Monday, December 22, 2008

No Drains!

Okay, I know that this is going to sound weird, but damn, I am happy to have those drains out!  Let me backtrack.  

After the Lower Body Lift, the surgeon places a set of duel drains under the skin that encircle the body.  The drains are soft, flexible tubes, each 18 inches in length that act as a wick to remove fluid that accumulates between the skin and the muscle.  They exit at the mons through two holes and the tubes are stitched to the skin to hold them in place.  So basically, every time you move the drains shift a little, but the major movement happens at the mons where the tubes exit, pulling, not only the tubes but the mons as well.  There is no way to stand, sit or lay down without being uncomfortable.  (Just use your imagination.)

Today at 9:30am the drains were removed, a sensation similar to something sliding under your skin.  Not really painful, but really disquieting.

I’m so happy! 

Sunday, December 21, 2008

New Math


If you don’t like potty humour, do not read further!

This is the new math

Iron supplements + Codeine = Constipation

Friday, December 19, 2008


I recognize the need for sleep. Just plain, old every day sleep. I certainly know the value of sleep when sick or trying to heal. In fact, to my understanding, one heals best when they are asleep due to the peak release of growth hormones. Therefore, I am in complete agreement with my surgeon's assessment that I should take sleeping pills to help me sleep during the first week after my Lower Body Lift (due to the fact that normal sleep is disturbed by pain). But this is my slippery slope.

I have a food addiction. I know, therefore, that I have an addictive personality. I know that my addictions have never spread to pain medication. However, my body responds to sleeping pills like Snow White responded to the Wicked Stepmother's poison apple. I drop, dead asleep. Man, do I sleep.

Once before, in a time of great stress, I asked my Doctor for sleeping pills and she gave them to me. Why wouldn't she? We both knew at that point that I did not abuse pain medication. She prescribed, Lorazepam, which did the trick. However, if I missed taking the pill even once, I would have psychedelic dreams that were certainly not conducive to restful sleep. So, I decided to kick the habit. It was not easy. In fact, to my surprise, it was impossible. I tried every trick in the book; taking ½ pill, taking the pill every second day, going from Friday to Sunday without. Anything I could think of to get off the damn things. Nothing worked.

Now luck was with me on this one because, over a years use of Lorazepam was wiped out by a week of a Morphine/Demerol cocktail that I was being given after my gastric by-pass surgery. I just didn't take the Lorazepam while I was in hospital. I was able to use one drug to kick the habit of the other. I believe happy was a good way to describe what I was feeling,

My sleep cycle went back to normal and I have not had a problem with it since. Until now. Yup, the sleeping pills that I have currently been given to help me sleep, included Lorazepam. I took them right after the Lower Body Lift. I confess, I needed them. The ability to sleep through the night had been completely stripped away by pain.

And now, one week later, there is a small plastic bag on my night table, here in San Jose that still holds several little white, harmless looking Lorazepam pills. I knew that I had to stop now. I already could feel that they were a problem and they are because, here I am, laying in my bed at 4:22am blogging.

The adventure continues.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It hurts! But not where you'd think.

As you may recollect, the lower body lift is a removal of a "belt" of skin that encircles the waist. My belt ended up weighting 10lbs with the removal of another 2lbs by liposuction. (Brenda's husband, Eric, called it a body circumcision LOL). Not a small amount of tissue loss by any stretch of the imagination.

I really thought that the incision that encircled my body would be the thing that hurt the most, but I am here to swear to you that I don't even notice it. What is killing me is a combination of couching stitching and a deep cough that I have developed. Let me back track.

When they remove the belt of skin they liposuction away the extra fat that is between the skin and the muscle on the upper abdominal wall so that the new “tummy” lays flat. However, in order to make sure that the tummy stays flat (and to reduce the area in which fluids can build up between the muscle and the fat), the surgeon places hundreds of stitches holding the two layers together (kind of like when you see a pillow with a button holding both sides together). Now that alone doesn't really hurt either, and let's just say, I freely use my pain medication. The problem is that I have a dog allergy and the recovery centre has three dogs. I did not not know about the dogs until I got here (and really, it has been years since this particular allergy has caused me a problem). Anyway, my allergies kicked in; the itchy eyes, itchy throat, itchy ear canals, a runny nose and a deep, deep phlegmy cough. This cough is the killer because I am using the low abdominal muscles jut above the pubis that is all stitched to the underside of my skin! Let's see, on a scale of 1 – 10, when I cough I hit a nine.

I have started taking allergy pills and codeine (which is a natural cough suppressant) in efforts to control the coughing. I must say that this has been working. However, the other concern to me is not just the coughing. Because I am so sedentary and I have all this fluid in my lungs, I run the risk of phenomena, So I am trying to make sure that I cough, but in a more controlled way that doesn't cause so much pain. I will be seeing the doctor on Friday to confirm that all is going well.

In all honesty, I can say, to date, that this has been the most uncomfortable thing I have had to deal with. Count you blessings when the come, I say. It could have been a lost worst.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


We are alive, and speaking in coherent sentences. However, we are also falling asleep about every 30 minutes or so. The care here has been great and we both don't how we would have done this at home even with the help of loving families and friends.

Keep us in your thoughts and I will update you as soon as I can stay zzzzzzzz.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

First Day Here

So, Brenda and I got up early, 6am! Way to early for any type of real functioning. We grabbed breakfast at 7; sweet coffee, beans & rice, toast and a really neat tasting sweet butter. We ate outside, it was a little cloudy, but nice. Then Brenda went out for a little walk while I took a nap (since 5 hours of sleep doesn't work for me). We met up again for coffee at 9:00 and discussed what we are going to do for the day. And this is how it looks:
9:00 – 12:30 Hang out and chat
12:30 – 2:30 Pre-op appointment at the clinic
2:30 – 10:00 Going the Gold Museum, going to a Peruvian restaurant for dinner and preparing for tomorrow's surgery.

I am sure that there will be little bits of things to fill in later, but for now that is the plan.

By the way, we just found out that it is -13 in in Ontario. Ha-ha! It's a balmy 22 here.

First Day ~ Part Two

So where do I start? Okay, after our coffee break, Brenda and I packed our stuff that needed to go to Casa del la Mariposa (from here on known as Mariposa) and left for a walk. We trundled through a park that had these really cool trees that had no bark on the trunks. It's not that the tree didn't have bark, it's just that the bark peeled off and left a green tinge on the remaining smooth wood.

From there we went to Rosti Pollos (a Costa Rica version if Swiss Chalet) for lunch. We tried the Aztec soup and something else that was yummy (it was a hard, flat tortilla with refried beans, chicken and veggies), but we can't remember the name of it. We then headed back to the hotel to meet Andi, the owner of Mariposa. She and her driver, Charlie, drove us to the Mariposa to drop off our bags. We tried to pay her but ran out of US money. This was due to the fact that we were unaware that there is a 16% tax, plus a 3% tourist tax. But more about running out of money later.

From there we went to the Rosenstock & Lieberman Clinic (from here on know as R&L clinic) for our pre-operation appointment. They drew blood to have to typed and matched, just in case we needed a blood transfusion (which is $200/litre used). We then both went through the procedure expectations and costs. (pant, can't breath to go)

I have just now finished hyperventilating. On top of the price quoted, I decided to have additional liopsuction done on my upper abdomen, thus increasing the cost of the operation by $1761.50 CAD. (Can't breath! Panic setting in! ......Okay)

After much consternation, Brenda and I left the clinic with Alvaro Mesen, a taxi driver/body guard/tour guide. He drove us around San Jose to the heart of the city where there tons of little markets, bakeries, restaurants, and banks (lots of very big banks). We saw some really cool stuff made of rose wood, but decided that, in our current financial situation, to buy nothing! By the way Alvaro was great. His English was excellent and he was not hard on the eyes either! I would highly recommend him if you are every in San Jose.

Now in reference to our running out of USD, we stopped at three different banks trying to get a cash advance. The first bank would not let us do it because we didn't have our passports (we had left them in the safe for safe-keeping). The second bank that Alvaro took us to, would not do it for us because we were using Mastercard and they only delt with VISA. The third bank would not do it because we didn't know our PIN. We spent a lot of time running around, going to banks, with no success. But that running around gave us a good chance to see a huge chunk of the pedestrian boulevard. We never made it to the Gold Museum, though we did walk by it.

We wandered around for a few hours and ended up at a restaurant called Nuestra Tierra (which is not the Peruvian resturant that we thought that we were going to). They made this great coffee that was filtered, in what looked like a sock, with hot milk. Damn it was good. We ordered a meat and vegetable soup and the sea bass. Both dished were fabulous Brenda really liked the beans & rice, and some kind of root vegetable, that there was no translation for , but her favourite was the pico de gallo. My favourite was the sea bass. We chatted and bolstered ourselves as best we could and eventually Alvaro's friend, Alex, picked us up at 7:30 and we headed back to the hotel.

There we prepped for the upcoming day, took “before” pictures, took sleeping pills, (because we a both really nervous) and are now getting ready for bed. We head out tomorrow at 6:45 to arrive at the R&L for 7:00. Our surgery should take place at around 7:30 – 7:45.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The First of Many Updates

Brenda and I left for Costa Rica this morning at 10:30am. After waiting for a while at the Toronto airport, we flew without incident to Miami, which is where I am updating this blog from. Isn't technology cool!
Anyway, the trip so far has been without incident, however, I have discovered that I am a bit of a nervous traveller. (Brenda is laughing her ass off right now!) Brenda keeps threatening to drug me or give me more booze. Personally, I am going for the latter.

Stick around. It can only get better!

So it is 12:57am (local time) and we have finally arrived at Apartote La Sabana, 3 hours late. Aaaaggghhhhh!

Apparently there was a "problem" on the plane that was suppose to bring us to San Jose and since it was delayed, we were delayed. The best part is that the taxi that was suppose to pick us up at the airport was not there and, of course, everybody was trying to give us a lift. At one point two guys decided that we were a lost cause, lent us a phone to call the hotel to request a taxi. 15 minutes passed and still there was no taxi. By this time one guy had another fare and left. The other guy was still hanging around. I guess since Brenda and I looked tired (and the guy was sick of waiting with us) he popped us into some other guy's taxi and assured us that this guy knew where he was going! Can you tell what is coming?

You got it. The taxi driver had no idea where Apartote La Sabana was. He took us to the sister hotel, got directions and finally, after driving around in circles, got us to the right place.

We checked in, changed into our pj's, and remarked on how we were like two little old ladies travelling to Florida for the first time. We have a bed, we are tired and now we are off to sleep.
See you in the morning.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Second Thoughts and Thirds and Fourths and so on

Nothing like a panic attack on Friday night to sharpen ones focus! Honestly, once the thought that I was spending way to much money on something so frivolous entered my head, I started to reel. If I could have found a way to cancel my flight and surgery, I would have bailed out sooooo fast!

It's not that I don't want to have the surgery done. Rather, it is the idea of spending so much money on it. In the grand scheme of things, $15,000.00 is not a lot of money. But damn, it is a lot of money! I just have to keep in mind that I have to amortize the total cost over the next 40 years of my life.

Right! Now where the hell did I put that paper bag.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

San Jose, Costa Rica?

So I am just going to lay it out for you because there is no good way to introduce this subject without people saying "Are you ******* nuts! You're going where?"

I am going to have my Lower Body Lift surgery done in Costa Rica. There I said it. So now let me explain how this is going to work.

It all started with the quote of $17,000.00 for the Lower Body Lift in Ontario. I knew that prices were high, but I did not expect it to be so high. With the inclusion of the excess skin removal of the upper arms and the inner thighs, the total became a whopping $ 31,000.00. Needless to say, I was acutely upset about the entire situation.

When I happened to mention this to my family doctor, she informed me of the Rosenstock - Lieberman Centre in San Jose, Costa Rica and the success of her procedures. Since Dr. Andrew has been my family Doctor for 17 years (and a good one, I might add) I decided to follow up on her suggestion and looked into the centre. I started with the web site Health Escapes. I filled in the questionnaire and was sent a quote from Nora Allen who is the Patient Coordinator at the Rosenstock - Lieberman Centre. For the Lower Body Lift and all it entailed the cost would be $10,000 (US) with a $500 (US) discount if I paid in cash.

Upon further research I found out that the flight would be $889.00 (CAN) and the recover accommodations at Casa De La Mariposa would cost a total of $975.00 (US). At the time the Canadian dollar was a lot higher and the exchange rate was a lot better, so I really believed that I was greeting a fantastic deal. Today, the Canadian dollar is not as good, but still. So in total I would be spending 13,600.00 (CAN).

I did all the research that I could on Dr. Rashi Rosenstock and Dr. Joseph Cohen and even joined a Yahoo Group that discusses solely the goings on at the Rosenstock - Lieberman Clinic. I still think that I am making a good decision.

The next entry will discuss the finer points of this adventure.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Bye-bye tattoo?

In my mid-thirties, I celebrated an significant change in my life by getting a tattoo.  It is on my lower back.  I got it there long before it became fashionable.  It is  a design of my own creation, and though slightly flawed in it's execution, it holds great meaning to me. 

As I began to consider the lower body lift surgery, I began to wonder; will be able to keep the tattoo?  Even more basic that that; do I want to keep the tattoo?   

I have decided to ask the surgeon to completely remove the tattoo, when be works on "lifting" my backside.  Though the tattoo has a lot of meaning for me, I think that it is time to get a new one.  Something that marks this momentous transformation in my life. 

Now, I just have to talk about this with the surgeon.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Reconstructive Surgery ~ Part 2" (Belt Lipectomy).

If you have been following this blog, you are well aware that "Reconstructive Surgery ~ Part 1 ~ Breast Reduction" is now complete. Let us now move to "Reconstructive Surgery ~ Part 2 ~ Lower Body Lift”

The Belt Lipectomy, more commonly referred to as the Lower Body Lift, offers the most dramatic transformation of the mid and lower body. It is truly a resculpting of the abdomen, hips, thighs, and buttocks. Broken into its components, the lower body lift includes a tummy tuck, a thigh lift, and a buttock lift. The body lift procedure is performed on post bariatric patients, like me, as well as patients who have not had weight loss. The body lift transforms patients that have experienced massive weight loss and have excess skin. The body lift has the advantage that it can be done in one surgical session, or in stages, depending on the patients needs. I will be doing the procedure all in one go.

What is involved in the lower body lift?

A lower body lift usually requires between 6 to 8 hours of surgery. I will be marked on the standing position just before the surgery. The excess skin is grasped at the level of the flanks with both hands trying to join each other, putting an important amount of tension. The horizontal lines of resection and the final incision placement are marked. These incisions are continued both anteriorly from hip bone to hip bone and posteriorly until they join with the markings of the contra lateral side. At this time areas that need to be sculpted with liposuction are also marked. These markings will guide us at the time of surgery and will make operative times quicker.

This surgery is carried out under general anesthesia and I will be placed on the operating bed on one side first and then on the other side. Incisions are made following the previously marked lines. The removal of excess skin and fat is performed at this time. There is a moderate undermining of the tissues inferiorly. Once this is done, liposuction is performed at the level of the upper lateral thigh, flanks, posterior trunk and/or other areas previously chosen. Then, the incision is continued at the abdominal area just above the pubic area, running from hipbone to hipbone and a second incision is made around the navel to loosen it from the surrounding tissue. After separating the skin from the abdominal wall up to the sternum and ribs, the separated muscles (rectus abdominus) will be pulled together and sutured from pubis to sternum. The apron of excess skin and fat in this area is removed and the navel will be repositioned. The tissues are approximated placing the highest-tension on the wound closure laterally at the level of the flanks, and less medially. Two to four drains are placed alone the incision lines to evacuate any old blood and prevent fluid accumulation. The incisions are sutured and a dressing is applied.

Anybody else nervous?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

And the Boobs are done!

I had my final check up with Dr. Sliwin the other day.  He took a look at the final shape of my breasts and checked out the scars.  He said that they look "fantastic" and that the larger scars on the underside of the breast will continue to fade away.  He stated that I could stop using the scar cream, but I think I will finish the tube that I have. 

Dr. Sliwin then asked what my final bra size was and was a little surprised when I told him that Secrets From Your Sister  was fitting me with a D cup.  He immediately went to his bag of bras (and I am not kidding about this.  He had a briefcase full of bras.  It was so funny watching him pull out bra after bra) and pulled out a D cup and asked me to put it on.  Yup, I filled it out.  Then he looked at my shape again and we both realized that I have a lot of excess skin in the arm pit area and down the side of my chest.  What we realized was happening is that the skin from the side of my chest was moving into the bra as I shuffled the girls into the cups.  Thus, I fill out a larger size, but don't really have D size breast.  

Pinching the excess skin between his fingers, he announced "We have to get rid of that."   I agree. 

I wonder if he accepts payment in buttons.  I have lots of buttons!

Friday, September 12, 2008

A pillow too!

So there I am, at the Knitomatic Stitch & Bitch, knitting away, gossiping ... all the lovely things that one is suppose to do at a Stitch & Bitch, when I realize that I am squirming in my chair.  For love or money, I just can't seem to get comfortable!  The low and behold, it dawns on me ~ my butt is sore! And why is it sore?  Because there is not enough fat on my butt anymore to make for a comfortable cushion!  So there I am, squirming in my seat, thinking "Okay now, not only do I have bring a sweater with me every where I go, but I have to bring a pillow too!"

Ramona just laughed at me and said "Baby doesn't have enough butt fat!"

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Cheater, Cheater

There are two perspectives to every story, an inner battle that goes on with ones alter ego, no matter what action, decision, option, opinion or perspective one takes in life. My experience regarding the gastric by-pass surgery is no exception.

Darth Tish's Perspective

Darth Tish spends most of her time telling me really nasty stuff.

She calls into question my intentions; "You are lazy. That is why you had the by-pass surgery."
She calls into question my will power; "You are weak. That is why you had the by-pass surgery."
She calls into question my stamina; "You will fail and gain back all the weight."
She calls into question my self esteem; " You are narcissistic and that is why you are having 'reconstructive' surgery."
But mainly, she calls into question my ethics; "You cheated!", she accuses me. "You took the easy way out!"

Tish' Perspective

Cognitively, I understand how wrong Darth Tish is.

I am not lazy. I have always worked hard to obtain my goals. And, I have had the added challenge of chronic illness. I defy anyone to tell me I am lazy.
I have amazing will power and self control. Again, Crohn's disease and Diabetes does not allow for a lax disposition. Control and will power are an absolute necessity.
I am a force to be reckoned with. My ability to endure has never faltered.
My self esteem? Though I may never be a fashion model, I know that I am having the reconstructive surgery for medical reasons. Sure, there is some vanity, but what the hell is wrong with that? I have worked hard and I have a right to look good! Why should I not use all resources that are available to me?

But for me, the most disconcerting thing is Darth Tish's questioning of my ethics. How have I cheated?
I had a 1 in 100 chance of not making it out of the gastric by-pass surgery alive.
I have lost the ability to eat what I want, when I want and, even more challenging, how much I want.
I have to take supplements for the rest of my life just to have a normal, healthy body.
I have scars on my abdomen and breasts and will have even more scars around the entire circumference of my body, down my arms and on my thighs once all of the reconstructive surgeries are finished.
How have I cheated? What have I gotten away with? How is this the easy way out?

I tell you, in all honestly, if I could have lost 140lbs any other way, I would have! I made the best decision that I could, knowing where my strengths and weakness lay. I made a good decision, worked hard and came out of this alive, a better person, healthy and with a furious drive to live. I have not cheated!

There will be no talk of this ever again!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Brenda's Summerlicious Feedback

Brenda also gave me permission to post her response to my Summerlicious blog post. Didn't I tell you that I have fantastic friends!

Hey Tish,
Just a thought:
No one can accomplish the high degree of control that you think you are lacking. None of us could stay vigilant 24-7. There is a myth in our culture that 'willpower' is a quality that some of us have and others don't. Failure of your 'willpower' does not reflect a personal failing, but is inevitable. At some point even the most vigilant will succumb to temptation. This is why setting up your environment is so important.

You are doing well--you have set up your friends to help--and some of them actually do this. The next step is to continue to spend time (especially when eating) with those friends who help and to avoid eating with friends who don't. Controlling your environment is much more important (and more reliable) than counting on your willpower.

The problem is, if you find it distressing--you will actually AVOID eating out with your friends who support you (and may actually start to gravitate to those who sabotage your efforts). Bad idea. Your next task is to acknowledge your distress and to put more supports in your environment. For example, here is what I have noticed (from your blog and our weekend):

1. Go out with people who will let you carry a conversation. Use your hands. Think of eating out as a time to talk more than a time to eat.

2. Don't go to "all you can eat" places, buffets, or places with too large portions (this will be hard on Chris!).

3. Wine bars and tapas places are ideal for you. The focus is on small bits and sharing rather than on a large plate of food that people dive into. This way, you don't have to compare what you are NOT eating on your plate to theirs. With a common plate(s) there nothing to compare to!

4. Physically remove the plate and move it out of reach at the first sign of 'doneness'.

5. Have people ruin your leftovers.

6. Start to have a policy where you MUST leave something from each selection on your plate (to counteract the 'clean plate' idea).

7. Don't eat with really hungry people, if you can help it. They will be too focused on the food and not on the company.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mary's Summerlicious Feedback

Mary, bless her heart, gave me permission to post her response to my last blog post. By the way, I have fantastic friends!

Hey Tish,
You know, you're kind of hard on yourself. One of the things I really value about your blog is how honest you are. That's not easy. I'm a little surprised that you are still reeling about your response to the leftover elimination at Summerlicious. From what I observed, you did the right thing.

1. You asked someone "safe" for help with an uncomfortable situation where you were conscious that your behavior was self-destructive. Not the easiest thing to do, but you did. Take a moment now to pat yourself on the back and give yourself a hug! Good for you!

2. Even though at the time you were inwardly screaming in dismay at my action, you maintained fair outward serenity (with only a bit of white showing around your eyes) as a cucumber, babe!

3. You are cognizant of what's going on with your reactions. You know what you want to change. You're taking action to make change by trusting others to support your needs. Kudos!

4. You will eventually get to the stage where you can accept that you will likely still have knee-jerk reactions to food issues. You're already on the right track. Inwardly nod at the reaction and move on, happily giving yourself a gold star for self awareness!

This honesty, trust, and willingness to keep trying is inspirational to me.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Summerlicious & the "I can't believe you did that" moment

Summerlicious; an event in Toronto when restaurants set a fixed price menu.

I had such a great time attending Summerlicious this year. I wasn't able to eat a lot, but I had the chance to try some really interesting restaurants at exceptional prices. However,the topic of today's entry, though it happened during Summerlicious, is not about Summerlicious at all. It's about my reaction to something my friend, Mary, did.

So here we are, at The Citizen. Mary, in the red t-shirt, Mya, in the white blouse and myself. We had a great time! The food was good and the conversation even better.

As the meal progressed and I became full, I pushed my bowl of pasta away from me. However, I really liked my meal and I began to pick at my food. I could feel my stomach become tight and uncomfortable and knew that I needed to stop eating, but could not bring myself to do so. Finally, in desperation, I pushed my bowl to the middle of the table, towards Mary and told her I was full and that she could finish my meal if she wished.

To my abject horror, Mary dumped another bowl of unfinished food on top of my pasta and pushed the dishes towards the end of the table for the waiter to pick up! Though I couldn't eat another bite, I could not believe my emotion response to Mary's destruction of my food. If she or Mya had eaten the pasta, I would have been less appalled! A day later I was still in shock at the event and decided to discuss it with Mary.

I told her about what was going on in my pointy, little head and conveyed my dismay and turmoil. To my surprise, I discovered that her actions had been prompted by the latest entry in my blog that discusses my need, at times, to ask others to "destroy" my leftovers. Well, Mary, being the friend that she is, went ahead and did exactly what needed to be done but I could not bring myself to do. In retrospect, I would have been more comfortable bringing the food home as leftovers and leaving it to rot in the fridge, before I threw it out! But, this experience has brought some really interesting (if not unpleasent) emotions to bare.

I am disturbed about the event for a few reasons

1) That I was not able to push my food away when I knew I was finished

2) That I had such a unwanted emotional response to Mary's actions

3) That there are still lingering waves of that emotional response that I haven't/won't or can't deal with as of yet

So, here I am. Stuck in a place that I am not comfortable being in and feeling a tad out of control, relying on others for strength and trying desperately to develop coping skills that I can act on.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Social Eating

I am a huge foodie (didn't you guess that by now) and I still really enjoy the concept of eating out with friends and family. But since the gastric by-pass surgery, I have not enjoyed social gathers over lunch and dinner as much as I once did.

My friends and family know what I have been through and understand that I have a tiny pouch that is filled by 3/4 cup of food. They have a clear understanding that it is a huge waste of money for me to buy a full meal for myself. So we joke around and laugh when I eat of of other people's plates. (I mean, I don't eat off their plates. I have my own plate and everybody gives me a taste of their food.) And even though that behaviour in itself is somewhat uncomfortable, I recognize that I am with people who really love me and the behaviour becomes more acceptable.

However, the real problem for me is not when I am eating, but when I am full, which is about 5 minutes after the food arrives. What am I suppose to do with all of that time, while other people are "mmmmmming" and "yummmming" their way through dinner? The mouth hunger I feel is overwhelming and, I must confess, I have asked friends to ruin my leftovers so that I would not pick at them. I become uncomfortable, anxious, and feel out of place during the meal and often end up apologizing for my lack of stomach space.

This past weekend my good friend Brenda, came to visit me. We have been friends for 30 years!
Over dinner at the Red Violin (a place you have got to go to if you carnivore at heart), I tried to explain to her the traumatic emotions I was feeling. Casually, she said that I should use my hands more. "What?", you may ask. Well as we sussed it out, we concluded that I should talk more and, since I am Italian, I would then be using my hands more to talk. If I am talking, while others are eating, I am still participating in the social aspect of the meal and, at the same time, distracting myself from the fact that I can't eat. What a brilliant idea!

So friends and family, be prepared. I am going to be, goddess help us, talking more during dinner! Don't kill me!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Bra Fitting or Everthing you wanted to know about my boobs but were afraid to ask!

I had my first bra fitting after the surgery! What a fun experience. I went to Secrets from Your Sister. The store is well organized and uncluttered, with displays of most of the bras available. I was put on a list for a fitting and when my name was called I was taken to a spacious fitting room by Erin.

As a sidebar, I must confess that I did tell Erin about my weight loss and the fact that I still had a considerable amount of excess skin around my tummy. I'm not exactly sure why I had to tell her that, but I think it was because I was uncomfortable undressing in front of her without some type of justification as to my shape (which I would liken to a wobbly pear). As much as I hate to admit it, all the extra (unsightly) skin on my body is bothering me and playing havoc with my self-esteem.

I was measured and my first bra was brought to me. It fit! Not beautifully, but it fit. And after trying on several bras we concluded that I am a 38D or a 40C, depending on the bra. (By the way, I have to tell you that the service was amazing. If you have to buy a new bra, I highly recommend having a fitting done at Secrets from Your Sister.) Truly, I had a great time. The first two that I chose were a no nonsense bra called Fit Fully Yours. I needed something super comfortable, easy to wear and care for due to my work with young children. I picked the bra up in black and beige. The next bra was a cute hounds-tooth number that fit so comfortably that I just had to have it. It was a model that they no longer carry so

Ta Da!

So now I have a fabulous collection of bras that feel and look great and the most wonderful part about the whole thing was the price. I paid so little for the bras. You have to understand that I am use to buy bras that are $160 a pop. There purchases came to $140! This has been the least painful experience so far!

Friday, June 20, 2008

So Sad

I am extremely disappointed! In my latest adventure, I booked with Dr. Sliwin the body lift surgery for July 9. This procedure will cost (are you sitting down?) $17,000.00. I don't have that kind of folding money, so I applied for a loan. Unfortunately, I was awarded only $8,500.00. I don't have enough liquifiable assets to make up the remainder of the balance, so I had to cancel the surgery.

I feel really sad, disappointed, stalled, sick, frustrated..... the list goes on. I am going to rebook the surgery for December 2008 and hopefully,by then, I will have accumulated enough wealth (and I use that term loosely) to help cover the other half of the $17,000.00.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Picture Update

June 19, 2007

June 3, 2008

It is almost one year. Need I say more.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Before & After

Pictures say it all....





Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hello Perky!

It has been three weeks since I had the breast reduction, and of all the words that I can think of "perky" sums it up!

But I am getting ahead of myself. Let me start at the beginning. Chris and I went to Scarborough General Hospital on May 7 at 7:00am. I registered at the hospital and was prepaid (medical history, IV line, etc.) for Dr. Sliwin. At 8:30 I was wheeled in the the surgery room and after being drawn upon I was sedated and ..... well that is all I remember about that.

I woke up in a considerable amount of pain. On a scale of 1 - 10, I was at a 9. Morphine was on order and after being given my first injection I was still in a lot of pain. Three times the nurse gave me morphine and three times I told her that Morphine really doesn't work for me. She went and got Dr. Sliwin for a consultation but, unfortunately, he did not want to give me any other drugs. Finally, after I maxed out on the amount of Morphine I could take, I was given a bit of Demerol. Let me back track a bit. Morphine, Tylenol 3, and low doses of Demerol do nothing for me. Oxycodone, on the other hand, does wonders. However, oxycodone is highly addictive and is easily abused. Dr. Sliwin didn't want to give me oxycodone for good reason but he missed the most important point. My addiction is to food, not drugs.

Anyway, it took a few more hours until I was coherent enough to walk around and use the facilities and then I was off home. My oh my, is my bed comfy! Really, that is all I did for the next few days; slept (on my back) and took pain medication. Three days later I was taking about half of the pain medication I was prescribed and was feeling good. Tender, but good. Now I must point out here, that I was not allowed to shower. I just want you to know that after the breast reduction surgery you cannot get the incisions wet. Sponge bath, yes. Shower or bath, no. No water for a least one week.

On May 13 I saw Dr. Sliwin again. He changed the bandages, said I looked fabulous, could now take a shower and sent me on my merry way. I showered as soon as I got home. And for the first time I took a really good look at my new boobs. I must confess that I was taken aback by the amount, and colour of the bruising. Both breasts are bruised a muddy blue and there was a huge, black bruise under each arm. However, once the shock of the bruising wore off I noticed that they are perky! Small, for me, a C cup. Firm; much harder than I am use to; hard like a muscle, not soft and loose. The nipples are much smaller and, in my opinion, cute. I still seem have have a lot of sensation and am happy about this, though I was prepared for the possible loss of sensation. The incisions are big. Don't think that a surgeon's knife is fine. It is not. The scars are there and will always be there. To what degree, is really up to how my body heals. But I just thought that you should know. They are almond shaped. This is the hardest thing for me to get use to. They don't sag when my bra is off. They just kind of sit there, on the top of my chest, almond shaped and perky.

That week, still found me tender and bruised but in good spirits. I had to continue wearing a sports bra 24/7 and putting Poloysporin on the incisions three times a day. I rested, slept, healed and became bored with the television. The following Tuesday I visited Dr. Sliwin again because I thought I was developing an infection. Rather, as Dr. Sliwin explained, my body was just "pushing out" the stitches. He removed the offending stitches and told me to come back in two weeks.

Monday, May 26 I went back to work. Yes, I was sore. Yes, I was tired. Yes, I took a painkiller and slept for a few hours after I came home from work. But all in all, I am doing well. Work is becoming easier but I am still tender and and bruised. I can't really pick up heavy things or stretch to high without hurting myself. I am trying to be careful, but I am a bit impatient. Happy too! This was a good decision.

I just want to add one last note to this. I would have not been able to do any of this if it hadn't been for the support of family and friends. Most especially, my husband Chris. He has been with me every step of the way. He puts up with my helplessness, frustrations, anger, anxiety, hopes, aspirations, dreams, humour, excessive energy, and impatience. A good man is hard to find. I found one. I got lucky.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Just a really quick update; The surgery went well. I am at home. OUCH!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Here They Go ~ Literally

I have been waffling about adding this part to my blog, but I thought that, in keeping with the spirit of why I started the blog, I had better add this part. So here it is (or goes); pictures of my boobs!

This is what they look like with a bra (and camisole ~ just because I am a bit shy)

This is what they look like without a bra

The procedure, which will take about 3 hours long, will be removing about 2 - 2 1/2lbs per breast and perking them right up where they belong. The Girls will be going from a DD cup to about a C cup. There will be scars, but I am sure that I can handle that! Anything to get rid of this back pain!

Once the new boobs have settled into their permanent shape and position, I will add the before and after shots!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Is it saying goodbye?

After a very short meeting with Dr. Sliwin to discuss the upcoming breast reduction and liposuction procedures, I went to the reception desk to check over my paperwork and pay for the surgery. I knew how much it was going to cost, and in fact the amount is reasonable. I just was not prepared for the emotional shock of dishing out that much money.

A lot of the feelings that had stated bubbling up during the last closet purge came to a head and as soon as I walked out of the office, I just started to cry. I felt angry, frightened, and drained. But I'm not clear exactly what is going on with my emotions.

As I thought about it, I began to wonder if part of the grief is related to saying goodbye to the person I was. The second a scalpel cuts my flesh, I will no longer be that"fat" girl that I had finally become comfortable with. That scalpel will mark the beginning of the new me, with all that it entails.

My god. The other day a man flirted with me and I had no idea it was happening until I left the shop! In fact, other than Chris, I can't think of the last person who flirted with me. And that is exactly what I am talking about. "Fat" Tish knew what to expect, when and where it was going to happen. This current model of Tish has no idea what is going on. I am just fumbling from one moment to the next.

Shelna tells me that I am moving to fast. That I need to slow down and breathe a bit. Now, I have never been good at slowing down to begin with, regardless of size, but now, I just want these surgeries done. I don't want to wait for my body anymore. I have to much to do! I know that it all sounds pat, but I tell you it is true. I have a body that can move and do and be and damn it all I don't want to wait anymore.

So for now, I am trying to play new tapes in my head that say things like:
"you are doing the right thing"
"this is reconstructive surgery, not mindless cutting"
"you can amortize the cost of the surgery over the next 40 years of your life"

You get the idea. Now, I just hope the new tapes work!

Monday, April 14, 2008

The closet

All of my clothes, including those from my shopping spree

The last of my "big" clothes

Over the weekend I went through my closet for the last time to remove all the clothes that were to big for me. I was left with 2 pairs of pants and 3 shirts. I concluded that this was not a good thing. All the summer "large clothes" that I had saved were way to big on me. So here it goes, the shopping phase.

I know that this is suppose to be a happy thing; and I don't want to sound like I am complaining, but I am not enjoying this on so may different levels. First and foremost is ~ how the hell did I let this happen to me! How did I ever let myself get so big! Okay, I know how, but it doesn't make the question go away.

Second ~ what a waste of money. I mean, first there is the waste from the clothes that don't fit. Did you know that consignment stores do not take brands that fit large sized women? And if there are stores out there, I can't find them. Then there is the waste of money for buying new clothes! I don't have those kinds of funds. I am looking to second hand stores but still, what a waste of money. It's so frustrating.

And finally, I am not comfortable spending that kind of money on myself. It's not that I don't like to buy clothes, it just that I have to buy everything; socks, shoes, underwear, bras, coats, jackets, tops, pants, sweaters, gym wear, shorts, swimwear. Even my jewelry doesn't fit. My watch looks like I am wearing handcuffs it is so big. And because I don't have anything to wear, I am not leisurely wandering around the mall looking for something that I like. I am in panic mode because I need something now!

Besides all of the emotional turmoil, I am okay. I did buy a pair of shoes that fit. I found 2 pairs of Capri's and 1 pair of shorts. I have 3 new shirts that fit now and should also be okay for after the breast reduction. I guess I have to wait for the sales!

Friday, April 11, 2008

It's all about the numbers

Since I was diagnosed with Crohn's 17 years ago, I have had to go in for blood work every three months. Once the diabetes developed, more test were tacked on to my already long list of things to check for. This may all come to and end! Do I hear a Whoo Hoo! coming on?

I have lost so much weight that my endocrinologist no longer thinks that I am a diabetic and has ordered a glucose tolerance test. Basically, I go to the lab and drink a very sugary drink. Then the technician samples my blood over a period of two hours. If my body is able to process the sugar normally, I am no longer a diabetic! As for the Crohn's, well, I am still in remission! I have stopped taking all of the immune suppressing drugs that helped control the Cronh's disease and so far there have been no problems. Since I am not taking any of the potentially harmful drugs, I no longer have to have the status of my liver checked. All in all, in a few months, I might only have to have blood work done only twice a year. Imagine that!

As for my current numbers (all without the aid of medication) they are:
HA1C was 5.36 normal is below 7
Blood Pressure 112/71 normal is 130/80
LDL was 2.9 normal is 2.5
HDL was 3.9 normal is 3.9

I am so normal! Brilliant!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Change of Date

Well Ladies and Gentlemen there has been a change of plans. My Cosmetic surgeon has changed the date of the first surgery, which is now happening on May 7, 2008. Not a big date change, the event was only postponed by one week.
I am really excited about the breast reduction. I have been trying to think of questions to ask the doctor at my pre-operative appointment. I have a few, however, if anybody out there in web-land has a question that they think I should be sure to ask, send it to me.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Reconstructive Surgery ~ Part I

On April 30 I will be having two reconstructive surgery procedures. The two procedures that Dr. Sliwin will be doing is breast reduction and liposuction of the inner thighs. The breast reduction is just that, a breast reduction. Dr. Sliwin will be removing about 5lbs of tissue so that I will have a C cup. I was amazed at the amount of tissue that will be removed. Five pounds seems like so much. But I am very happy about it. My back is killing me!

As for the liposuction, it is the first part of a two part procedure to remove all of the excess skin from my inner thighs. The excess skin starts at the leg/hip joint and goes all the way down to my knee. I inquired why this had to be done in two steps. Apparently, if the liposuction and the skin removal was done both at the same time, the trauma from the liposuction could cause the stitches to rip and, to account for this, the surgeon could not remove all of the skin necessary for a smooth inner thigh.

I have my pre-op appointment on April 16 and will keep you up to date.

Friday, March 7, 2008

We Meet Again, Darth Tish

Well, Darth Tish has lost a few battles as of late and I think I have finally found a way of getting around her. It has to do with never going up the first set of stairs once I get home from work. Basically, what I have to do is pack all my gym stuff (and everything else I need for the day) and bring it down to the front hall by the door. Then, when I come home from work, I open the front door, pack the car with all my stuff and leave home to adventure afar. When it is time to go to the gym, I depart from my current adventure afar and go straight to the gym. When I am done my work out, I then drive home to rest for the day. So far, this insane method of expending energy seems to have worked. However, I am hesitant to claim that I am completely successful at thwarting Darth Tish, as she is a clever and a worthy adversary who may yet ambush me again!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Closet Shopping and Clothing Exchange

Monday I got to go closet shopping! Say what?
Well, as I loose weight my clothes don't fit, right? And it makes absolutely no sense to buy a whole new set of clothes for each size that I shrink down to. So, besides the small sending spree I had recently with my friend Catherine, I haven't bought any clothes. However, much to my surprise, many of my friends have offered me clothes from their closet. These are clothes that no logger fit the original owner, but are in excellent taste and condition. So, Monday I went closet shopping! I got a few pairs of jeans, a couple of skirts and many much needed tops. For the next month I have clothes! WooHoo!

Now, my acquisition of clothing is not limited to closet shopping. Nope. I have also begun exchanging clothing with a couple of friends. As I shrink, I have given my clothes to others and as others shrink faster than I, they have given their clothes to me. It's all become, like, a fashion show/slumber party!

So many thanks to my friends Ramona, Mya and Mary!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

New Clothes

I had to buy new clothes. I just can't take this; floating around in stuff that is way to big for me. So my good friend, Catherine Dennison, (who was in Toronto to see the Spice Girls) helped me buy some new clothes (all on sale by the way). I just had to post this picture for two reasons; Chris loves this shirt and look, look, I have a neck!
By the way, I bought this stuff at Cotton Ginny Plus. I'm wearing a size 16 pant and a small, that's right, a small shirt!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Darth Tish's Temper Tantrum

"But I don't want to" said Darth Tish, as she lay on the floor kicking, screaming, and red faced.

"What do you mean?" Tish asked.

"I mean, I don't wanna go and you can't make me!"

"Make you do what?" Tish inquired.

"Make me go to the gym!" Darth Tish said with such an emphatic pout that her bottom lip almost hit the floor.

"Well, I'm not making you go." Tish stated.

"But I should go," said Darth Tish.

"Should you?"

"Yup, I should. But I don't want to," Darth Tish said as she twisted her hair into a knot.

"Why should you go?" Tish asked.


"Because why?"

"Because!" said Darth Tish stomping her foot.

"Because is not an answer," Tish said, "It is a question that requires an answer."

"Because it's good for me" Darth Tish admitted sullenly.

"Oh" Tish said, nodding her head in agreement.

"But I don't want to go"

"You look really mad. I mean, you certainly look like you are having a wonderful, full blown temper tantrum about this." Tish said.

"Well, I do do wonderful temper tantrums. You should see the ones I have about eating junk food." Darth Tish said with twisted half smile.

"Yes," said Tish, "but that still does not address why you don't want to go to the gym."

"Ya, well, I don't want to go because I don't want to go. Like, why should I have to make myself do something else? Haven't I already made myself do so much?" whined Darth Tish.

"Sure," Tish agreed, "you have done a lot. Waiting for surgery, surgery itself, all that vomiting, two dilation procedures and don't forget all that weight loss."

"Ya," said Darth Tish emphatically, "it has been a lot. And why should I have to do more? Why isn't there, like, a magic pill that I can take that makes all my muscles strong and kick-starts my weight loss again?"

"Well, science has not progressed that far," Tish explained. "But I'm sure that one day there will be such a pill. But in the mean time what are you going to do about this?"

"Well," Darth Tish drawled, "I guess I should go to the gym. But I am just having such a hard time getting there and I don't know why. I mean, I do have some fun. And I do like the way I feel after a work-out. And I do want to look better and feel stronger."

"Sometimes you don't have to understand why you behave in a certain way. What is really important is that you just change the behaviour," Tish said. "Does that help?"

"Ya, I know." Darth Tish agreed. "But it don't really change this motivation problem."

"No it doesn't."

"I guess I just have to do it, don't I?" Darth Tish said, as she frantically looked for an easy way out.

"Yup," Tish approved.

"Okay, I'll try again to get my butt to the gym today."

"Okay. I'll check in with you again tomorrow," Tish said.

"Alright," said Darth Tish, sulking, as she packed her swimsuit in her duffel bag. "We will have this conversation again tomorrow."

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Apron

I am at the point in my weight loss adventure, where I have become really annoyed with all the extra skin that is now hanging around. Most disconcerting is the skin that is hanging off of my belly. It was there when I was 100 pounds heavier, but it kind of stuck out more and was away from my body. Now it just hangs, like an apron, and rubs against the skin underneath.

It is hot and moist under there. A happy place for bacteria and grossness. I recently have begun developing serious skin infections under the apron. It has become uncomfortable, unhealthy and I am generally unhappy about it. I have been washing, of course, and I have been using a cream to help keep the production of yeast down. But the skin itself has become very thin and splits easily. It's now time to start researching reconstructive surgery.

So I guess I will conclude this entry with two points.
If you ever decide to have this surgery
1) be prepared to be really grossed out by your weight loss
2) start saving now for reconstructive surgery

Sunday, January 13, 2008

New Photos

June 19, 2007
January 13, 2008
I finally had to go out and buy a pair of pants. Everything was just sliding off me. I didn't even have to undo the button or unzip the zipper! They just fell down. Yes, I am happy about it. The pants I bought are already to big for me so I am going to have to take them in a bit, but they sure fit better than what I had before.