The Ongoing Adventures of Naked Girl

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

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

An Amazing Few Days

I am glued to the television and internet coverage of Hurricane Katrina. I cannot fathom what these people must be going through. The physical and emotional toll this is taking on them will be hard to overcome. When the news agencies reported on the conditions in the Superdome, I just shuddered. To be locked in a facility with little water, no food, no air conditioning and broken sewers must be hell on earth.

I am in the camp that shakes my head at the people who willingly stayed behind. When the mayors says if you are staying behind, fill up your tub for fresh water and make sure to have an axe and crowbar to break through your roof, I'd be hightailing it out of there. I understand that some people couldn't leave, and maybe officals should have provided transportation on Sunday. But when experts are using phrases like destruction of biblical proportions, more should have been done proactively.

The photos are mind-boggling. There was one of the Hyatt Hotel with all of the windows blown out. Don and I stayed in that hotel when we were in New Orleans. I wonder about some of the restaurants we ate in, the French Quarter, Jackson Square, the cemetaries (MSNBC was just showing coffins strewn across the roadways from the crypts breaking apart) - will they ever be the same?

I have more to post about my diet and upcoming surgery, but I think I will continue to watch the news and thank the heavens above that my family is safe and dry, with a roof over our heads and food in our bellies.

Friday, August 26, 2005

The Great Minnesota Get-Together

The Minnesota State Fair opened yesterday. This, apparently, is a huge deal here. Some people even postponed their WLS so they could have one last hurrah. Everyone says I should go, and I do love to people watch, but large crowds kind of freak me out, and who really needs fried Oreos?

I have not been paying attention to food or exercise over the last few weeks. My rational has been, "There will be time enough for that soon enough." But as I tried to squeeze into a pair of shorts this afternoon, I've realized that I cannot continue in this mindset. I am going to start working harder at watching my food. That includes making sure I get in my 100 ounces of water, eating my protein first, watching my carbs and doing a better job of portion control. I'm also going to make sure I get my daily exercise in, even if it's just a walk down the street or a walk around the block at work. I think I've fallen into the trap that the surgery is going to "fix" everything, which, in fact, it won't. It's only a tool for me to use. That's not to say I won't celebrate on my birthday or Don's birthday, but I need to stop rationalizing what I eat with, "Well, it's the last time I'll be able to eat (insert food) for awhile."

I did find out one of my co-workers is having the surgery on 9/1. We're having lunch on Monday to compare notes, so I'm excited about that. She's going to a different hospital, but a hospital that hosts one of the local support groups I went to this past week. I'm glad that I now have two friends that are going through this around the same time. I also have plans to meet one of the girls for a walk this weekend. She was raised in this area and knows some great walking spots. I hope we walk tomorrow since Don is off on Sunday and we'll be able to take the dogs for a walk.

In work news, I have an interview on Tuesday! When I moved to Minnesota, I couldn't get a travel job (hiring freeze) so I took the first job that I applied for with AMEX. I didn't want to lose 8 1/2 years of seniority (plus, since I celebrate my 10 year anniversary next January I get another week of vacation). It was a step down in level and a $16,000 pay cut. But, I ended up working for a great boss in the heart of the company, and I think I've really made a mark. A job came up a few months ago in an area I want to move to, but I didn't apply because I hadn't satisfied my 12 month commitment in my current job. Well, a few weeks ago, another position opened up, and I asked my boss if he would support me in making this move, and he said yes. I'm only about 8 weeks from my year commitment, and I think he understands that it's going to be better for him to move me into a position where I still support him, just indirectly.

Now, this isn't a sure thing. This is really two steps up for me, and I am really unqualified technically. But I figure I'm a quick study, I have the basic leadership skills and the group I'd be moving into has a lot of respect for me already. It's not just the money, although to get closer to where I was would be great - not only did our checking account take a hit with my smaller paycheck, but I took a blow to my ego as well. What I am really excited about is the challenge this job would present. Essentially I would be working in our Phone Ops Command Center, working on staffing levels, forecasting, scheduling, etc. It's very project oriented, which is right up my alley, and something I would love to do long-term. There is also a lot of room for advancement, whereas the job I'm in now doesn't really offer that kind of growth, unless I want to go back to managing people.

Don is covering the Vikings' game tonight, so I'm settling in for Spike TV's back-to-back-to-back CSIs. I need to order some PJs for my recovery and a track suit for my coming home outfit. Hey, a girl can never be too comfortable!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Bad, Shannin, Bad!

I called in sick to work today. I really didn't want to, but I haven't slept 5 out of the last 6 night and I felt like a train had hit me when the alarm went off at 5:00 AM this morning. Even though I had one breakfast and two meetings to attend, I felt like I just needed a day to do nothing but veg. Of course, that actually meant a trip to Target for a few garage organizers that were on sale and a run to the pharmacy for some Tylenol PM to help me sleep tonight.

I just can't get my brain to turn off. I fall asleep fine, but am up around 2:00 AM and won't fall back to sleep (until 15 minutes before my alarm goes off and I'm in the middle of REM). A few nights ago, the thing that got me going was, "If I die during this surgery, Don won't know how to pay the bills. The utilities will get shut off, his credit rating will be ruined. I have to tell him how to pay the bills!" I don't want to dwell on gloom & doom, because the fatality rate of this surgery is less than 1%. But, I am a Virgo and nothing can go unplanned. It's just my nature.

Saturday's BBQ went very well. I connected with a few people and met a ton more. I wanted to back out at the last minute but forced myself to go, and I'm glad I did. I also went to one of the weekly support groups in the area. It's not at the hospital I will be having my surgery at, but it's open to all and I got to see several people at different points in their journey. I am still having a hard time wrapping my mind around that most people lose about 40 pounds in the first 3 weeks, up to 70 pounds in the first 3 months and over 100 by their 1 year anniversary. One woman (the one who hosted the BBQ) has lost almost 100 pounds in 5 months. WOW. Now, there are some who are 2 months out and have only lost 20 pounds, but the general consensus is that the weight loss comes fast and furious to begin with, so I do have high hopes that by the end of the year I will have lost 40 - 50 pounds.

The meeting have also been good to hear people talk about how the weight loss has affected their lives. One woman talked about how she used to come downstairs in the morning and never go back upstairs until it was time for bed, even if she needed something. She would send her kids upstairs to get whatever she needed, and if they weren't home, wait until they got home. I could totally relate. We're in a 2-story house now, and I rarely make unnecessary trips upstairs, even if there is something I really need. For instance, I have been meaning to bring down some extra Priolsec since I tend to forget to take it even though I get painful heartburn if I don't. There have been times that I would suffer through the heartburn because I didn't/couldn't go upstairs. Going downstairs is equally as hard - my knees, feet and ankles are so sore and tender, especially in the morning, that I have to take the steps one at a time. I will be happy when that pain isn't there.

There are a lot of things I'm looking forward to when I no longer have an extra 100+ pounds weighing me down. Walks with the dogs will become enjoyable. Clothes will fit better - pants won't wear out in the inner thighs; I'll be able to wear tank tops; I'll have to buy belts because I will be able to tuck in my shirts; I won't have to wear slip on shoes. It's amazing what I've missed out because I am an abnormal size. Two things come to mind - one was when our office hosted a "Take Your Kid to Work" day. I had volunteered, but as soon as I found out we were going to have to wear t-shirts (the largest being XL), I knew I couldn't participate. I'd look like an overstuffed sausage. The other is coming up tomorrow, and I still don't know how I am going to handle it. We're having a 70's party, and they want the leadership team to dress in 70's garb. The "normal" people are going to some second-hand stores to get their clothes, but I know they don't carry size 28. I'll have to make due with what I have on hand, and I'm sure some might question why I "didn't dress." And it's not because they are insensitive, it's because they don't understand that once you're my size, you can't just run out and find appropriate clothing.

So, six weeks from today, I will have my surgery. By this time, I should be out of recovery and will have hopefully taken my first post-op walk. I will be well on my way to a successful recovery, and on my way to the losing side of life.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Paying It Forward

We had a work outing on Thursday to the local track. I'm not much for gambling - I work hard enough for my money as it is - but I took $20 to wager on the ponies. I guess one of the things I don't like about horseracing is that I don't follow it, especially on a small track, so none of the horses or jockeys are even vaguely familiar. So it becomes all about hunches. For instance, in the first race there was a horse by the name of Just Josh'n ridden by a jockey named Shannon. Josh is one of my co-workers so of course we had to bet on it (he came in last).

I knew I was only going to stay through the 4th race because I had to be up early on Friday. By that time, I had lost all of my bets, and was down $9.00 (like I said, I don't like to lose money). In the 4th, a filly by the name of Hollywood Playgirl was going off at 20-1 odds, a definite long shot, but I liked the name. I bet $5.00 to win, just for the hell of it. I pretty much figured it was a loss. As the horses came down the track, Hollywood Playgirl was running in 5th and I knew I had lost. But wait - she turned it on and flew up on the outside and caught the leaders and won by a head! She paid $59.00, so for a $5 bet, I won $155.00. I took my money and went home.

Today I'm really breaking out of my comfort zone and going to a BBQ/picnic being hosted by a woman who has had WLS. I've been participating in the message boards at Obesity Help. It's been a great resource for me as I've been researching WLS. They have support boards, doctor reviews, insurance help, etc. One of the features is a local message board so you can connect with people in your area. It's been great to talk to people who have had the same surgeon I'll have, and it's interesting to read about people at different stages of their journey. Anyway, one of the women is having this party and there are going to be about 80 people from the boards there, so I'll get to meet some of these WLS patients face-to-face.

I'm not very comfortable in large groups, especially when I don't know anyone, but I figured this was an important step for me to make. Some of these people have been friends for years, and, as I've written before, it's been hard for me to make friends since we moved. The support they give to one another is amazing - they visit each other in the hospital, provide rides when needed, do clothing exchanges, etc.

One of the long-time members of the boards has been having serious problems relating to her surgery and I've been very interested in reading how things aren't always so rosy just because you've lost weight. She had serious infections, had to have follow up surgery, lost two jobs because of extended medical leaves, has money and insurance problems, is having problems in her marriage because of the stress, etc. She's travelled to different specialists across the country and she still isn't at 100%. In fact, she can't eat food - her only nutrition is administered through a feeding tube inserted into her stomach. Since her focus has been on figuring out what went wrong with the surgery, some of her other health issues have been ignored. Last week, she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. In fact, her breasts are so riddled with the cancer they cannot even remove them. She is undergoing major chemo and radiation, which started this past week. The cancer has already spread to her lymph nodes and the doctors say, while they can do chemo, nothing is guaranteed. This is a fast moving cancer, and they can't say how long she will have to live. She is 28 and has a 4 year old son.

At the picnic today, people will be bringing things for Jessica. I figured that even though I didn't know her, I could afford a few dollars' worth of household items. Then last night I realized what I needed to do with the money I won at the track. As much as I want a new pair of PJs or a book, I'm not looking at major hospital bills and the possibility of leaving my family. The money I won was a gift, and it's a gift I need to pay forward.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

This and That

Why on earth did our local news station report on a story about P Diddy changing his name again? Is that news? Isn't there a war going on, airplanes crashing, settlers being relocated? Geeze, and people wonder why we are skeptical about news.

Are Ann Coulter's 15 minutes up now?

I don't think increasing gas prices are getting more Hummers off the road. I guess if you can afford that car (and take advantage of the tax breaks that go with it) you can afford $3 a gallon.

I think too many choices confuse people. On Sunday morning I went to Target and was there 9 minutes after they opened. There were a ton of prime parking spots and the car in front of me took f-o-r-e-v-e-r to park. "Should I park on the left, or on the right, or on the left?" Just park!

Is your local paper running SuDuKo? If you like crosswords, this puzzle is for you. I discovered it while on vacation as the LA Times runs it. A week after we got back, the Star Tribune started running it and I'm in 7th heaven.

Anyone know how to get blood out of a cream carpet?

Am I the only one who thinks the new Burger King commercials are annoying? I will never buy those stupid chicken fries because of that crap.

On the flip side, my favorite commercials are the "We're for Dogs" by Pedigree Dog food. If it wasn't going to be such a hassle to change my dogs' food, I would totally switch to Pedigree just because of those commericals.

Speaking of dogs, it was Baja's 4th birthday yesterday. And, yes, I did sing to him.

I lose 2 hours a night watching Spike TV's back-to-back reruns of the original CSI.

At some point, I want to be rich enough to have a vacuum upstairs and downstairs. Hauling that thing back and forth is a bitch.

My favorite appliance is my Cuisinart Grind-n-Brew.
I get my coffee from Green Mountain Coffee. My personal favorite is Fair Trade Rain Forest Nut (it has real Brazil nuts in it). I got the Grind-n-Brew at
's Friday Sale (yes, it's only on Friday. It's under "Outlet" on the left side of the home page). It retails for big bucks, but I got it for $79.00.

I'm wearing hot pink toenail polish. It looks kind of sexy. Especially in black open-toed mules.

Part of me is going to be sorry to see summer go, although I haven't enjoyed the 90+ temps and the 80% humidity much. Fall, my favorite season, never seems to last as long as summer or winter.

I remember when I used to get more bills than credit card offers. Now I get at least 1-2 offers a day. No wonder there is so much identity theft.

I know most of you aren't sports fans, but I'm excited about the upcoming football season. I've ordered Sunday Ticket from DirecTV. I am nervous about the college season - USC is coming in as the #1 team in the nation, even with the loss of some key players and coordinators. Although if I ever played the game, I would love to play under Pete Carroll.

I'm getting my hair done on Saturday. I'm thinking about change the color from blonde with lighter streaks to a cinnamon color with chunky blonde highlights. But maybe I'll wait until my appointment right before surgery. I don't think I'll cut it, though.

I have at least 24 bottles of wine and 2 bottles of champange in my wine fridge. With this surgery I can't drink alcohol for 12 months (although some have reported drinking as soon as 4 months). Do you think I need to drink all that wine before surgery? And will you join me? It's mostly reds....

If I do empty the wine fridge, what will I do with it for 12 months if I can't have wine? Would it be "trailer" for me to use it for water?

I get way too many magazines - Martha Stewart Living, Every Day Food, Body + Soul, Organic Style, Bon Appetit, Real Simple, Mspls St. Paul, Minnesota Monthly, Cuisine at Home, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated (yes, I get my own). What makes me think I need another cooking magazine? I know I will probably subscribe to Cooking Country, even though I won't be able to make 90% of the recipes.

Don't even get me started on catalogs. Now I'm getting catalogs trying to sell me catalogs!!!

Will there ever be enough time in the day for me to read all the books I want to?

Monday, August 15, 2005

Settling Down

The last few days have been a whirlwind of emotions. First off, I want to thank all the readers who have stopped by to read my story, especially those of you who have left comments or e-mailed. One of my biggest fears is how I will be judged for making this decision. Everyone who commented was very positive and I really appreciate that.

Don and I spent a lot of time talking about this and going over the plans leading up to surgery as well as the week after surgery. I spoke to both my parents twice and my brother once. Don told his mom. I've been answering questions from people at work - just a handful currently know.

I'm feeling better and better about this choice as the countdown begins. I'm starting to fix a few favorite meals. Even though I will eventually be able to have them again, it will be awhile. I was having minor panic on Thursday and into Friday, but as I thought about it over the weekend, I seemed to become more comfortable with it. I'm sure as we get closer, I will still have some pretty steep ups and downs.

It looks like my dad will come out the Saturday after surgery and stay thru Thursday. My mom will come out on that Thursday and stay with me through the weekend since Don will be on the road for my second week at home. I haven't called our disability insurance agent, but I'm hoping to get approved for 3 full weeks of FMLA rather than two so I don't have to use as much vacation time but still build in two days before surgery and two days after I'm supposed to go back. That just gives me a little more time to get adjusted. Hey, in almost 10 years of work, I have never taken advantage of FMLA.

We had a nice weekend, especially weather-wise. I didn't do too much yesterday - made my famous Mexican cassarole, got caught up on my magazine reading, played with the dogs. I did go to Target and the store and picked up a few items to try before I start my liquid diet. I picked up some SF Jello, SF Koolaid and Crystal Light. I couldn't find single bottles of Propel or Fruit H20 so I will look for those this week. I didn't get any Carnation Instant Breakfast, but I will as I get closer.

The best part about this week is that Don will be finished driving to and from Mankato, where the Vikings hold training camp. He does have to go to NYC on Friday but will be home on Saturday. It's going to be a busy week for me - I have meetings up the ying yang plus they are having the yearly outing to Canterbury Racetrack on Thursday. I'm not much of a gambler, but I figure I'll take $20 and see what happens. They also have blackjack and poker there so I may play a few hands, just to partake of the festivities. For the most part, I hate losing hard earned money, hence my aversion to Las Vegas. Who knows, maybe I'll hit the jackpot!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

I Have A Date

October 5. Eight weeks from yesterday. Fifty-five days.

When I first got there, I met with about 8 other women and two nurses. We were given a handbook, our day before bowel prep instructions and our surgery paperwork. We reviewed the first part of the handbook. I then had a one-on-one with my surgeon's nurse and then met with the surgeon. Finally, I met with the surgical scheduler.

The instructions are pretty basic. I have to have my gallbladder ultrasound (scheduled for next Thursday morning), one more blood test (scheduled for next Friday afternoon), a final meeting with the dietician (scheduled for Sept. 30) and a final appointment with my primary care doctor (scheduled for Sept. 28). Ten days before surgery (Sept. 25) I start on a liquid diet. I am allowed water, sugar free Jello and Popsicles, broth, tea, coffee, flavored water (Crystal Light, Propel) and protein drinks (Carnation Instant breakfast, Ensure, Boost).

The day before surgery, I have to drink 10 ounces of Magnisium Citrate (or, as what Deb, a nurse, calls it, the sparkling laxitive). That's supposed to clean me out, although after 10 days of liquid, I can't imagine there is going to be much in there to clean out. They suggest a shower or bath the night before surgery (no shit, no pun intended). I'm supposed to remove all jewelry, but I have to check on that because I have one ring that will not come off (fat fingers).

I need to be at the hospital at 5:00 AM the day of surgery. They will get me checked in and my room assigned. More than likely I will have a private room. At 6:30 AM, I will be moved from my room to the pre-op prep room. I will go in alone. Don will not be allowed to see me from that point until I return to my room. In the prep area I will be given something to relax me and my IV will be started. I will be moved into the actual operating room and given anesthesia. Once asleep, I will have a breathing tube inserted, and, if the doctor deems it necessary, a catheter put in. Luckily, unless they think it's going to be a problem, they don't do catheters as a regular practice.

My surgery will begin at 7:30 AM. The surgeon said it usually takes 1 1/2 to 2 hours. So, by 9:30 AM I will be in recovery. They said that I will be moved to my room as soon as my nurse feels that I am ready, but they didn't give me a timetable for that. Once in my room, they want me up and about as soon as possible. I will be doing deep breaths and coughing every hour to prevent pneumonia. I will also have compression boots on to prevent blood clots. I will be hooked up to a pain pump so I can administer my own pain meds as I need them. They suggested using an extra pump before getting up so I can move around sooner.

During surgery, I will have a drainage pump inserted behind the stomach. This will stay with me for a week after surgery and I will have to learn to drain it. My incisions will be closed with dissolvable stitches, so even with the drainage pump, I will be able to shower (but no baths or hot tubs!). The pump looks like a short piece of rubber tubbing coming out of one of the incisions with a tennis ball-sized clear ball (I don't know how else to describe it). My nurse will remove it at my first appointment with him one week after surgery.

I will be in the hospital for 1-2 days, with 2 being the norm. I have to be able to walk on my own, tolerate liquids and go to the bathroom before they release me. During those two days, I have to continue doing the breathing exercises and get up and walk. I won't be able to drive for about a week because of the pain meds they will send home with me.

For the week after surgery, I will be on a clear liquid diet - water, clear juices that have been watered down, broth, tea, etc. They want me to move around as much as possible - not to do a marathon or anything - but short walks, stretching, etc. After my appointment with my nurse, I will move to a full liquid diet. I will be able to add milk, protein mixes, Cream of Wheat, yogurt and cream soups.

So, for now, things remain status quo. I need to make sure I drink at least 64 ounces of water per day, exercise 30 minutes a day, do breathing exercises, take my supplements (multi-vitamin, calcium, vitamin C and iron) and try to relax. I don't think I will change my diet for now. I am going to try and get in some of my favorites between now and when I go on the liquid diet. Nothing to excess, but I could go for some baked ziti and my stuffed chicken breasts with wild rice, maybe some wild mushroom rissoto.

I'm excited. I'm scared. I know I will fret these next 7 weeks, 6 days. I will have doubts, questions, second-thoughts. But when the first song I heard after this meeting was "A Change is Gonna Do Me Good" by Etta James, I knew I had made the right decision.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Wanna Know A Secret?

One of the big questions surrounding Weight Loss Surgery (WLS) is who to tell? I knew I had to include Don in my decision; this isn't just affecting me, but my "pack" -- Don, Baja & Jager. I also knew that I wanted to include my parents, which meant, by extension, their partners. I didn't know when I was going to tell my brother, but I knew I would. I did tell him before I saw him in LA, but we really didn't discuss it. I'm sure he told his wife, but I figured on that.

The real question became, who would I tell at work and of my friends? I told my best friend a few weeks ago, and just e-mailed two more friends today. At work, I told my boss and one of the admins, but I knew I couldn't keep it quiet forever. Two of the leaders I support knew I was researching it. In our daily meeting, I mentioned I would be out on Thursday, and quickly added that it was to meet with the surgeon. I knew that at some point I was going to have to tell them that I would be out for 2 weeks having surgery. The funny thing is that most didn't even question what kind of surgery I was going to have. They seemed to know it was WLS. I wasn't sure how to take that. They just, collectively, figured I was having WLS. Don't know if this is a good thing or not.

Having this surgery is really hitting rock bottom for me. Nothing else has worked. Medically speaking, there is nothing they can do for me because of pre-exisiting conditions like hypothyroidism and high blood pressure. My previous efforts to lose weight has fucked with my metabolism to the point it no longer works. I can try liquid diets, high protein/low carb diets, low fat diets until I'm blue in the face, and I won't productively lose weight. For me to even move from morbidly obese to overweight, it would take me 2 - 3 years of perfect eating with 120 minutes of cardio a day plus 60 minutes of weight lifting 4 - 6 times a week to lose weight. In the meantime I could continue to do damage to my heart and possibly develop diabetes, which would futher compound my problems, thus slowing weight loss.

By having WLS I am trying to fool my biology. Shock it into giving up the weight. It means that my body is going to have to get used to living on 1000 calories a day - something that I cannot do without surgery. By surgically shrinking my stomach pouch and bypassing the portion of my stomach that processes food, I should lose weight. Is it a perfect solution? Umm, no. But if I don't want to be like this for the remainder of my life, this is what I have to do.

It's still a difficult decision. I am choosing to alter my physical makeup, change how I ingest food, make drastic changes to how I get energy and nutrition to lose weight. It's not without risks. Bottom line, there is a 1% chance of death. There is a good chance that this won't work for me, meaning I will go through this only to realize my body won't give up the weight, whether on 1000 calories a day or not. Most of the people I've read about don't regret their decision, even those who experience major problems. The allure of being thin is worth those risks. I guess my biggest fear, next to death, is that this might change my relationships, especially with Don. I don't want him to regret this decision.

This isn't a magic pill. By having this surgery doesn't mean I will wake up the day after and be at my ideal weight. This is not going to be easy. I will have to re-learn how to eat. I will have to give up foods I love. I might be able to taste something I love, but I can't eat a serving of it, and I will have to be satisfied with that. I will have to give up things like gourmet cooking, which I love. I mean, why go through the exercise if I can't partake? I will have to learn to make my needs first - exercise, the right foods, my emotions.

This will continue to be a "weight loss" blog. I may have choosen surgery over Atkins, Weight Watchers, South Beach but it's still a blog about my quest to lose weight. I may never see 140, but the idea of having the scale's first number be a 2 instead of a 3 is very appealing.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Surgery Update

Things are really starting to move! I came home Friday to find a letter from my insurance company and a bill from the hospital. I was afraid that the insurance company was not going to cover my psych evals, nutritionist & PT appointments. I knew that was going to be over $500.00. I didn't know which to open first. I bit the bullet and opened the bill - $51.00. That I could deal with. I then opened the letter from my insurance company, figuring it was going to be a denial, or at least a request for more information. It was an approval letter! They are going to cover pretty much everything. I think there is a slight deductable, but nothing we can't handle.

I called my baratric nurse, and got her voicemail. I was so excited I gave her my call back number as a combination of mine and my boss'. Anyway, she got a hold of me this morning, and I am scheduled to meet with the surgeon this Thursday. It's at this consult that I will set a date. Ideally I will get it the first week of October since Don will have a bye on that Sunday and he can be with me the day of surgery and bring me home.

Now that things are starting to fall into place, I am getting very excited but very nervous at the same time. I mean, by Thursday afternoon I will have a definite surgery date and goals to work toward. The one tip I've learned is that the post-surgical diet is very "South Beach," so I picked up the book and plan on beginning Stage One next week. It's similar to the Atkins Induction - lots of protein and veggies, no fruit or bread. I do know that 10 days before surgery I have to be on a total liquid diet - it decreases the fat around the liver. That should be fun.

Besides taking a hard look at my foods (I've really been playing fast and loose since vacation) I need to focus on my exercise. Again, it's something I've let slide the last few weeks. I will also start attending the Support Groups held the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month. Every bit of preparation helps!

The weekend was nice. I cleaned the master bedroom and master bathroom plus the second bathroom on Saturday. I left the office and the guest rooms for this weekend. Don was home on Sunday so we took the dogs for a walk, spent some time on the deck and I BBQ'd some steaks. I also did up some chicken just so we could have something for the week. I have to start working on cleaning out the fridge to get ready to start South Beach next Monday. Nothing like eating all the bad food in the house before going on a diet....

Friday, August 05, 2005

TGIF, and Payday to Boot

The sleep test is done. I have "mild" apena, which means that I occassionally stop breathing in the middle of the night. My answer was, "Well what do you expect with 24 monitors glued to you, 2 prongs stuck up your nose, sleeping in a strange bed...." Sheesh.

It actually wasn't that bad. I did have to sleep in PJs, so that was weird. I usually sleep in undies or the buff (yeah, I know, TMI). I had monitors on my shins to see if I have restless legs, 2 straps around me (midsection and chest), two prong monitors in my nostrils with straps around my ears to keep them in place, monitors on my collar bone, chin, behind the ears, on my throat and forehead, a light monitor on my middle finger and monitors on my scalp. They take all the cords and plug them into a large unit by the bed, so tossing and turning are out of the picture. The room was way warmer than I am used to and the pillows weren't as fluffy. Don't even get me started on the thread count of the "sheets." Plus my room was right across from the restrooms so every time someone flushed it woke me. I'm usually a light sleeper in unfamiliar situations, so it's not surprising that I would be a little jumpy.

The recommendation is that I use a CPAP machine, although it's optional. I would need to do this from now until surgery and then for a few months after surgery. Sleep apena is when you stop breathing and your body doesn't get enough oxygen. Severe cases are 20+ times per hour. I was less than 5, but again, I think some of that was due to my situation. Anyway, by using a CPAP, it ensures your breathing muscles won't collapse during surgery when you are in a deep sleep. I'll wait until I speak to the surgeon before making a decision.

The weather has finally turned, at least for a few days. The 90+ degrees with a heat index of over 100 was getting a little old. Yesterday it was in the low 80s with a great breeze. I got home from work and spent a lot of time outside with the dogs. Don even got home at a decent hour and we had a late dinner. He's going to be at camp late because of a night scrimmage, but he won't have to be on the road until mid-morning tomorrow and he will be working from home on Sunday.

I still have to tackle the upstairs tomorrow, cleaning and organizing. Not exciting, but it needs to get done. My reward for getting everything done will be a mani/pedi on Sunday.

I have my mid-year review today. I'm looking forward to it, although no money is attached. We have a "common" review date so we all get raises that hit in March. We have a mid-year "check up" to see how we're doing against goals and expectations.

Off to get some breakfast. For some reason, I'm really hungry this morning and I think the cafe downstairs is having blueberry pancakes today. Yummm.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Wild Kingdom

So in addition to the birds, rabbits, Canadian geese, deer and chipmunks who want to move in with us, we now have a snake. It's just a garter snake, but still. Baja and Jager were very interested in some bushes in our backyard and since we had a chipmunk in the same area last week, I went to investigate. I looked down and there was a black and white striped snake. I didn't scream or freak out, but it did startle me - I'm looking for something fuzzy and come upon something slippery.

I have my sleep test tonight. They want to make sure I don't have sleep apena or any other sleep disorder. If they really wanted to study my sleep they would come here and see how Don, two dogs and I all sleep in one bed. I probably won't know what to do with all that extra space and no dogs hogging covers. That means I won't get to see Don tonight. We have our morning routine pretty well worked out since he's been hitting the road about 25 minutes after I leave. Next week shouldn't be as bad as practices start later, although that means he won't be home until later. Players have a day off the Sunday and next Saturday and their first pre-season game is here next Friday, so I should see more of him. They break camp on the 18th, so only two more weeks of this craziness.

I've actually kept the downstairs pretty clean since this weekend. I am going to have to spend Saturday cleaning the upstairs, but since we hardly even go in the two extra bedrooms and the extra bathroom, it's really just the "master suite" and the office. I should start a Goodwill pile. I've decided on getting rid of several books - ones I've read and won't read again. I usually like to keep my books, but I only have so much space.

In preparation for the sleep test tonight, I have to figure how to get one of my acrylic nails off. I swear I read the instructions several times but I must have missed the part where they need to attach some kind of monitor to a "non-pinkie" finger and it can't have a fake nail or nail polish on it. The problem is that my nail salon does such a good job, none of my nails lift. I really don't want to cut it since I can't make it into the salon until this weekend. Why, oh why can't I break a nail when I need to?