gastricbypass

The night before the big day, a year later. This is my letter to you.....

March 27, 2018

The day before surgery.

The night before surgery- March 27th, 2017. I was shaking, I was scared, I was excited, I was happy, but more than anything I was ready to start over. I looked at myself one last time in the mirror and reminded myself that this upcoming journey was not for anybody but myself. I LOVED myself, and in that same moment I made myself a few new promises. 

“I promise through the thick and thin of the rest of my life, no matter how down on myself I may be, I will not give up. I will make an Instagram, and be vulnerable, and honest with people going through this journey. I will not loose sight in why I am going on this journey. I will keep a blog. I will NEVER use photoshop again to edit my body. I will love myself endlessly. Lastly, I  promised myself that March 28th was my new life. For me that meant many things: No more negativity in my life. No more lies. No talking badly about people. While there were many “No’s” I also promised myself happy things- “When you set a goal, and you reach it, reward yourself. Promise to laugh more. Promise to love. Promise to support those around you, and those that reach out. Promise to work your hardest to be the best you can be, so then you can help people. Remember that when someone judges you for posting a picture, THIS is YOUR journey. You are not doing this for others approval. You are posting to inspire other people, and if someone hates on it.. then that is their opinion. EVERYONE has one.”
I know for a fact that making these promises to myself changed and shaped my journey. These promises have helped me stay grounded, when I feel like I am on top of the world. Some other things that have helped me stay on the right path are, my faith, my FAMILY, my love for myself, the support from such an amazing weightloss community on Instagram, and my music.

One year later, March 27th, 2018- Here is the my advice to the person on the night before anything monumental- and life changing:

  • Focus on why you are changing your life, and what has made you want to make that change. Never loose sight in that. You can be nervous, in fact, if you’re not.. you are a weirdo. Jk 
  • BUT seriously, go through all of the emotions. Live. Don’t be scared about judgement from other people, because ultimately you are the one that is going to be overcoming something HUGE, drastic, and YOU are making the change. 
  •  
  • Believe in yourself. I had to. I didn’t. That night was the night that I did. I took this picture and I said I love myself. I knew it would be my last before picture, before I turned into a cutting board the next day. (By the way… my scars… are MY story, and I love them)
  • Sleep well, say a little prayer, dream about your future, it is about to get REAL. 
  • Lastly, Congratulations, you are doing it, and that means are just this much closer to reaching a goal, your first goal. Go live your life- IT is time!

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3.15.18

A blog about 3.15.17.

 2 days before surgery

 

I am feeling so many mixed emotions right now it is unbelievable. I remember this day like it was yesterday. One year ago today.. I had the biggest emotional break down of my entire life. Lauren Solomon, my sister, was holding me on my bed in Mexico, while I balled crying to her about how I was conflicted. I was unsure. I was scared. I was terrified of the unknown. I was fearful. Realizing soon after that darkness is the absence of light, and fear is simply the absence of faith. I wasn't trusting in God because I was terrified of not knowing what would happen in my future.

My fears also being: "What if I can never eat normally again? What am I going to do at my wedding when I can't drink champagne? What if all of my hair really does fall out? Why can't I just be normal and eat what normal people eat? I just don't understand." 

These thoughts flooded my mind and crowded my perception. People ask me, what were your doubts going into surgery.. well.. there they were. Lauren looked and reminded me to trust in what my grandfather has always told her. The big W and the little w, God's will and your will. There was my second chance at life, and I didn't know when else this could be a possibility. 

It hit me that night. I finally could see a light. I could visualize a possitive, yet scary, uneven, and windy road. A marathon not a sprint. A journey and not a diet. A life. A REAL, second chance to be healthy. I called my mom... and at 8:19 pm, we scheduled my appointment for March 29, 2017 at 7 am. ( THE BIG DAY *remember that?)

crazy how time has flown by. Honestly these past few weeks have been tough on me. I have not been my healthiest, yet I have not gained weight. I have been honest on my blog. I have shown y'all everything I have eaten. I have stress eaten.. I have BINGE eaten. I have craved, and caved. You name it, I have a name for it, and I've done it. My point being, sometimes I get so bothered by arguments, and tough situations I am surrounded by. I question why I am put in the ruts that I am in. I wonder why me? I think about what my life coulda woulda shoulda... and then I look back. It all happens for a reason.  Remember when I questioned the gastric bypass and almost didn't have surgery? Guess what?  THIS... blog would not be a thing. I would not be in Spain. You would not be reading this. I am not sure why, but EVERYTHING happens for a reason. Funny enough recently, someone that was dear to us said, Man plans, God laughs. It is really ironic isn't it?* ;) I am blessed to be surrounded by the most wonderful, strong, incredible family and best friends in the world. I am blessed for the life I have. I need to remind myself, that everything happens for a reason, and it will all work itself out. Do not be be fearful, have faith. 

** Oh and don't forget ( Karma will bite cha in the bootyyyy) 

Striving for progress not perfection

HI!! 

My past four months have been absolutley life changing. 

Over the summer I have been working very hard physically and mentally to be the best I can be. 

Before I left for Greece, I had honestly only worked out probably 10 times since surgery (including walks). My inspiration to workout only came about recently when, I realized that while having a small stomach is great, I have to remember,  "calories in, calories out." Meaning, while I still will probably loose weight without working out, eventually I will plateau and get stuck. Not only has working out helped me continue with a somewhat steady weightloss, it has mentally been wonderful for me. I do find myself constantly in a battle with myself. I always try to make up an excuse to not workout, but once I force myself to workout, I feel amazing.

One thing that has really changed recently is my energy level. While I do workout, have a routine, and eat healthy, at the end of the day, I am exhausted. I am still not sure why my body shuts off around 8 or 9pm on days that I workout, but it annoys me. I used to be able to go out with my friends and hangout and sing until 4 am. While I could still do so, I am literally almost a zombie by 10 or 11pm. I think it is just my body's way of saying, you need rest. I do find  myself having very extreme workout weeks, and then some very pathetic weeks where I cheat and have foods I should not and make excuses to not workout.

I am realllllly lucky to have the trainers that I do. I workout often with @CoachRayRay at ASD Dallas. I find that when I train with him my body gets so sore. (BEST SORE) We will work on body parts that I had no idea existed... haha. His workouts remind me of 1 hour boot camps, with intervals of cardio. After just a week of going to ASD I can physically notice a difference in my body. I love working on toning. Shifting gears..... Tim, my hero, agent, trainor, and practically uncle, kicks my butt. Our workouts range from pushing football sleds, to doing squats, to jogging, to doing high knees. When we workout, I feel like I really get in a lot of my cardio. Lastly I have been working with my good friend Claire Coggins. She has personally calculated everything out for me and our workouts, and always challenges me. We workout on every part of my body, but focus on weight lifting and use the HIIT training theory. On top of working with these awesome people, I try to walk. I find that while I say that, I do not... SO I purposefully will make little changes. Something as small as parking at the end of the parking lot, taking the stairs over an elevator, and even walking around the mall to shop to get in my steps, makes a significant change! 

What do yall do to keep you energized throughout the day after a workout?? I drink water, take my vitamins, and am fairly healthy.. so I really would love your advice!!!!!

Time for Takeoff

 

Time for some fun in the sun! School is out and summer has just begun. I have to admit this is one of my favorite times of the year. On Friday my dad brother and I flew to Saint Thomas. To be quite honest with you, as much as I love to travel, one of my least favorite things in the world to do is fly. I do not hate flying because of any other reason but one. Seat belts. 

I know many of you are reading that thinking, why in the world would you have a problem with seat-belts? Let me tell you, I've had nightmares about airplane seat-belts. Airplane seat-belts have always been a physical reminder to me of how heavy I am. It is so embarrassing to sit down on an airplane and not be able to buckle your seatbelt.

For the first time since surgery I got on the airplane and attempted to put on my seatbelt. To my own surprise, it fit. Not only did it fit, but it fit somewhat comfortably. I actually started crying on the airplane. It is crazy that something so small can't emotionally impact us and change our perspective on something. I reminded myself once again that it's not about the scale, obviously I've been working my butt off (literally), and it has started to pay off.

We arrived in St. Thomas, and were welcomed by delicious rum punch. Knowing that I would get dumping syndrome and get off track, I promised myself that I would not have any other drinks besides iced tea, lemon water, and cucumber water. (Of course I wanted that rum punch, but I'm trying to mentally retrain my thoughts) As the days fly by here, eating my meals have been difficult. Of course, I can order off of any menu and get a kids grilled chicken with vegetables, but  that is just so boring. Food has always been a comforting go to. Going on vacation, I've always told myself that I could eat and drink what I wanted, and really not do anything. This vacation was different. I haven't had anything but water, and the occasional Iced tea. I've had chicken and vegetables, and some fish.  I have watched my family eat and order fried food, and drink whatever they would like. It is hard, and it does suck.

Another thing that I have committed to on this trip is, working out, as you have previously seen on Instagram. Honestly, working out has inspired me not to want to cheat and to keep focusing on my goals. I never would've thought that being in pain from the gym would make me want to work out more, but it does! We all always say that we want to work out hard to get a beach body... but once we get to the beach, do we really have the right mentality? Do we all eat healthy on vacation, like we did for the months prior? Do we workout on vacation? For me, the term Beachbody seems quite ironic. 

If staying true to your beach bod, how do you order when you're on vacation? What is your workout motivation while you're out of town? 

No easy "weigh" out

In life, there is no easy way out. This week, I realized that. Having gastric bypass surgery, has completely changed my life. I would not trade it for the world. Yet, like all big decisions we make, I still question myself. 

As much as I would love for my journey to be about constant positivity, and happiness, it is not. I have had my fare share of "tantrums" over the past week. Thoughts of binging and cheating frequently cross my mind. It would be so easy to just pick up a darn cookie. I just want to be allowed to eat ONE bite of watermelon... BUT I cannot. 

Yes I can eventually eat fruit, but right now I am in the "soft food" stage of my diet. My meals consist of low fat cheese, low fat yogurt, low fat cottage cheese, hummus, fish, and eggs, eggs, eggs. I can have bananas because they are soft, but in severe moderation. Even though I can have "soft" foods, I have to be very careful eating specially healthy soft foods. Mayo for example, is soft... Mayo has also made me sooooo sick. Along with mayo, anything too high in sugar, fat, and carbs will make me have "dumping syndrome". 

Gastric bypass is commonly known for the term dumping syndrome. For those who don't know what that is, let me explain. Dumping syndrome after gastric bypass surgery is when food gets “dumped” directly from your stomach pouch into your small intestine without being digested. There are 2 types of dumping syndrome: early and late. Early dumping happens 10 to 30 minutes after a meal. Late dumping happens 1 to 3 hours after eating. Each has slightly different symptoms, such as abdominal cramping, fast heartbeat, lightheadedness, and getting sick. It is the WORST THING EVER. Hindsight is 20/20. You learn quickly what you can and cannot eat. Every person with #rnysurgery (gastric bypass) struggles differently with dumping syndrome. 

So back to me wanting to cheat... I could if I REALLY wanted to.. BUT I would get sick. I have melt downs, and sad days when I actually ball my eyes out because I can't eat what everyone else eats. I am an addict. The reason I can't cheat is because for me, this is my option. Before surgery I had the choice to chose between my life with modifications, or my short road to depression, gaining weight, and a painful death. I chose life. I CHOOSE life. I do struggle, but I am getting through this, one day at a time. Everyday, more than the last, I work hard on retraining my brain. I try to refocus my passion for food onto something that is not food related.  I did have a physical surgery on my stomach, but in my mind, it was more than that. My surgery is a mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional new lifestyle that I promised myself, and God. How do I get through this rough patch? I pray. I ask for strength, and guidance. I sing. I songwrite about being upset. Most importantly, as my mom says, "One day at a time." 

How do you cope? 

Week 3; God's Unexpected plans

These past three weeks have been very trial and error for me. March 28, I had my first surgery. March 31, I had another surgery, and the following week, I took much-needed time to recover. I received beautiful flowers, gifts, prayers, text messages, and phone calls, from lovely people. The level of support and love that I have received in the past three weeks is impeccable.
Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, were very hard on me, but as the week continued on, day by day I was healing. Every day I could add a few extra ounces to my meals, and drink more water. Friday I was actually feeling my best. 
Finally feeling like I could conquer the world, I figured it was about time I spiced up my food regimine. So that day, Friday, my Tia Paulita came by the house and helped me cook. We made 4 different kinds of puréed veggie soups. Every single one was absolutely gourmet and delicious.
Late Friday night I started to feel a bit off, so I took my anti-nausea medicine and went to bed. Saturday morning I had a cup of soup, and 10 minutes later got sick. It wasn't just throwing up, it was strange, I knew something was wrong. I threw up blood. The situation seemed similar to when I knew I was sick the day after my first surgery. As Saturday went on it became harder and harder to keep anything down. By Sunday, I could not take any medicine, and I was still getting sick. We contacted my doctor and he recommended I took My Lanta. I tried to do that but sadly I got sick. At that point he knew something was wrong too. He called Baylor Hospital and reserved us an incredible room, with a beautiful view. That night we got there and were greeted by a lovely nurse, who had both beds made for me and my mom, and an IV ready to give me. Due to the fact that I could not keep any liquids down for two days, I became very dehydrated.
We got my IV in by using this new machine called a vein finder, which was absolutely insane. Once I got my medicines and fluids started, I was off to sleep. At 8 AM the next morning I went in for an endoscopy. Dr. Davis noticed that in the endoscopy, he was able to get the tube entirely down through my stomach by moving a bit of scar tissue that was being built over. The acid in my esophagus finally subsided, and by the end of the procedure I was feeling much better.
     I finished around 10 AM and was sent back to my room to see if I could finally get down liquids. My room was located right behind the emergency landings for the helicopters. Being in that room really made me realize how blessed I am.

While I was trying to relax and get down my food, a lady named Beebee walked in to the room. She was a substitute Eucharistic minister taking over for someone named Richard wood. Funny story, I did not know that the minister would be working on Mondays. My grandfather,  Richard Wood,  happens to be out of town right now in Greece, celebrating Greek Easter. If this incident would've happened any other Monday, my grandfather would've been the one giving me communion. I was completely in awe. 
Later two nights ago, we were released from the hospital. Jeremiah Tyson and Cristen Cooper came over and gave me so much love. We laughed for many hours, and finally they went home once they saw that I was bobbing my head because I was so tired. 
  The one thing that is getting me through this journey is God. I have been in a lot of pain, I promise you this isn't easy. Of course. I am ready to lose weight, but you can never prepare yourself enough for something like this. Life always has its ups and downs, but it is hard. Mentally it is still hard for me to grasp that I will never be able to eat a normal plate of food again. On the other hand, I am grateful that I am given a second chance to overcome my addiction with food. It is hard waking up and smelling bacon when your brother is cooking it, or smelling butter and garlic, knowing that if I eat that right now, I will get sick. I am on a liquid diet for the next two weeks, and I have been on this diet for the past four weeks. I am officially down 32 pounds since March 17, 2017. I am very proud of myself.
Speaking about how I am getting through this, I should mention my, Alison Wood. My mom has been my saving grace. I'm so grateful for the love I have received from her. My mom has been taking care of me for the past three weeks, well my whole life, but these past three weeks have been very very difficult. I'm so grateful for everything that she does. She has a job from 8 to 6 every day.. called Take Stock Inventory (you should really check it out), she is selling the house, she has to stage the house, box the house up, go to work, take my brother to school, pick him up, feed us, make sure I have my medicine and that I am comfortable, and live her own life. On top of that.. I have had two unplanned surgeries this past week and a half and I don't know how she juggles it all. She gives absolutely everything that she has, to us, and I will never know how to repay her. She is the most wonderful mother in the world.
 

And we are back....at home :)

Hello hello! I am finally able to write my second blog, and I am very excited about it. 

Of course many people are wondering, why in the world has it taken so long for me to write this blog...... Well, I actually was just released from the hospital yesterday. 

Tuesday morning, March 28th, 2017, my life changed forever. I was wheeled into the operation room, and came out with a second chance. After the procedure I was taken up to my room, and surrounded by beautiful flowers, balloons, mini gold spoons, and my incredibly supportive, Dr. Dan Davis, and family. The day came and went. The most exciting part of Wednesday was getting a shower...but Wednesday, like Tuesday was pretty much a blur too.

On Thursday I had a swallow study, and realized that I was not able to hold down any liquids. The doctor closely monitored me and decided that on Friday we would have to have an emergency surgery. Friday morning I went in at 7:30 and was released from the operating room at about 11:30. I remember my parents and doctor standing over me, while I was trying to breath through the pain. I had no idea what was going on. The next thing I knew I opened my eyes and it was 6 pm on Friday night. Later that night I found out that I had a massive blood clot, (the size of a deflated football) in my abdomen walls, and the doctor had never seen anything like it. I am so blessed that he saw it, and took it out when he did. 

Saturday, I immediately started feeling better. I could finally, but slowly, take down my liquid pain medicine, and drink 1 oz of water every 15 minutes. I started to walk more often, and yes I still hurt, but I didn't feel like I was dying anymore!! Sunday morning my incredible doctor released me from the hospital, and my mom has become my doctor, at home nurse.

Last night, David, my brother, was confirmed and they had a mini party at my house. There was bbq and family, and I did crave a little bit of the food... but at the same time I realized, I am improving my life for a reason. I cannot and will not loose focus. I tried to hold down sugar free- fat free fro yo- but that did not go over to well. I was up four times last night, BUT for the first time since Tuesday, I got up by myself each time. ( I cannot tell you how annoying it is to not be able to pee by yourself) 

So now here we are.... Today, the first day of the rest of my life. Fighting an addiction, one day at a time. Each day more and more realizing who my true friends are, and who I am. I will keep on fighting, and bettering myself to be the best I can be.