miniture golfing and read on the deck. I finished two books (R is for Ricochet by Sue Grafton and Loaded Dice by James Swain). I would have at least started a third book (The Hungry Sea by Susan Greenlaw) but I realized 60 pages in that I had already read it. Guess it didn't make that big of an impression on me.

The miniture golf was a bit disappointing. We used to go to one in Redondo Beach called Malibu Castle. They had 2 18-hole courses, batting cages and a huge video arcade. The courses had all the good stuff -- windmills, clowns, etc. The one we went to near our house was tough -- a lot of hills, holes where if you overshot it your ball would end up in the water, etc. We also seemed to have missed 2 holes! I don't know if there are really only 16 holes or if we somehow passed 2 up. Regardless, Don kicked my butt and I can't, in all honesty, even say I "let" him win because it was Father's Day.

We did start a 2000 piece puzzle, which I'm sure Don is working on right now. Once he gets started, it's hard for him to walk away. I know that feeling! The puzzle is a cartoon rendition of Noah's Ark with some funny scenes. Here it is:
Image hosted by Hopefully this won't take us all summer!

Burying my lede here a bit, but I met with my bariatric nurse, Barb, yesterday. She is going to be a hoot. She had the surgery about 4 years ago and lost 150 pounds. She freely admits that she is never going to be a super model and is happier even though she is still rather round -- that's just her body type. We had a good conversation about body image, "right" weight vs. "healthy" weight, next steps, etc. My task list for today is to set up the 2 hour psych testing, schedule a lab appointment to get my preliminary blood work done and call Barb with my old doctor's information so she can get that office to send my files. I'm going to get going on this stuff right away because I don't want to drag my feet on this.

My boss is out of the office for the next 3 days and he didn't leave me with one To Do, so my goal is to get my desk (and the two others I have commendeered) cleaned off. Oh, and to get caught up on my blog reading...

Monday, June 20, 2005

Got Weather?

Image hosted by

I'm in downtown Minneapolis right now and the sky is an eerie green, rain is pouring down, lightening and thunder. Oh what fun!

At least it's not an earthquake, right?

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Four Day Weeks Rock

I could really get used to these four day weeks. I wish I had the option to do 4 days at 10 hours each so I could get an extra weekend, but I don't think my boss would go for it.

The weather is supposed to be nice tomorrow, so I am going to get my appointments and errands done first thing, and then spend the next three days enjoying the outdoors. Don and I are planning on playing mini-golf tomorrow. I also got a boatload of summer reading material from (trying to pare down my enormous Wish List) which means a good portion of the weekend will be spent hanging out on the deck.

Well, enough about my three day weekend....

I have a question for my non-Californian your local gas stations jack the price around as much as the ones here in Minneapolis? If I remember correctly, gas stations in California (maybe just LA) could only change prices on Thursdays. This started with the gas rationing in the 70s to prohibit price fixing. That is not the case here. The nearest gas station, a Super America, changes the price at least 4 times a week. For example, I got gas Tuesday morning and paid $1.97. Tuesday afternoon it went up to $2.17. I will bet you that the price will be lower either today or tomorrow, and then be dropped again at least once over the weekend. I hate trying to guess when I am going to get the best price, and I would be pissed to no end if I paid a higher price and then saw it lower 8 hours later.

So Monday is the big day for me. I am very interested in what will happen, and excited about moving to the next steps. I have been diligently recording my food, although I haven't really been watching what I eat (hence dinners that consist of grilled cheese, ice cream and martinis). I guess my mindset is that these things will be taken away shortly, so why not indulge now? Luckily the scale hasn't budged much one way or the other, so no real harm. I do know I should be exercising more, and will definitly get a walk or two in this weekend. I'm still hoping for an August or September surgery date if possible. My mom did mention she would plan on coming out to help, which wasn't expected but will be appreciated. I'm not sure if my dad will make it, but I bet he will if he can.

Off to finish a few items so I can actually get out on time today. I really don't want to be here past 4:00, which has been the case every flippin' day this week.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

I'm Baaaack....

We're back safe and sound from Cleveland. The trip was great -- we got to see all of Don's side of the family (his mom, 3 siblings and their spouses and 10 neices and nephews). It was hot, steamy and sticky which actually made me glad to get back to Minnesota weather. All I have to say, even with this short flight (about 2 hours), traveling just sucks rocks. We got out an hour late on the way there (had to change a tire, lost our place in line, had to fly around a thunderstorm) and both flights were packed. We lucked out on the return -- they swapped aircraft, and we ended up in an exit row with a ton of leg space. Poor Don always gets stuck in the middle seat since I have to cram my fat ass into a space made for Kate Moss.

The funniest thing we saw was when we were boarding the return flight. First of all, it's always a clusterfuck as soon as passengers see the gate agent getting ready to start boarding. I had my doubts about this guy, but he seemed to handle things pretty well, making people who were trying to get on the plane before their row was called get back in line. He had just announced rows 15 and higher and a guy calls out, "What about row 11?" I thought Don and I were going to lose it. The whole psychology of travellers and traveling is very interesting. You really get to see human nature in action.

The trip was uneventful -- we mostly sat inside and gabbed since it was so darn hot. I felt like I ate a ton, plus my "lady's days" started the night before we flew (always a treat). I did drink a ton of water, so that was good.

I was not excited about coming back to work. It ended up being a 12 hour day for me because my payroll wasn't done by my back-up. Long story short, time cards need to be entered in the payroll system by Monday. The woman who was supposed to back me up (the same one who was out for 6 weeks for knee surgery and the same one who is going on a 3 week vacation starting Friday) claims she didn't understand my instructions. I'm not sure what's so difficult about understanding, "Can you complete my time cards?" but apparently I didn't make myself clear. I had actually done the majority of the time cards. I had entered three departments but didn't certify them because I was missing a few and I hadn't done two full departments since they weren't completed, so about 80 time cards didn't get completed. Now I have to enter them into the payroll system, manually change all 80 pay codes for any vacation time (this, of course, happened on the week we all had Memorial Day off) and then fill out paperwork for any overtime adjustments (about 15 - 20 people). Yeah, I'm a happy camper.

Of course, I'm not actually doing any work right now because updating my blog is so much more important....

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Weather a la Minnesota

We got our first taste of really severe weather yesterday morning. Up until now, out thunderstorms have been pretty pedestrian -- heavy rain, maybe some hail, wind gusts, some lightening and some thunder. When the local news touted the coming of severe weather, I took it with a grain of salt. They could barely get a clear day right, how could they possibly predict what was going to be severe?

About 1:00 AM, the first wave hit. It woke me up -- the loud thunder, the sound of heavy rain. At 3:30 AM, it got worse. Wind gusts up to 60 mph, lightening so bad it was like a strobe light even through the curtains, thunder that NEVER stopped, and rain that hit the windows with such force it sounded like someone was spraying my house with a firehose.

I came downstairs to make sure nothing was leaking, and I stood at my picture window in the family room overlooking the backyard. The rain was like waves -- I couldn't even see the individual drops. The lone tree in our backyard was bent over so much, the branchs were practially brushing the ground. Lightening was coming from all corners of the sky, both sheet lightening and big, bright streaks that forked horizontally. The worst was the thunder, which was relentless. It probably went strong from 3:30 until about 4:15 or so. At times, it seemed like the earth was cracking right over the house or the roof was being torn off.

I took a few minutes to log onto the local news website and pulled up the radar map. Right over Eden Prairie was was a huge red blob, indicating the severity of the thunderstorms.

The dogs handled it pretty well. Jager barked at the first clap of thunder at 1:30. We called her up in bed with us and Baja, and she seemed to calm right down. They would raise their heads when the big storm hit, but didn't bark or whimper. I'm glad they don't seem to get too stressed out about bad weather. I'd be worried if we had to leave them at home while a storm was going on if they did.

It was an amazing show of nature. It looks like this is only the "first of the season." Once again, this is Minnesota showing us why one day it can be 55 and the next can be 90. As much as I like the occassional thunderstorm, there are days when I miss the boring weather prediction of 70 and sunny. It's supposed to be nice today, low humidity and a mix of sun and clouds with highs in the low 80s -- perfect for sitting outside and reading! I have been doing a lot of reading the past few weeks. I've finished 3 books (Basket Case & Sick Puppy by Carl Hiaasen, The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore) and I have 4 going (1984, Little Women, Wicked and Odd Thomas). I think I am going to keep track of how many books I read this summer since I usually polish off close to two dozen between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

I will be spending part of the day at the spa getting the Ultimate Facial, using my gift card that Don got me for Christmas. I'm looking forward to this -- I love going to the spa and getting pampered. I wish I could afford to do it more often!

We're going to Cleveland tomorrow to see Don's side of the family. We'll be back on Sunday, so see ya all then!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Appointment Update

Park Nicollet did call this morning and I now have my first appointment on Monday, June 20th at 3:00 PM. This appointment focuses on a Q&A session with a clinical nurse and she will become my one point of contact. I will have a lot more information once I'm done with this meeting, but I finally feel like this is moving along. It actually gives me inspiration to go and workout this morning!

Laughter & Lightening

We had a nice weekend to kick off our vacation, and a beautiful Monday -- lots of sun, hot temps (83 degrees), and a warm breeze. I did get a mani/pedi yesterday morning, plus I got my hair cut and colored on Saturday, so I'm feeling pretty. I have a facial scheduled for Thursday, and we leave for Cleveland on Friday afternoon for the weekend.

I'm really lucky that I've found a great hair dresser to replace Nick from LA. I've been happy with my hair, and the price is right. What I am a little distressed about is how they do nails here. In LA, I had been going to the same nail salon for about 12 years. I was used to them doing the mani and pedi at the same time and paying $25.00 with tip. Now, all the places I've looked at seem to do it the same -- first take you back for a pedicure (massage chair, soothing music, muted lighting, scented water, clay masks for the feet, aromatherapy lotions, etc.) and then do your manicure while your toes dry. I used to get acrylic fills, but here they prefer gel, which admittedly is smoother and lasts longer, but is more expensive. It seems like I'm lucky to get out of there under $100.00. The place I finally settled on is about 2 minutes away from home, but maybe I need to look a little farther out...

We woke up this morning to thunder and lightening which is going to be with us until late morning and then back for the late afternoon. That's OK -- I have a ton to do in the house, which I hate to do when we're actually getting sun. I started culling my plethora of catalogs last night. I wish they would just send one every quarter. It seems like certain companies send them out every other week.

Still no word from Park Nicollet on my paperwork. They had called on Friday saying they didn't have it, but sometimes the paperwork ends in another department and they were going to check and get bacl to me yesterday. By 4:30 I hadn't heard so I called them and had to leave a message. I'd like to know if there is a problem this week so I can re-file while I'm on vacation.

I had a good laugh yesterday. I probably laugh at least once every day -- either because of something the dogs have done or something Don has said. But I don't go into laugh spasms that often -- you know the kind, where you can't stop laughing and are laughing so hard you cry. We were watching "Two and a Half Men" and Charlie Sheen's character had a line about farting rainbows, and I just lost it. It felt so good to laugh that hard...

Off to see how much I can get done before the sun breaks out!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

One More Day this time tomorrow I will be home, relaxing on the deck with a Grey Goose vodka martini in one hand and a book in the other, getting my week-long vacation off to the perfect start. The best part is I received the OK from my boss to take every Friday off in June so I can have 3-day weekends with Don. I'm excited about having several short weeks in a row, plus the time with Don.

We will be going to Cleveland next weekend, but for the majority of the week, we'll just be doing stuff around the house and maybe some sightseeing in here in Minneapolis. I'd love to go seeThe Walker Art Center. But what I really need to do is get my carpets cleaned! White carpets + two dogs + snow/rain/mud = dirty carpets.

I did finally contact the Park Nicollet clinic about my WLS paperwork and the one nurse couldn't find it, so I had to leave a message for the head nurse to call me tomorrow. One more delay, but I figure I've waited this long, a few more days won't matter in the long run. I am having a hard time with trying to "train" myself so the transition will be easier. I have to drink while I'm eating. Giving up coffee is going to be hard -- I haven't even tried to do that. I also love my carbonated water. I have been recording my foods. What I haven't been doing is remembering to take my meds. Grrrr....that should be one of the easiest things to do. Well, at least I'm trying to do it slowly and well in advance.

All I have to say is that I am really looking forward to giving my alarm clock a long rest.