The Ongoing Adventures of Naked Girl

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

Friday, September 30, 2005

Liquid Diet, Day Six

So I knew this was just going too smoothly. I got on the scale this morning and it was 324.6, compared to yesterday's 324.8. The soup I chose yesterday had a little more sodium than what I had been eating, but other than that, no major changes in diet. I'm trying to get a little more water in today to see if that helps, but I went out to lunch, and even though I had soup, it was cream-based. Creamy soups are OK on my liquid diet, but I'm thinking I probably should have passed on eating anything. Now 3 huge marble cakes are sitting at the end of my row. Even though I'm not hungry and I've told everyone around I'm on liquids, it looks so tempting. Only another half hour here so I think I can hold out.

I had my appointment with the dietician this morning. The plan is as follows:

Clear Liquids - 10/5 to 10/12
Full Liquids - 10/12 to 10/15
Pureed Foods - 10/16 to 11/5
Mashed Foods - 11/5 to 12/5
Soft Foods - 12/5 to 1/5

The Full Liquid stage is shorter than I expected with the Pureed Foods stage a little longer. To get an idea of what I can eat and when, check out my Plan.

I think Don and I are going to a movie tonight. I can at least have something to drink, and that should take my mind off of any anxiety. Hair appointment is at 11:00 tomorrow morning and I think I may squeeze in a pedicure. The rest of tomorrow will be spent doing some light cleaning. On Sunday, I am going to work in my guest rooms getting the bed and linens set both for my recovery period and my parents' visit. I'll have to get some things at the store in preparation for the hospital stay and the period after I'm home. I do have 5 or 6 books sitting on my kitchen table, plus a slew of magazines.

Work is pretty well wrapped up. I have to come in on Monday to do time cards, but that will only be for a few hours. I have my final doctor appointment Monday afternoon. I think I'm pretty well ready...

Hoping I see a little more of a loss tomorrow morning. Maybe a long walk with the dogs will help get the scale moving!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Liquid Diet, Day Five

Well, down another 2 pounds, for a total of 11.8 since 9/1 and 5.8 since Sunday. My goal of 320 is only 4.8 pounds away, and I still have 5 more days of this. I am 9.8 away from 315, which I thought was a reach goal, but I might actually make that. Needless to say this has motivated me to really stick with this and NOT cheat.

Here's some stats from Monday - Wednesday:

Monday - 1480 calories, 83g protein, 26/53/21 (fat/carbs/protein)
Tuesday - 958 calories, 52g protein, 25/53/22
Wednesday - 781 calories, 45g protein, 26/51/23

I definitely seem less hungry, although I am more tired. I've been trying to get some of my walking in early, even if it's just a few laps around the floor, but even that's been tiring me out. I'm working on keeping my water intake to about 100 ounces, whether that's straight water or Propel/Crystal Light. I don't seem to have any cravings per se - sometimes I get a whiff of food and that stirs the digestive juices, but for the most part I can see food and not want any.

Marla asks an interesting question about eating solid food versus drinking liquid, and how is it different? I have tried several versions of all kinds of diet - South Beach, Atkins, a nutritionist, etc. and even did fasting and some form of a liquid diet. None have been successful, at least for me, long term. I don't know if it's because I started on a modified liquid diet (protein drinks for breakfast/lunch and a sensible dinner) and then went to a full liquid diet or if I'm choosing the right liquids to diet on that is helping me lose the weight. I don't remember having such immediate success on any diet, however. I do think there is a difference between 1500 calories of liquid and 1500 calories of food. I don't know if there is a physiological explanation on if the body processes liquids differently than solids, but I would think that is why I'm seeing some success at this.

I did get to meet one of my blog readers yesterday. Blond Girl works in the same office, and she had surgery 2 years ago, so it was nice to connect with someone who has been through it. Her surgery was not picture perfect, so I was able to hear first hand some of the complications that can arise. She's still happy she had it, and looks wonderful. She shared some before and after photos, and once again I am amazed at how the two don't even look like the same person.

I also sent out an e-mail to the 100 people or so I support letting them know I will be out of the office. For those who have asked, I have told them that I'm having WLS. All have been extremely supportive and many have said they know someone who has had it. I was expecting some negative comments, but none so far.

This weekend could be tough. Don leaves for Atlanta on Saturday afternoon so I will be puttering around the house most of Saturday and all of Sunday. I do have a hair appointment Sat. morning - I'll be changing my current hair color so I will have to have Don do some before and after shots. I'm currently a dark blonde with light blonde highlights and will be going to a cinnamon color with chunky blonde highlights. I don't think I'll cut my hair - it's just hitting my shoulders now. I may if I start losing too much hair, usually about 4-5 months after surgery.

On the non-diet front, this morning was the coldest it's been since mid-May. At 6:30 AM, it was 34 degrees. Poor Don had to take the dogs out at 3:15 AM, so I can only imagine the temps then. Jager has also discovered the comforts of being under the covers. She is such a snuggle bunny...

Boss is out of the office today so that will give me a chance to really work on cleaning off my desk and getting things ready for my last day next week. I'm pretty well organized, just a few loose ends.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Liquid Diet, Day Four

Made it through another day, garlic bread and all. The only tough part was watching Don snack last night. It was total head hunger and I kind of snapped. It's much better this morning, especially when I got on the scale for my official Wednesday weigh-in and saw 326.8, which means 9.8 pounds lost in 4 weeks. I'm still hoping for under 320 by next Wednesday, and on the liquid diet I just might make it. I did lower my calories to 950 yesterday. The doctor's office doesn't have a minimum or maximum on the pre-op liquid diet. I would like to keep it under 1000 calories though since that's probably the best way to ensure the magical 320 number.

Don went with me to my support group last night. It was nice having him along and seeing what everyone has gone through or is going through. We usually divide up into two groups - ones who are more than one year out and those who are less than one year out or pre-ops. There was some good tips and information passed around. The leader of the group, Rose, had the surgery 5 years ago, lost 120 pounds, put back on 15 but has maintained the 105 pound loss for 2+ years. She doesn't fret about the 15 pounds gained since it's still 105 pounds less than where she started. She seems to take a very practical approach to the surgery. For her, it meant a more active lifestyle, traveling opportunities (she used to pass those up because of her weight), more adventuresome eating. She is an inspiration to me. It's nice to see that someone 5+ years out is living "normally."

One theme that crops up week after week are those who hit their 5 or 6 month anniversary. Most have lost between 70 and 100 pounds already. This is usually the time the swelling has gone down and your stomach has settled. Most people worry that they are able to eat more and wonder if they have stretched their pouch. When one of the girls described what her idea of "too much" was, I almost laughed - one piece of toast with chicken salad. Ah, well...that is my life to come - getting full on 1/2 a sandwich.

So, it's now 6 days, 23 hours until surgery. Not that I'm counting or anything.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Liquid Diet, Day Three

Boy, are these titles going to be boring for the next few days.

Made it through Day Two with no real issues. I did have some head hunger when the guy in the next row brought in pizza, but nothing I couldn't handle. I did bring an extra cup of soup for the "just in case" hunger. Today's challenge is going to be our catered staff meeting, but I think I'm up for it. The one thing I am finding amazing is just how quickly calories add up, even on a liquid diet. With 5 protein drinks, 28 ounces of soup and two flavored waters, I was close to 1400 calories. Still, I was down 1.8 pounds since Sunday and down 8 since the beginning of the month.

I did have a great sleep last night. It's finally decent sleeping weather. Even though it's dipping into the low 40s at night, we're sleeping with the windows open. I actually slept from 9:30 to 4:00 and even went back to sleep until 5:30 or so. I was a little worried since it seemed like I peed 19 times yesterday and I thought I would need to get up more than once last night.

It still seems like I have a ton to do before next Wednesday, but I'm pretty confident I'll get it done. I hung a few more photos over the weekend. I don't like one wall since I tried to use nails that were already there. The two photos are too small for the space so I think I will re-do the arrangement for my photos of the Eiffel Tower. Despite that, I still have about a dozen framed photos to hang before next week. The other big thing is to get the second guest room finished. That will probably be my room, at least for a few nights, so I don't have to worry about my tossing and turning keeping Don up or the dogs kicking me.

The one thing I should call the nurse on is whether or not I can have a few breath mints. I have the sugar free Altoids, and two are less that 1 calorie. I just hate the coating in my mouth that milk leaves. Yuck. I can't imagine mints hurting anything but I don't want to screw anything up, either.

Off to get everything done here at work. I have three full days and two half days (Friday and Monday) to get my desk clear. I'm on the phone with our Tech Desk trying to see if they are ever going to get me cleared for access from home so I don't get too far behind while I'm out. If I can at least read e-mail, I'll feel like I'm not totally lost.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Liquid Diet, Day Two

Chugging along with this liquid diet. I haven't had too many issues - some head hunger yesterday, but nothing serious. My plan for today is:

7:30 - Carnation Instant Breakfast
8:00 - Black coffee
10:00 - Propel water
10:30 - Slim Fast
12:00 - Soup
1:30 - Slim Fast
2:30 - Crystal Light
3:00 - SF Jello
4:30 - Slim Fast
6:00 - Soup
7:30 - Carnation Instant Breakfast

Of course, I will be drinking an additional 1-2 liters of water throughout the day. I also have given up on FitDay and started tracking my food using I like their reporting functions better and I find it's easier to find foods.

I didn't sleep well last night. I got up at 2:30 to go to the bathroom and couldn't go back to sleep. I'm now at the point of questioning my decision. I talked to my dad yesterday, and he got choked up when he told me how proud he was of me for making this decision, blah, blah, blah. I got choked up because I wanted to scream, "How can you be proud of me?" I'm not going to rehash every thing here - this is a decision that is supported my both my doctors in LA and here as well as my nutritionist who would never suggest something this drastic if he didn't think was good for me. I'm not proud of the decision I've made - it's just something that needs to be done if I want to be healthy. As Marla said last week, we all gain weight differently and we will all lose weight differently.

I'm sure there will be a lot more back-and-forth between now and next Wednesday morning. I do have two available support groups this week, I'll be meeting with a woman at work who had the surgery and there will be one more support group next week. I meet with the dietician on Friday and my own doctor on Monday - plenty of time to get my questions answered.

Work is going to be hell today. My one main job on Monday is to get payroll done. The payroll system is down, and at noon, they still do not have an ETA as to when it will be up. If it doesn't come up by 4:00 today, I won't be able to do OT for this week's paycheck plus I will have to go in on Wednesday and adjust anyone who had sick or vacation time. Just flippin' wonderful. Like I don't have enough shit going on right now as it is....

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Liquid Diet, Day One

So, Day One. No big problems, but it is only 11:30 AM. I've had the first of my 5-6 Slimfast/Ensure/Carnation Instant Breakfasts - I'll have one at noon, 2:00, 4:00, 6:00 and maybe 8:00. I have 2 cartons of organic chicken broth, one of Miso and one of cream of tomato. I also have 6 large Propel chillin' and lots of water to drink either plain or with Crystal Light. I feel like I've prepared pretty well with the partial liquid diet I've been doing so I'm not freaked like so many.

One of the things WLS patients debate is to have a last meal or to not. I opted to keep on doing what I've been doing - eating smart for my last meal. Maybe not the best choices, but I only ate about 1/2 of my meal last night so I wasn't stuffed when we got home. The one thing I really enjoyed was the wine - we shared a bottle of Ferrari Carano merlot, which is one of the wines (along with their Chardonnay) we served at our wedding. I know my new stomach won't be able to handle ANY alcohol for 4-6 months, if ever, and even if I can tolerate it, I will only be able to drink 1 or 2 glasses at the most. I was able to get all the white wine in my "cellar" drunk in the last several weeks since I know those won't keep. I still have about 20 bottles of red and 2 bottles of Champangne. Don't know about the bubbly - that may become something I take to a party. At least I'll have wine on hand when my parents come - they are good for a few bottles at least!

The weather here is still overcast and threatening rain. Our one tree in the back yard is showing signs of fall - patches of yellow nestled within the green. It's cool but still a little muggy. Not a bad day for watching NFL games. Don is off covering the Vikings/Saints game (we actually saw the Saints' owner at the restaurant last night). I hope Vikes win as that would make his job a little easier. I don't want him to have to deal with covering a potential coaching change during the bye week, which is the same week I'm having surgery.

I have a stack of mags to read, and if the games get boring, I do have movies TiVO'd. I do want to keep it pretty simple today, so no major chores other than 3 loads of laundry.

The dogs are pretty mellow - still recovering from their shots yesterday, I suspect. Baja may need a game of bubbles if the weather allows, but I won't be on the hook for chasing him around the yard.

I'm sure I'll post later as I get further and further into this liquid diet thing...

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Clean Bill of Health

Well, not for me, but for the pups. We had our yearly exam and shots and both are healthy. Baja has a little bit of an ear infection, which is typical for his breed but nothing to worry about. They both did really well, getting poked and prodded. Baja is down a few pounds and could stand to lose a few more so we'll watch that. Jager is at a perfect weight and her shoulder/elbow doesn't seem to be any worse. The vet even complimented us on their teeth, so I guess the Greenies are worth their price!

It's overcast and rainy here today. Kind of a laze-around-the-house day. I'll probably hop on the treadmill here in a bit and if it clears up, a dog walk will be in order, although they are crashed out right now. What I really need to do is work on updating our Quicken - I'm two months, soon to be going on three months behind. Plus, my catalogs are multiplying again. I swear, I just dumped about 10 pounds worth. Well, it is that time of year and I am on every single mailing list in the entire world.

This is my last day of solid food before going on the pre-op liquid diet. One would think I would be out eating my own weight in food, but I had my Sugar Free Carnation Instant Breakfast and some coffee. I'm about to go have some Crystal Light and maybe some miso soup for lunch. I'm a little scared to get on the scale tomorrow. Even though I have had three good weeks of following plan, my "ladies days" started on Thursday and I am feeling a bit bloated. I'm not really scared about the liquid diet. I'm glad I've done a modified one over the last three weeks to prepare for it. I'm not really suffering any hunger pangs and I'm not having cravings - even when I smelled Krispy Kremes earlier this morning.

I see blue sky in the distance. As soon as the dogs get their next energy burst I will take them for a long walk. The weather is perfect for it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Fourteen Days Away

By this time in 2 weeks I will probably still be in surgery, but close to being done. It's slowly dawning on me that this is happening. I haven't had a good freak out in a few weeks, but give me time.

I did check in on my friend who had surgery on Monday with the same surgeon I will have. She looked great, and felt pretty good. She did opt to stay the extra night in the hospital, even though the doctor cleared her to go. I would have been out of there so fast! Anyway, she gave me the low down on what to expect. There seems to be a lot of waiting around - for a 7:00 AM surgery, I have to check in at 5:00 AM. It takes about an hour to get things sorted out and then they have you in pre-op for about 60 minutes. During that last hour, I won't be with Don, so that kind of bums me out, but they do give you Ativan so at least I'll be buzzin'. Farrah was done in just over two hours and was up and walking in about three hours. I'm not looking forward to spending the night in the hospital, much less two. Even the thought of it gives me a panic attack.

Anyway, I forgot to do my weekly weigh in, but I'm thinking I'm going to be more interested in what the scale says on Sunday morning for the start of the liquid diet. I am pretty well stocked with what I'll need for the next 10 days. I will be going out to dinner Saturday night to celebrate Don's birthday. We'll be going to Murray's, Home of the Silver Butter Knife Steak. Their specialty is a 28 oz. NY strip steak for two that is carved tableside and can be cut with a butter knife. Looks like the dogs will be eating well that night!

On a more serious note, my heart goes out to those in the path of Rita. It seems like there is a lot more awareness and people are heeding the call to evacuate. Please stop by and see Brighton who left her home in Galveston last night. Let's hope Rita peters out before she hits land.

Monday, September 19, 2005

I (Heart) Mondays

Well, I like Mondays following a road game for the Vikings. I've scheduled half days for these Mondays - going into the office at 10:30 and leaving at 2:30. It was so hard getting up, getting ready, getting the dogs fed, etc. and leaving at 6:15. This way, I can sleep in a little, take my time getting ready, spend some time with the dogs and get in right around the time the team leaders have their time cards done. Don's plane should be landing around 9:20, so I will probably just miss him.

I actually did get a lot done yesterday. I still have to tackle my closet and dresser, culling some clothes. And when did my books start multiplying? I have a 7 foot/6 shelf bookcase in the family room, two smaller ones in the kitchen, 1 short one in the living room, 3 in the office and one in my bedroom - and I still don't have enough room for all my books. They are doubled up, triple stacked. The funny thing is that I went through the bookshelves upstairs and only came up with 3 books I could part with. The scary thing? I have about 10 pages of books on my wishlist, with more to add!!!

I did sneak another peek at the scale on Saturday morning - it's officially below 330, so I'm encouraged by that. I was really hoping to go into surgery below 320, and it looks like I might just make that. I have three people from my support group having surgery today (scratch that - 2 - one was rescheuled) so I am excited to hear about their journey. One of the women has my surgeon and she goes under at 9:00. On the other side, however, there were two messages posted to the boards about two people who had surgery last week and are in critical condition. As Allan pointed out, the national death rate is 2 in 200. My hospital is much better than that - closer to 1 in 300 - and they haven't had any deaths in over a year. As I get closer, I do think about my decision and all possible outcomes. This isn't a slam dunk, that's for sure.

I think I could get used to this "easing into the day" routine. Don't think my boss will continue to pay me full time for part time work, though.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Getting Motivated

I am finding it very hard getting rolling this morning. Granted it is only a little after 8:00 AM, but I have so much to do. I only got one of 4 errands run yesterday (Target) so I need to get my car washed, go to CostCo and the grocery store and get gas (it's down to $2.49). I do want to get those out of the way early so I can spend at least part of today watching the NFL games. Yes, I'm a junkie, otherwise how to you explain my waking at 4:00 AM to turn on ESPN News to check on the USC score (they beat Arkansas, 70-17)?

I did get a few items hung on the wall (one mirror, two sconces). I still have a boatload of photos to get up. What I really need to do is dust, sweep, vacuum and mop. And get the office organized. And file bills. And update 2 months of Quicken. And go through my closets & drawers. I've also come to the realization that I have too many magazine subscriptions - when you get the next month's issue before you read last month's, maybe it's time to let some lapse. I figure I will give up Better Homes & Garden, Mspl/St. Paul, Minnesota Monthly, Bon Appetit, Sports Illustrated. I will keep Newsweek, Body + Soul, Martha Stewart Living, Real Simple, Organic Life, Experience Life and Real Food. Still probably more than I need, but I can cull from there. The tough decision is going to be whether to get rid of my back issues or not. I really should - I have before and regretted it somewhat, but they take up so much room!

I'm currently watching CBS Sunday Morning and they are previewing the films coming this fall. I may have to start going to the theater, even if it is by myself. I still haven't seen "March of the Penguins." In no particular order - "Harry Potter," "Corpse Bride," "Capote," "The Squid and the Whale," "Elizabethtown," "Rent," "King Kong," "Chronicals of Narnia," "Memoirs of a Geisha," just to name a few.

Well, sitting here blogging is not getting any of my chores done. Off to at least get the downstairs done. Maybe after this feature on Craig's List.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Playing Catch Up

Man, miss a few days of blog reading and does the world ever pass you by...

Tagged by Scott - List 10 things that make me happy. I'm not going to tag anyone specific since I want to read all of your answers.

1. My husband
2. My dogs
3. Holidays with my family
4. Great meals, fine wine, entertaining company and witty conversation
5. My teams winning
6. Reading a good book
7. Spending time in Santa Barbara
8. Accomplishing tasks
9. Paying it forward
10. TiVo

Seen on Danielle's:

5 Years Ago We were living in Marina Del Rey, I was working for AMEX and Don had just started with the NFL. If you had asked me then, I would have never have guessed that in 5 years we would have bought and sold a house in LA and moved in MN. Yep, life's go to pitch is a curveball. Although it relies heavily on a knuckleball as well.

5 Songs I Know All The Words To I'm sure there are more than 5, but the ones that come to mind are - "No Woman, No Cry" (Bob Marley), "Paradise By The Dashboard Light" (Meat Loaf), "Heartbreaker" (Pat Benatar), "Express Yourself" (Madonna), "Woke Up This Morning" (Alabama 3 - this is the theme song from The Sopranos).

5 Snacks I Enjoy Tough one since I'm not snacking...but back in the day - hummus with pitas, popcorn, roasted cashews, my homemade Chex mix, kettle corn.

5 Things I'd Do With $1 Million Pay off all my bills, home improvements (new kitchen, finished basement, new deck, landscaping), donate to various charities, revisit Las Ventanas (where Don and I honeymooned), take Don to Paris.

5 Places I Would Run Away To Santa Barbara, Hawaii, Mexico, Fiji, Tahiti.

5 Things I Would Never Wear Haute couture, latex, nipple rings, a jockstrap, a hoop skirt.

5 Favorite TV Shows House, Lost, Nip/Tuck, Desperate Housewives, CSI (the original).

5 Greatest Joys (I'll try and make this different from the list above) My family, my morning coffee, taking the dogs for a walk, sunsets over the Pacific, autumn nights with a full moon.

5 of My Favorite Toys TiVo, my iPod, my Mac PowerBook, my digital camera, bubbles (OK, those are really Baja's favorite, but I love to watch him chase them).

5 of My Favorite Words (Not on the original list, but what the hay...) Bloviate, plethora, callipygian, asshat, naked.

Yes, it's a crazy Friday night at the Seeholzer residence.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Back To Our Regular Scheduled Programming...

Good thing I didn't have time to post yesterday - it would have been a very snarky post...

As Wednesday is now my weigh in day, I hopped on the scale, excited to see what another week of eating about 1200 calories per day would do. Imagine my surprise when the scale read 335.0. WTF? A gain?? So my total loss for two weeks was 1.6? And I was up from the week before? My thoughts - "Fuck this."

And just to prove I am a slave to the scale, especially my moods, I got on again this morning and it read 331.8. Yes, down 4.8 pounds in two weeks and one day. Whatever.

To top off my bad day yesterday, I found out that the job I had applied for is now on hold. I was so sure I was going to get it. I had already had plans for the extra money it would have meant. Oh, well - I can only hope this is just a temporary hold. I will talk to my boss about doing some shadow training in that department to make me even more attractive if the job opens again.

Today, however, is going to be a better day. How could it not? The scale was down!

I have another 10 days on my current food plan and then I go to the offical 10 day pre-op liquid diet. I spoke to the dietician who gave me some guidelines - water, coffee/tea, broth (no cream soups), uncarbonated/unsweetened beverages (Propel, Fruit H20) are unlimited. I do have to drink 8 ounces of Carnation Instant Breakfast (no sugar added) or Ensure or Boost 5 to 6 times a day (probably 7A, 10A, 1P, 4P, 7P and 10P). That should result in some interesting posts...

As my date draws closer (20 days out now), I'm finding I have more and more work to get done before I leave. And don't even talk to me about chores around the house. My list is already a mile long. Don is on the road this weekend so I'm hoping to get some of it done. My big goal is getting the office cleaned, the rest of my pictures hung and the two guest rooms ready. Fun, fun, fun...

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


How do you make sense of such a national tragedy when you are personally involved?

The days after 9/11 were very chaotic, emotional, draining. I also had 9/12 off - again, I had some vacation time to burn and chose random days. Although I was home, I was involved in several work conference calls. At the time, I was on the corporate travel side of American Express. My client was the California version of Enron (although we didn't know it at the time), Global Crossing. They had over 200 people scattered throughout the globe. When the directive came, planes just landed at the nearest airport, no matter how far that was from their destination. That meant, we had people who were supposed to be flying from London to Los Angeles in the outer regions of Canada. Or a group of non-English speaking, Middle Eastern trainees stuck in Charlotte. A lot of people rented cars and just drove across the country. Don had one co-worker who had been in Denver for the Monday night football game. They had been on the runway when they pulled the plane back to the terminal. The misinformation ran rampant - they would take off later on, wait, Wednesday....well, maybe Thursday. He finally rented a car and drove to Buffalo, NY.

We were living about 2 miles from LAX. Although we weren't in the flight path, we were parallel to it. The first few nights were especially eerie with no air traffic noise. They were using LAX for military flights, so at 3:00 AM when a plane woke me up, my heart always skipped a few beats.

Things were just as crazy with my dad and Dean. It was Dean's sister, Patricia, who died. When I first moved to NYC, not knowing anyone, it was Patricia who came over and helped me paint my apartment. That was the first day I met her. She was married to Warren, a high-level corporate attorney. They had a beautiful daughter, Colby. They would often have me over for dinner - Patricia was quiet the chef. She also made a mean pitcher of martinis.

I think Warren and Dean knew pretty early on that Patricia had died. She had been on the phone with a friend, making plans for dinner that night when the line went dead. The friend tried calling back a few times, but figured that there was something wrong with the phone lines.

I called my dad right after the South Tower fell. I knew March McClellan was in one of the towers, but I didn't know which one or which floor. There was such confusion in the reporting, I wasn't even sure which tower had been hit first or which fell first. I think Dean finally spoke to Warren pretty early on. By then he knew Patricia was at her desk and on the phone when the plane hit. He hadn't told Colby, 9, and their son, Jordan, 2. Colby even made a Missing sign and posted on the walls and fences of downtown NYC.

At some point, before the end of the week, officials informed Warren that Patricia had probably died on impact and they would not be able to recover anything, although Warren did provide DNA material just in case.

I went back to work on Thursday. We had been told to open 24/7 through the weekend, so I worked some long hours helping clients find their way back home. My favorite story was from a GC employee who had been on vacation in Paris with his wife. They wanted, like so many others, to get back home. I can't even begin to describe his attitude, and I can only imagine how he treated the desk people at his hotel. He had one of my agents in tears, he was so abusive. My agent hung up on him - she said she meant to put him on hold and her finger "slipped." I called him back and explained that we were only relaying what the government and airlines were telling us. He wanted to know why we hadn't chartered a flight and I told him GC had sent their corporate jet to London since there was a large contingent of employees there, but there were only a few in Paris and they were content with staying put until this blew over. He directed some choice words at me, questioning my competence. I said, "I understand your frustrations. This is a unique situation and we are working closely with the airlines to get you accommodated. This tragedy has affected us all. As a matter of fact, I lost friends and relatives, so I fully understand your need to get back home as soon as possible." His response? "I don't care about your personal problems." I think we got him and his wife out on separate flights on the following Monday or Tuesday. In coach. Karma, baby. Oh, and he was "downsized" a few weeks later. Don't mess with someone when they are good friends with your travel manager.

Don and I flew to NYC for Patricia's memorial service the following weekend. We took a red-eye, and the airport and airplane were pretty much deserted. As we were waiting for our flight, a pilot walked through the terminal playing the national anthem on his harmonica. When we got to NYC, the one thing we both noticed was how quite it was - no taxi horns, no hum that hangs over the city. It was a gorgeous day - the first day of fall, I think. We had lunch at a cafe on the upper Westside and sat outside. People walked around like they were in a museum.

The memorial service was really nice. It was packed with co-workers, friends and family. Dean spoke, and the one thing I remember him doing was having everyone stand to give Patricia a standing ovation. Colby also spoke, and hearing a daughter honor her mother under those circumstances was especially touching. Warren didn't trust himself to speak, so he wrote a letter and had his brother read it. It was very emotional. Patricia was 39. Warren was 55 - a widower with an 9-year old daughter and a 2-year old son. And this was just one tragedy out of 2700.

Four years later, I still have an emotional reaction if I am caught off guard and see footage of that day. If I know it's coming, I'm usually OK. The moments of silence, espcially the one at 8:46 AM, always gets to me. Sometimes I don't even realize the emotions I still hold on to. I'd like to say it's become easier.

Patricia was taken from us way too early. She was beautiful and vibrant. Her husband and her children were her life. I have so many memories - drinking Kosher wine at Sedar, her calling my dad and telling him she was taking me to get a tattoo, giving me good advice like never getting your underarms waxed. The last time I saw her was at Dean's 50th birthday in July, 2001. She was the life of the party, and I can't imagine that's changed, wherever she may be.

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Sunday, September 11, 2005

We Will Never Forget

Just as my grandparents remember where they were when they first heard about Pearl Harbor, and my parents remember JFK, I will always remember 9/11.

I had the day off. Don was getting ready to get in the shower and I was in the kitchen making coffee. It was about 6:45 AM, California time. My mom calls. She's hurrying her words. "Do you have the TV on?" she yells into the phone. "What?" I ask. "Do you have the fucking TV on?" she yells again. All I could think of was Columbine. She was a teacher at La Canada High and I thought there was a shooting. "The country is under attack. New York has been bombed." I turned on the TV and got my first glimpse at a beautiful New York morning, marred by smoke.

I hung up the phone and went to get Don out of the shower. Tom Brokaw was talking about the Pentagon and planes and bombs. I was trying to relay it to Don, and probably not doing a very good job of it. He finally got out of the shower and came into the kitchen to see what the ruckus was about. As I'm trying to tell him what's been going on, I look at the screen and the second tower wasn't there. I think I might have yelled over Brokaw's commentary, "There's supposed to be two towers. Where is the second one? Where the fuck is the second one?" I watched the early footage of people jumping or falling with horror. I remember hearing someone talking about how hot jet fuel burns -- over 1000 degrees. The images of people jumping, choosing their fate rather than fate choosing them, will stay with me forever.

I lived in NYC for a few years. I knew people who worked in the Towers. AMEX had an on-site office at March McClellan in the North tower. My aunt worked for MM. I had friends in the South tower who worked for my old agency.

I called my dad who confirmed that my aunt, Patricia, was in at work early that day. She normally didn't get in so early but it was Election Day, and she and her husband, Warren, went to vote and then had breakfast together. She was on the phone with a friend making plans for dinner that night when the first plane hit the North Tower. She never had a chance. They estimate the plane entered between the 92nd and the 99th floors. She was on the 97th, next to the window. If she had been standing and looking out the window while she was on the phone, she probably would have seen the plane coming right at her.

Of course, we didn't know all of that right then. All we knew is that she was at work, but didn't know which tower or what floor. Phone connections to NY were spotty at best and they couldn't get through to Warren to confirm anything.

I called the office to check in. Of course, all hell had broken out there. There were rumors of other hijacked planes. Airports were closing. We had passengers on planes and travel managers were calling to find out where their people were. Our desk that handles CBS was trying to handle all the calls for the western CBS stations and affiliates trying to get to NYC. It was chaos. I spoke to my boss at the time who told me to stay home. She knew that I had friends missing and didn't think having me here would really help. Don went to work, but promised to come home right away. As it turned out, the NFL closed their offices in NYC and decided to close LA as well because no one, at that time knew, who was or was not a target.

I remember standing in the kitchen, watching the second tower collapse.I've been in those towers. Even though it was early, I knew thousands of people had died. If they had been struck even an hour later, at 9:46 AM instead of 8:46 AM, the toll would have been significantly higher.

At some point, I decided what I needed was a drink. I usually don't have more than wine, maybe some beer and alcohol for cooking (Marsala wine, brandy, etc.). I did have scotch in my pantry and poured some over ice. It tasted like crap, and it didn't do anything to calm my nerves. I also smoked a few cigarettes. I don't know why - I'm not a smoker but a stiff drink and a cigarette seemed to take my mind off the events for a moment.

What I didn't know, until much later, maybe even the next day, is that my aunt, 13 AMEX employees and 3 friends all perished. My aunt and and AMEX employees probably died instantly, maybe even "vaporized," which, given the alternative, might not have been a bad thing. My other 3 friends were in the South Tower. Again, they weren't usually in before 9:00 AM, but had decided to hold a staff meeting prior to work. They were high above the impact point in the South Tower and could not escape. Although this is speculation, they probably knew, at some point, they were going to die.

One of the AMEX employees was actually about to enter the building when the first plane hit. She was hit by the falling landing gear, which crushed both her legs. She survived, but her life was changed forever, like so many that day.

While Don was still at work, before he knew it was closed, I went to the local drug store. I can't remember why I went, but I did get an American flag. While we had lived in the apartment, we didn't really have a place to hang one. We had only been in the new house for about 2 1/2 weeks, and getting a flag had not been a high priority, although I knew I wanted one, harkening back to the days of my dad unfurling the one we had stashed in the coat closet for special occassions. I flew that flag for 1 year, until 9-11-02. It's battered and tattered now. I flew it for the last time on 9/11/04. It's in my closet now. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it. It's symbolic to me as I flew it in rememberence of all those who lost their lives that day.

My heart aches in remembering the stories of my NY friends -- a huband that was supposed to be doing carpentry work in the North Tower, but who was running late; the husband who was a messenger in the building, but who had just left for a run uptown; those who walked from their mid-town office buildings to Harlem because the trains and buses weren't running; a co-worker finding out the next day that their mother was safe.

We lost so much that day. Some more than others, but each of us lost something. I don't know if we'll ever recover.

I'm not sure I want to.

I will never forget.

Dedicated to those who so innocently lost their lives.

Though the voice is quiet, the spirit echoes still.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Even More Temptation

What, does every food group know I am trying with all my might to avoid them? On Wednesday, it was pizza. Yesterday, I was asked to buy 100 candy bars and pass them out to our phone associates. I did not give in to the devil disguised in chocolate and creamy nougat, but seriously. What will the devil hide in today - a bag of chips? Maybe a slice of cake?

It actually hasn't been all that hard. I did struggle with some late afternoon hunger on Wednesday but made it through the day yesterday without too many problems. Once again, I snuck a peek at the scale, even though I'm not supposed to weigh until NEXT Wednesday, and did see an additional 2.2 drop, so I'm down a total of 4.4 since 8/31. My goal is to get down to 320 by 10/5, which would mean another 12.4 pounds in 26 days, so about a half pound a day.

Speaking of goals, some may wonder what my ultimate weight loss goal is. I've always joked that I would be happy when the scale no longer showed a 3 as the first number. I would be perfectly happy at the weight I was the night I met Don - 190 pounds. That's actually an acceptable goal for my doctor. With WLS, on average, you lose 75% of your excess weight, which would put me at 194. My "ideal" weight for my height and body composition is 155. That is when my BMI would register as "normal." At 194, my BMI would still be "overweight" but that is a far cry from being morbidly obese. I figure once I hit 190, I can decided from there where I want to go.

I just met a woman here at the office who had the surgery on June 1 and is down 85 pounds. That just blows my mind. I know we all lose weight at different rates, but I would love to start the year off close to 235. Talk about a weight off my shoulders. And hips. And thighs.

I did get a huge monkey off my back that has been bugging me for years. I haven't even really talked to Don about it because it made me feel so small and petty. I wouldn't say my brother and I are all that close. I do remember his birthday, his wife's birthday, his two kids' birthdays, his anniversary and, of course, Christmas. It really bothers me that he almost always forgets our anniversary and my birthday and never even remembers Don's birthday. It also has always bothered me that he never gave me a wedding gift. It's not even the gift so much as it is the thought. Don's family always remembers my birthday - heck, his mom even sends me a check each year. Anyway, I finally spilled my guts to my mom in an e-mail about how hurt I am when he "forgets" my birthday. I told her not to say anything, I just wanted to get it off my chest. I checked my personal e-mail this morning and my brother had sent an e-mail, I am sure at the urging of my mom, with birthday wishes and "a gift is in the mail." Oh,'s out there now. I'll just try not to take these things so personally...

It should be a good weekend. There will be NFL games on Sunday. The weather is supposed to be nice. I am feeling motivated in getting some more stuff done around the house. I am now 3 1/2 weeks away from surgery, and feeling pretty good about things. What more could I ask for?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Temptation as Thick as Deep Dish Pizza

So it ended up being a 2.2 loss for 7 days of partial liquids. I know where I made my mistakes, and this week will be about correcting those. I won't be doing the Au Bon Pain soups they serve in our cafe. They were high in calories, fat and sodium. I have added SlimFast twice a day to up my protein, although I will eventually swap those out for actual protein drinks. I am allowing myself the option of a Zone Bar mid-day to prevent the major blood sugar drop I experienced yesterday, resulting in my getting home and inhaling 2 turkey hot dogs for dinner. I did switch my yogurt from Yoplait Whips (which were tasty but high in sugars) to Blue Bunny Lite 85 with no added (natural) sugar. They taste like fruit-flavored paste.

My stomach is in great discomfort today. Cramps, nausea, gas. Nothing seems to help. I'm holding off on eating dinner (low fat manicotti with turkey sausage and a green salad) but I'm hoping that will make me feel a little better. Even water is making me cramp. I am happy I'm doing this 28 days out from surgery since I would be really upset if this was happening closer to my date. By the time I go on full liquids, this will be second nature to me.

Yesterday held the biggest challenge. Since I didn't have soup for lunch and I didn't add any other food, I was really hungry right around 2:00 PM. At that moment, the cafe told me they had misdelivered 5 pizzas to my area and to go ahead and do what I wanted with them. The smell was intoxicating. My mouth watered. In the end, I laid out the pizzas and went back to my desk. That played a part in my scarfing two hot dogs last night when I got home, I'm sure. Today, I used my own organic soup and an additional SlimFast to help me get through the mid-afternoon munchies.

Off to go play with the dogs outside. The weather is beautiful today and they are feeling frisky. I'm not, but I'm a sucker for cute puppy faces.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Even Mother Nature Celebrated

Well, 29 days out now. It's still doesn't seem real, but more on that later...

I had a fairly productive weekend. We installed the lights, and they work pretty well. I did some cleaning around the house and actually hung 6 of my photos. I still need to dive into cleaning out my closets and drawers and organizing my piles of books and the office, but one thing at a time.

I also did a little house cleaning around the ol' blog. I posted some links to some new reads and updated The Plan over on the left. The Plan now lists my diet for pre-op and post-op. I also put up a weight tracker, which I have been hesitant to do because the damn thing would never move. I am thinking about adding a Product Review list since I am trying things that are recommended for WLS patients. Some are good (SF Jello Pudding) some are not so good (Blue Bunny yogurt).

I had a fabulous birthday. Don surprised me with diamond studs. Guess I was a very good girl this year! We ate at Campiello's and had a wonderful dinner. We shared calamari with a pesto aioli, I had a roasted beet salad and Don had a Cesar, I had their signature short ribs and Don had their pasta special. For dessert, Don had the key lime panna cotta and I had their peach crostata. We shared a bottle of Stag's Leap Petit Syrah. All in all, it was lovely. Just as we got ready to leave, it started to rain and then hail. Don decided to make a run for it and just as we were turning onto our street the heavens opened up. I felt like we were in the bottom of a toilet and the gods had just flushed. We made it home safely (and no hail dings on Don's car!), and the rain, thunder and lightening lasted well into Sunday morning. It was quite the light show.

I had a big internal debate this morning about whether or not to sneak a peek at the scale. Last Wednesday I started doing liquids only for breakfast and lunch and then a normal dinner. I thought I had been doing pretty well with the overall concept. We did eat out a lot last week, and I didn't always make the best choices. I did do some things right including only eating about 1/4 of carbs at the meals. I was worried that if I got on the scale after 6 days of this plan and didn't see a loss, I would get frustrated and go back to my old ways. I was also worried that if I did see a loss, I would question again why I was having this surgery when I could do it on my own.

The scale did show a 2.2 pound loss, which isn't too bad, especially without consistent exercise. I'll have to add that to the mix this week. I'm also going to eliminate the soups from downstairs and actually eat my own food this week. I don't think we have any plans for eating out this week - maybe one night this weekend - so that should be easier to control.

The loss is somewhat inspiring, so I will continue what I'm doing. I'm hoping for a little more of a drop by tomorrow morning when I do my official weigh in for the week.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Tag, Your It

Because thunder and lightening woke me up at 4:30 AM....

Denise tagged me with the following:

Six Things I've Done and One Thing I'd Never Do

1. Asked a man at a bar if he wanted to see my tattoos (temporary ones....on my breasts).

2. Go home with a man I had met twice (and, yes, when I say "go home" I mean sleep with).

3. Have sex on my boss's desk and blame the broken keyboard on the cleaning crew.

4. Danced on a bar with a half-naked Native American in NYC.

5. Went to Paddle's, a sex club, to celebrate their 50th Anniversary.

6. Sang "You Oughta Know" on karoke to my ex who was at the bar with his new girlfriend.

7. Got kicked out of a strip club.

Now you get to guess the one I would never/have never done. In the meantime, I'm tagging Danelle and Brighton.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Nothing Like A Long Birthday Weekend

I started the long weekend off right by leaving the office 90 minutes early to beat the traffic. I told him it was an early birthday gift. Don and I went and had an early dinner, came home and he watched the Vikings' game. Normally he would travel with the team, but in the preseason, they only send one beat writer to each away game, so Don went to NYC two weeks ago and his counterpart went to Seattle this week.

We're having my birthday dinner tonight even though it's not really until Monday. Don will have to work Monday, but not today. Hey, I don't mind getting my gift two days early. At least this will be a better birthday than last year.

We don't have any major plans for today. A long walk with the dogs is on tap. I got some solar powered lights for outside (on sale at Target), so we'll install those. With Don working on Sunday and Monday, most of those days will be spent cleaning and organizing, getting ready for surgery, now a month away. I need to organize my closets and clean out my pantry and fridge.

As far as my food plan, at least from now until I go on the liquid diet on September 25, I am going on a modified liquid diet. I will have liquids (water, coffee, yogurt, applesauce, protein drinks, Propel, soups, etc.) for breakfast and lunch and a regular dinner from now (started on 8/31) until I go on the pure liquid diet. Most people who follow the liquid diet for 10 days, lose about 10 pounds so I'm figuring to hopefully lose between 10 and 15 pounds before surgery. The rational for the liquid diet is to de-fat the liver to give the surgeon more room in which to work. So far, it's been pretty good. I've been tracking my foods pretty closely but I think I'm making progress. Dinners have been a little on the heavy side, so I need to watch that. I just don't think I could go from my normal diet to a liquid diet overnight, so this is giving me a chance to ease into it.

Of course, this does raise the question, "If you can do this for 25 days plus a 10 day liquid diet, why can't you continue to do this and NOT have surgery?" Allan asks this same question. He's been following a gastric bypass patient's diet, from liquids only to pureed to soft foods. He's lost 117 pounds since May, so there has to be something behind his thinking. It hasn't been easy, but he's doing it. Reading his blog has made me ask some tough questions of myself, but I know having this surgery is the right thing for me. What he is doing would be the same as if I had the Lap Band - merely shrinking my stomach so I eat less. He's just doing it without the band. I think people tend to focus only on the smaller stomach. With the bypass, the intestine is re-routed around the portion that processes the majority of the food and where nutrients are absorbed. Because of my metabolic problems, my body doesn't metabolize the food correctly. By having the surgery, I will have the chance to "retrain" my body to process food correctly.

So, yeah, I'm still trying to convince myself this is right decision. I don't know if I will be like the woman I heard about in my last support group meeting who said, "I should have given Weight Watchers one last chance!" as she was being wheeled into the operating room (she is down over 100 pounds and has kept it off for 3 years). I really want to believe I'm doing the right thing, and it's just not because I'm weak and have no willpower.

Anyway, I hope everyone has donated something - money, clothes, food, blood - for the Hurricane Relief. I donated $250.00 each to the ASPCA and The Humane Society. I will be making a donation to The Red Cross that will be matched by my company. I will also be donating blood. Part of my cleaning this weekend will be to find clothes to donate, and I think we're having a food drive at work next week, so that will help with the cleaning out of the pantry. I have started several posts about the hurricane, the assistance (or lack thereof), the looting, the conditions, but realize they have all come out sounding so jaded and critical. We shouldn't be focusing on who to blame, but how we can help. There will be time for the hard questions later.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend - and don't Labor too hard!