Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Weighing Life's Choices

Greetings everyone! It has been a crazy few weeks since the grand fete known as my wedding, and in the midst of it all, I somehow located the disk with all of my surgery pictures. Since I started this blogging business I had been meaning to post them, but of course they just got lost in the shuffle. August 28 marks 8 months since I had VSG surgery, and I don't know what I will weigh in at on that particular date, but this morning I weighed 154.0 lbs. That is a 91lb weightloss to date! WOW.

The reason that I entitled this post "Weighing Life's Choices" is because I feel like every way I turn, there is a decision to be made. Some are trivial, like "what should I eat for lunch?", and others are more serious like "Do we wait to vaccinate Benjamin because we don't have health insurance at the moment?". Some are fun, like "where should we go on our honeymoon?!" and others suck, like "We only have $100 which bills are MUST pays and which are SHOULD pays?". Yeah, sometimes being an adult SUCKS!

But the biggest reason I wanted to talk about choices is because I feel like the 2 most significant things in my life most recently have been conscious choices of mine.... my surgery, and my wedding.

I spent hours upon hours planning the wedding, making decisions, researching, designing, etc. And as everyone knows, weddings are DARN expensive! I am blessed enough to be involved with the events industry so we paid a fraction of what Joe Schmoe mightve paid for the exact same set up, but none the less, it was a LOT of money (if we weren't poor before, we are now!). Throw in a few job losses, changes, etc, and finances became a huge stress on our life.

There came a point where I was venting to a friend about all of this, and she said to me "maybe you just cut your losses before you sink even MORE money into it." I gave that some good hard thought. Afterall, I would have been ok eloping at city hall... not that it's bad or anything... I just knew that I'd wanted a real wedding my entire life, and the first go round was a civil ceremony... I wasn't planning on a husband #3, and if I did get married a 3rd time I don't think it would be received as a big to-do by family and friends. But, the stress was getting to me so I sat Roger down and asked him what he thought.

My husband is one of those people who bugs me with his "knowledge" of anything and everything (even when it's just him THINKING he has knowledge) but every now and again he pulls out all of the stops with his brilliance! He said: "I'd rather regret having a wedding than not having one. We can't decide to go back and do this if we go get married in the courthouse." This pearl of wisdom got me through and I agreed with Roger 100%.

Well ladies and gents, based on the look on my face in the picture below... do you think I regret having the elaborate wedding that I did????

That's right. Absolutely not! I am SO SO SO SO glad that we had a wedding that we loved, that we felt gave our guests an opportunity to share in our joy and love, and was a testament to our own personal style. I wanted our wedding to feel like a really fancy dinner party with all of our closest family and friends, and in the end, that is EXACTLY what it was! We got so much positive feedback, and we were thrilled with it ourselves... it just felt right. And in a way it felt like our relationship was validated finally. I love legitimately calling Roger my husband, and seeing a ring on his finger. And I love even more that every couple days something happens and he reminds me that we are in it for the long haul, and that he loves me indefinitely. It's amazing. So for this I say: Objective achieved!

Now with all of this, comes the drama that weddings bring, and while I won't get into that directly, just know that I have a new sense of what "true friendship" really is. A wedding is (hopefully) a once in a lifetime event. Some invitees who made the list (which was under 60 people, so if I sent one I meant it sincerely) didn't feel like our wedding was high enough up on their social calendars for whatever reason. I won't lie... that hurt. Not because they couldn't make it, but because they CHOSE not to make it. Big difference! And of course there were others who couldn't make it, but made it a point to apologize and explain why and share in our joy from afar. Like I said... it's a whole nother issue, but I guess this all relates back to choices in life. They chose not to come! haha

So aside from choosing to marry my darling husband, the very best choice I have made to date was to get VSG surgery. December 28, 2010 was the date, and despite being in debt because of it, despite having some people disapprove of my choice, It was THE BEST THING I HAVE EVER DONE!!!! Here's me, on the big day, walking to the operating room. Looking at this picture, I think I look pregnant.....seriously. But I guess that's what 245lbs on a 5'4" woman will do for ya. Notice my ENORMOUS smile! And my mom smiled for the pic, but she was very nervous about the surgery.

The surgery was supposed to last just under 2 hours, but the surgeon found a complication that needed to be repaired, so I think that I was in the OR for about 3 hours total. I don't know, I was under general anaesthesia! But apparently whatever painkillers I was on were working well because I had enough cheer to smile in the recovery room!

I also have a phobia of anything gory or bloody or disgusting.... so I was afraid to look at my wounds. I literally would close my eyes or turn away when the nurses came by to look. Finally Roger wanted to see them the next morning and so I lifted my gown. He isn't good with gross medical things either so I expected an "Ewww" and barfy face reaction but he insisted that they really were not bad! I still wouldn't look, but asked him to take a photo for photojournalistic purposes! For the day after surgery, I'd say these incisions are down right amazing!
(stretch marks courtesy of Mr. Benjamin Barr 9lbs 5oz and excess amniotic fluid!)

I ended up staying in the hospital an extra day because I just could not get down as much liquid as they wanted me to. Ice chips were about the only appealing thing to me, which obviously is zero nutrition content. They had protein shakes that were SO sweet... blech. I don't drink sweet things other than diet soda so to ask me to drink a pineapple flavored thick drink when I can barely keep down water... yeah that was rough!

But eventually I got down enough and peed enough for them to clear my exit..... here I am on my way out!

The past almost 8 months have been challenging phsyically and emotionally. For me, the hardest part has been learning my limits. There was a point where I was vomiting pretty much every day, sometimes more than once. I wanted to eat, and I wanted to eat quickly, which, any sleeved patient will tell you is not gonna work! Eventually I learned the "warning" signs of being full, and I am not able to tell in advance when I need to close my mouth, put down the fork or spoon or glass, and just not consume. It's sort of empowering when I think about it!

The other thing has been subtracting some of my foods entirely from my diet. There are 3 things I stay away from: Broccoli, spicy tuna rolls, and Chicken nuggets. Broccoli is just entirely too gassy I think.... every time I eat it, I get sick. Spicy tuna rolls.... up they come! And chicken nuggets feel like a brick in my chest. And yes I know they are not a good food choice, but just because I had surgery doesn't mean I am not normal!

I think that is one of the biggest misconceptions from outsiders.... that once you have weightloss surgery you will have the willpower to stick to plan 100% of the time and let me tell you, that is all of our goals, however it just is not realistic! The beauty of surgery however, is that when you do get off track, your body basically tells you no. No you cannot eat that amount, no you cannot eat that food, no you are not allowed to mistreat me this way! It's amazing really.

I do try to make healthy choices, I try to choose foods that are highest in protein, I try to get in my veggies, limit my fruits, drink water, etc. My vice is still diet soda which is bad, and NOT recommended by my surgeon, but I could have worse vices like ice cream or fried chicken. Thankfully my body put the kibosh on both of those because extremely fatty sweets cause me to have a weird spike in blood sugar and I get REALLY hot and lethargic. Not like "yawn I'm tired" but more like "Omg I am going to pass out on this table, this is kind of scary". And then I get the runs. NOT a good time! And then with the fried food it just sits like a lump in my chest and I have to wait a considerable amount of time for it to pass. Plus it just gives me a stomach ache.

So, thank you body for forcing me to make better choices than most I have made in the past!

Emotionally the past months have been interesting to say the least. There have been ups and downs and all arounds. Extreme joys, extreme sorrows. But overall I would say that things are looking good. I feel like a new woman. I look, act, and dress like a new woman. I feel young again! I know that sounds weird, but I have always been an old soul, and dressed slightly "mature" for my age, but I am starting to wonder if it was just becasue I couldn't fit in all the cute juniors stuff??? I don't know but I am thoroughly enjoying shopping in the middle of the racks rather than on the "heavy" ends. My boobs and butt have withstood this 91lb weightloss incredibly well. I went from a 36DD to a 36C. Not too shabby!!! And this C rating is just a recent development. I'm just glad to have something on top, something on the bottom, and not a lot going on in between! lol.

When I look at these before surgery pictures I find them hard to recognize. I truly cannot believe that I was that big. I mean, I felt fat, I felt ugly, I felt unhappy. But I was never "that bad" in my mind I guess..... I mean, I was. But I wasn't. Hard to explain I suppose. And as the weight came off, my self esteem has skyrocketed. I truly feel beautiful now. I am proud of myself. I am proud of my journey. I am also proud to say that YES I did have weightloss surgery.

That's another thing.... I am a very honest person. Sometimes too open and honest. But I am SO glad that I decided to share this with pretty much the entire world. And here's why: Weightloss surgery shouldn't be taboo. It should not be judged. It is a tool that God and medical science has given us to USE. And I am a living breathing example of all of the wonderful things it can do for a person. I cannot explain how amazing it is to look how I never thought I could, to accomplish tasks I didn't know I could, and to feel NORMAL!

I realize this post has also gotten long, but I hope that the pictures have helped enhance your reading pleasure. And so, I leave you with "Then v. Now" Alexis @ 245lbs day of surgery size 18/20 v. Alexis on Tuesday at 155lbs size 8/10.

(to anyone who said to me "you're not THAT big".... ummm yes I was!)

(woohoo my stomach is flat, I have 1 chin, and I have kneecaps!)


  1. You look amazing,I was sleeved on June 24th and am same height and weight so reading your story is very uplifting...I can't wait to see my knee caps :) can you post what you do eat at a sitting and any exercise? And you looked gorgeous on your wedding day

  2. You look fantastic! This is how I remember you in high school. I really admire how honest and real you've kept this blog.

  3. Thank you for sharing your story and most of all your photos! WOW!!!!!! Great work Lex!