Got me a J~O~B outside the home

JOB

I know big deal I got a job outside the home – yeah so what we all have jobs right? Well while this is true for most this is a big deal for me and another new start in my journey after Gastric Bypass Surgery and I will tell you why.

Geez where to start…. So over 16 years ago I worked the normal 9-5 gig in the corporate world. I did what you should do with working hard, getting promoted and moving up in the company – I even had my own office. I was a call monitoring coach for a big sales company – yup I was the one listening in on those calls for quality assurance. I motivated a large sales force, did training and all the other crap that came along with that position. But honestly that corporate kiss ass stuff was never for me – I was never a fan of working – I just wanted to be a mom and stay at home.

So to make a long story short I got married to the love of my life after being engaged for 6 years and got prego with my son. I then quit that job and moved from where we were living in Florida after he was 3 months old and moved back up north to were I live now in Pennsylvania to be closer to family. My hubby worked and I got to be that stay at home mom I always wanted to be. A year and a half later I had my daughter.

Over the course of many years while the kids grew I had odd and end jobs to make extra cash from home – I use to sell a lot of crap on Ebay when it first started and was lucrative. I would sell anything not nailed down and make money – that is when Ebay was fun. But I loved being a stay at home mom even though I ripped my hair out a lot from the kids driving me nuts half the time I still would have not traded it for anything.

Being on one income was never easy, but some how hubby and I would find ways to make it work. Life is not always easy and we always find humor in everything and honestly I think that is what gets us by each and every time times are tough. Hubby and I seem to have lots of hoops we always seem to have to jump through, but we have come to get use to it. When we were married our song was the circus theme when they introduced us because that is our theme song to life. We just embrace it I guess.

So anyway… In about 2005 I decided to start my own business from home. I have always been a very creative person and loved to throw my kids awesome theme birthday parties that were unique and noticed a lack of options for parents out there. That is when The Party Animal was born. Even doing my business I took on other various part time jobs here and there over the years for extra cash like working at Curves locally, which helped me drop some weight back when, and also working with my sister at her retail store for a bit. In 2005 or so I started doing a lot of online writing and then created my Party Blog where I share lots of ideas to help parents when it comes to planning their kids parties.

While I absolutely love what I do and love working from home – it also has its down sides. You kinda lose your identity a bit from lack of being out there having one on one communications with people vs. online friends. You gain weight from sitting at a computer all day long. Being able to sit in your PJs all day long is not all it is cracked up to be. Oh and writers block happens quite a bit. As the saying goes – the grass is not always greener on the other side. I am however thankful that I have been able to earn a living and stay at home to raise my kids just as I had always wanted.

About 6 years ago my hubby had an accident at work which has caused him to become disabled and no longer able to work. It was the scariest time in my life to see him injured and our world changed. The accident effected his lungs and he was in and out of the hospital a lot and we had some very scary moments. Of course all of these events put me into a deep depression and caused me to gain a great deal of weight with all the worry and changes to our lives. He is currently stable, thank god, but he will never recover from this accident and we have a lot of ups and downs with his medical condition. He is unable to physically do the things he use to do which makes it very hard. On a happy note my hubby is one A-Mazing man and pushes himself each and every day – I do not think I could be as strong as him given what he has to deal with. I am one lucky lucky girl I tell ya.

So in January 2012 I made the decision as you all know to have Gastric Bypass Surgery. I needed to get this weight off I could not lose on my own after trying so many diets over the years. I not only needed to do it for myself, but for my hubby and the kids. I needed to get healthy myself.

So what does all of this have to do with me getting a job outside the home? Well I will tell ya… The surgery has given me a new lease on life and I feel more like me again after losing myself in raising my kids, my work at home job and being in the house all day long for so many years. I had never felt good enough in my skin to go out and apply for a job because I had no confidence anymore in myself and how I looked.

I have had an idea on what job I wanted and have been watching for the position to come up for years, but never ready to apply for it until just last month. I decided I feel great and my kids are now 15 and 12 and it was time I made the move to get out there – I was ready!! So I applied and to my surprise got a call the following week for an interview. The job is for an Activity Assistant at a local Nursing/Retirement Home. It is the perfect job for me – I get to do all the fun stuff with the residents and bring my creativity to those who need a little fun in their days. I have always wanted to volunteer, but now I will get paid to do it – BONUS. So I went on the interview and then got called in for another and offered the job.

The best part is that it starts out as a flexible part time position which means I will fill in at first when I am needed and that could not be any better for me as I ease my way back into the working world. This job for me is a perfect fit that I think will bring a lot of satisfaction – the thought that I can bring smiles and happiness to these people has my giddy and excited. I will not be in an office stuck with piles of paperwork, but instead I will get to do all the fun stuff like go on day trips, out to eat, play games (I Love BINGO) and come up with fun arts and crafts for them to do.

So with that said I am ready for a new chapter in my life and the Gastric Bypass Surgery is what has helped me get to this point of feeling good enough to put myself out there again. I am looking forward to the change and hoping I like this job as much as I think I will and have it lead to a full-time position down the road. I will still do my party business and online writing because I love doing that as well and would never give that up since I worked so hard to build it to where it is today.

I think the kids are a little sad that I got a job outside the home, but I think they will adjust and I bet they will end up enjoying the quiet time (lol). Now my hubby will officially be Mr. Mom and I know for a fact he will enjoy the time when I am at work too – ha ha.

My official start date is around July 22nd when I start the orientation process so I have time to chill a bit more and put my feet up on my patio table with my Cold Protein Coffee and watch my chickens – lol.

Wish me luck and Stay Tuned for updates….

The Best NY Cheesecake Recipe EVER

NY Cheesecake

If you are a Cheesecake Lover than this recipe is for you. This is the only Cheesecake Recipe we make in my family due to how delicious, rich and moist it is – once you try this recipe you will be hooked and never try another – trust me.

My sister has been making this NY Cheesecake Recipe for so many years now and I never use to be a fan of Cheesecake until my older age – now I just love it. We don’t make it often, but when we do it goes quick. Today I made one for my hubby for Father’s Day – he loves it as well. Nice of me right? Ok I was craving it – shhhh don’t tell him that.

I do think it is funny that I am posting a recipe for Cheesecake on my Gastric Bypass Blog, but I shared a photo on my Facebook Page and everyone wanted the recipe *Giggling*. Honestly this Cheesecake is pretty much all protein less the sugar so if you do not eat the entire thing I think it is just fine. Anyway this cake is so rich you can only eat a small sliver and be satisfied.

Of course it is not low fat and full of calories, but every now and then in moderation it is ok to splurge a tiny bit. This Cheesecake is soooo worth the splurge. Ok now let me get to the secret recipe…..

NY Cheesecake Recipe:

  • 1 1/2 Cup of Sugar
  • 1 Stick of Butter
  • 4 (8 ounce) packages of Cream Cheese
  • 1 (16 ounce) Sour Cream
  • 2 Tbsp Cornstarch
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 5 Eggs

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* Make sure all ingredients are at Room Temperature – so take them out a few hours prior to making this recipe

Now here is what you do:

  1. In your mixing bowl cream together Sugar and Butter.
  2. Using a mixer mix in your Cream Cheese one block at a time.
  3. Mix in your Sour Cream.
  4. Add in Cornstarch and Vanilla.
  5. Mix in your eggs one at a time.
  6. Blend that all until smooth.
  7. Pre Heat your oven to 375 degrees
  8. Pour your mixture into a well greased 10″ Spring Form Pan.
  9. Place your Spring Form Pan into a roasting pan or large baking dish and fill it half way with water – this is important for a moist Cheesecake and to avoid it cracking.
  10. Then bake that goodness for 1 hour.
  11. Take it out and let it cool, once cool stick the Cheesecake still in spring form pan into your refrigerator to get cold. We find it best to make it the night before so it gets nice and cold – cake is best very cold.
  12. Then take it out, remove spring form pan side, slice that baby up and get ready to be in heaven !!

If you try this recipe I would love to know what you think.

Enjoy !!

Delicious Oven Fried Chicken Recipe

Oven Fried Chicken

I have to share this yummy recipe for Oven Fried Chicken I made the other night that was delicious. It had the flavor of Kentucky Fried Chicken, but it is baked in the oven and not fried so a bit better for us.

The chicken turned out nice and moist and while the breading was not super crunchy the way Kentucky Fried is it was still crisp and very tasty. I really enjoyed it and think it was worth the share – plus it was super EASY to make as well, BONUS.

Here is what you will need to make this Oven Fried Chicken:

  • Chicken of course – I just took a package of chicken boobs and cut them into strips
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp season all (important)
  • 3/4 tsp Pepper
  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 2 tsp Paprika
  • Milk
  • 1/2 Stick Butter

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How to Cook

  1. First what I did was cut up my Chicken Boobs into strips. Then place them in a bowl and cover them with Milk. Let them soak for about 30 Minutes.
  2. Next in a large bowl mix together your Salt, Season All, Pepper, Flour and Paprika.
  3. Then Coat each piece of Chicken with that mixture.
  4. Next preheat your oven to 400 degrees and take your 1/2 Stick of butter and melt it in your baking dish. Make sure the butter coats the entire pan and if you need to you can add some non stick spray as well before placing in the chicken.
  5. Carefully lay your chicken strips in your baking dish on top of the melted butter.
  6. Let them bake for 20 minutes.
  7. After 20 minutes flip them over. Yes sometimes they will stick and some of the coating will come off – it happens. Try to use a fork and flip carefully. Cook for another 20 minutes.
  8. Now take them out of the oven and fill your belly with yumminess !!

Like I said I really enjoyed the flavor of these and if you have any leftovers they would be great added to a salad cold.

Enjoy !!

An Extremely HOT day spent at Hershey Park

Hershey Park

So this past Wednesday I spent the day in Hershey Park that was for my daughter’s end of the year celebration for her school. Of course we had some unusual weather for this time of year and the day we went happened to be about 92 degrees and humid.

I am not one for hot and humid at all – I am more of a 65-70 degree girl and anything above or below that makes me miserable most of the time – especially when it is 92 degrees and humid and you have to walk a crowded park all day long. Just my luck to have this kind of weather on the one day we were spending it at the park – ahhhhh. But I sucked it up because I was there for my daughter and I wanted her to have fun, that is what it was all about right?

My daughter brought her BFF along and then it was me and my hubby. I was surprised how crowded the park was for a school day, but it seemed there were lots of school trips going on. So hubby and I just followed the girls around and let them lead the way and go on the rides they wanted. I do not do rides – not a fan at all of roller coasters or rides that spin so fast that I taste puke in my mouth afterwards.

The girls went on a few roller coasters and thank god the Boardwalk (Water Park) was opened for them on this hot day because they girls even got crabby and had headaches from the heat that they needed some time to cool off in the water. I did however go on one ride – I did the Classic Cars where you drive at 5 miles per hour on a track in a circle – yup I am a trooper – lol.

So while the girls were off doing their thing in the water park I could not help myself and went into the kiddie pool with all the babies to cool off myself. I have no shame when I am hot and it was so nice and it helped for all of about the 10 minutes I dipped in.

We ended the day having some caricatures done of us – I think they came out really funny.

All in all it was a fun day – long and hot and I was wiped out the next day. Hershey Park is a nice smaller park and the kids love it. If you ever have the chance to visit I highly recommend it – just try and do it on a day where the weather is a lot cooler and you are not spending $3.00 per water bottle – what a rip off.

Oh and let me add – the last time I was at Hershey Park I was twice the size and extra miserable. It was not as bad being lighter on my feet this time around so that was a big plus.

Can u believe I did not even eat any chocolate while I was there either? Just crazy!!

Eating more and dropping weight – True Story

Eating More

Today I woke up and did my official weigh in and was SHOCKED to see the scale went down 2 pounds since last week. Yesterday on Mother’s Day I stepped on the scale and saw I went back down 1 pound, but was no way expecting to see another one gone this morning.

3 weeks ago on my weigh in day I hit 179 lbs which was a big goal of mine to be under 180 lbs. It was a celebration for me, but then the next week I jumped back up to 180 lbs and sat there for 2 weeks. Oh yes the wonderful Weight Loss Roller Coaster Ride like I wrote about in my last post. I was not happy about that of course, but just came to terms with it.

So this morning I went on the scale and was nervous because yesterday I snacked a lot on cookies and even had an Italian Sub for dinner (well 1/2) and thought the scale was going to be up even more. When I stepped on the scale and saw 178 lbs looking back at me I almost fell over. Instead I ran to my office downstairs naked to grab the camera so I could photograph the scale to show my hubby when he came home from dropping my son off from school. It was hysterical that I was running naked through my house to get the camera. Ok wait I lied I had on my fuzzy pink socks – lol

I never in a million years expected to see my weight drop this week because the entire week I ate more than I had in quite some time. On top of that I even had 2 instances that I ate more than my stomach could handle and got sick (I did not throw up – just that horrible stomach pain sick). I also has made Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies for the kids and hubby and found myself eating a bunch of those as well.

So I got to thinking about it all and have come to the conclusion that I must have kicked my metabolism back into gear by eating more. I have said in the past that I thought my weight loss slowed down because I was hardly eating much and that could be very true. Now don’t get me wrong I am not gonna start pigging out or anything, but I think I have to make a much better effort to remember to eat during the day vs. skipping meals or forgetting to have one. It is not that I am trying to avoid eating it is just sometimes I am busy and simply just forget because I am not hungry.

For what ever reason this week I just ate a lot more than normal – I think it may have had something to do with the horrible weather and being stuck in the house and also I was having some additional pain in my back and a little depressed for a few days. In the end it seemed to pay off.

So as of today I am down a grand total of 108 lbs since my Gastric Bypass Surgery and now only 13 lbs away to my next goal of reaching 165 lbs. Holy Crap – that seems so doable!!!

Stay Tuned….

Check out my new Ceramic Candle Warmer Crock

Ceramic Candle Warmer Crock

I am so excited about my new Ceramic Candle Warmer Crock that I have to tell you all about it. I told you when I find things I love I always share because I did not even know these existed until a couple weeks ago – where have I been?

So here is how I found about about these – you all know I just got new appliances a few weeks ago and I always have a candle that sits on my stove top. Now I like a warmer that heats up my candles vs. having to light them due to obvious fire reasons. I have always just used your basic warmer – the ones you would also use for your coffee mugs. It would just warm up my candle and allow it to give off its smell. I had a black one originally and that one broke and then I got a white one which I have always hated cause it did not match my kitchen.

So when I got my new stove it stood out and looked horrible so I went in search for a new candle warmer I came across these Ceramic Candle Warmer Crocks that hold the entire jarred candle and fell in love. Honestly I had never seen these before and got so excited!!! The next hard part was choosing which one to get since there are so many awesome choices. I ended up choosing this Ceramic Rustic Brown one by Candle Warmers Etc.and it was only $19.75 with free shipping on Amazon – BONUS!!!

So I figured if I was getting this new awesome candle warmer I should get a good candle to go in it. So I figured I would cave and spend money on a Yankee Candle which I had never done before since I am so cheap – lol. Well we all know how many scents there are so time to have my head spin again choosing which one to get. I only like sweet smells and in addition to that my husband has bad asthma so I have to be very careful that I get something that will not bother him as well.

So in the end I chose the Yankee Candle Large 22-Ounce Jar Candle, Christmas Cookie it got great reviews and I love the Sugar Cookie smell candles and this is just like that. Of course the candle cost me more than the damn warmer at $30 bucks, but it was a treat to myself. Secret – I never had a large Yankee Candle before !! OMG I was so exited and could not wait for delivery, I know pathetic right?

Ceramic Candle Warmer Crock

I was like a kid on Christmas when my package came – I could not believe how excited I was for a candle – yup this is what happens when we get old I think. Anyway – look at how much nicer that looks on my stove vs. the old ugly white warmer. I am in LOVE. But does it work?

The new warmer has a switch right on the cord (my old one did too) so I inserted my Yankee Candle and turned that baby on. Initially it took a couple hours for the candle to get warm enough and turn to liquid in the crock, but once it did my kitchen smelt delicious as if I was baking lots of cookies. I was almost attempted to get a spoon and eat my candle, but no worries I knew better.

It seems the next day when I used it it took less time for the candle to liquify and it still smells yummy!!!

I LOVE my new Candle Warmer Crock and highly recommend everyone get one!!!!

My next Yankee Candle scent will be : Vanilla Cupcake!!!

The Gastric Bypass Weight Loss Roller Coaster Ride

Roller Coaster Ride

Once you have Gastric Bypass Surgery be prepared for the Weight Loss Roller Coaster Ride filled with ups, downs, twists, turns, crazy spins, going backwards and dead stops. It is all part of the process and not always a fun ride at all.

I personally have never been one to ride on Roller Coasters at amusement parks, just not my thing. I do however ride on the Roller Coaster of Life and now the Weight Loss Roller Coaster Ride I signed up for. I wish I can say the ride has been thrilling the whole time I have been on it, but I cannot. It has been just as I described; filled with ups, downs, twists, turns, crazy spins, going backwards and dead stops.

I have been though all of them at this point being almost 1 1/2 years post op. I have lost as of this post a total of 106 pounds. Is this ride worth it – OMG yes – no doubt. If you have already had the surgery yourself you are probably on the ride and if you are going to be having the surgery you will soon be on it as well – so get ready.

This ride starts right out of surgery and can seem to go the wrong way instantly – backwards. For instance when I came home from the hospital I was up 4lbs, but that of course was from all the fluids they pump in you at the hospital. Then the ride gets fun and you start to lose lots of weight every week and then BAM you have a weight loss stall and come to a dead stop which can last a couple weeks. Then you start losing again and then out of no where you gain a couple and then lose a pound, stall again, lose, gain, stall. That is how it goes – just crazy!!!

Then come a year post op or so things really slow down and you are not at your goal weight and start losing your mind trying to figure out why and what you can do to get this damn ride back on track like your car derailed some how. Well that is where I am right now. I started my ride at 286 lbs and I am down to 180 lbs. I was so excited 2 weeks ago to hit 179 lbs, but that was short lived – the next week I went up 1 lb and have stayed the same since – Ahhhhhhh. My personal goal is to be 150 lbs, but honestly I do not think my body will get there and that may even be to low for me. My surgeon said a good weight for me would be 165 lbs and I am trying hard to get there, but my body seems to be happy around the 180 lb mark for whatever reason.

The funny thing is that my surgeon had told me prior to my surgery that he saw me losing about 100 pounds from the surgery and leveling out around the 180 lb mark – that just sits in the back of my head – is he psychic? did he cast a spell on my body?

I guess I will have to just continue on the ride and see what comes next for me. Regardless if I make it to my goal at this point I am so much happier with where I am right now. I am so glad I got on this Roller Coaster Ride and I will continue to push myself to make my goal and if it takes another year so be it!!

I cannot believe I am actually wearing a tank top and capris and can go out in public and not stand out looking like a blob. I think if I just lost the other 15 pounds to get to 165 I would be satisfied. We will see where this ride will take me.

Stay Tuned….

I did it ~ I made another Goal !!

Another Goal

OMG I did it – I made another goal of mine. I am in the 170′s again and could not be happier. I cannot even tell you how long it has been since I have been this weight – at least over 16 years or more.

I am now down a grand total of 107 lbs since my Gastric Bypass Surgery. I am still shocked every time I think about it – just seems so unreal to me. I still have those moments when something will happen where I get shocked by it all.

Like the other day when I was folding laundry and thought a pair of pants belonged to my 12 year old daughter and then I realized they were mine. Things like that will never get old – EVER!!!

I know it has been a bit since my last post, but I have been so busy in the yard and enjoying the nice weather. My hubby and I built the new run on the Chicken Coop for my chickens and it came out AWESOME!!! Hard to tell in the photo but it is very large and has a door so I can walk in and hang out with my chicks. He also put chicken wire across the top so I do not have to worry about hawks or other critters coming in and getting any of my chickens. I was finally able to move the 8 hens that were in my kitchen since chicks into it on Sunday and just in time to get it all clean for the delivery of my new appliances that were delivered on Monday morning.

Oh and earlier in the week my daughter’s pet hamster died – so sad. Then a couple days later she adopted a new pet – a Netherland Dwarf Bunny she named Karrotin.

In addition to all that I was battling the worst sinus pressure headache that lasted for 4 days and finally just today started to subside after taking some Mucinex. It was horrible to say the least.

So I have been very busy with all of that and a bunch of other stuff, but in the end when I weighed in yesterday I got the surprise of making my goal of getting into the 170′s and was so happy and shocked that I ran to grab my camera and take a picture of the scale.

So now it is time to set my next mini goal and I have decided it will be to get to 169 lbs. That may take awhile, but that is ok. I am gonna work hard and while the weather is still cool I will take lots of walks to try and make it happen quickly. I will be in total shock more than I am now to see that number on the scale. That will call for a big celebration and ya know what that is what I will do. When I make that goal I am gonna have a party for myself or buy myself a present – lol.

Stay Tuned…

Guest Post ~ This is Marissa’s Gastric Bypass Story

Guest Post

I have decided to feature Guest Posts on my Blog which will feature stories of others who have had Weight Loss Surgery. While I love that you all follow MyStory I thought it would be fun to hear others as well.

Everyone has their own story to tell and their own experiences when it comes to Weight Loss Surgery – both good and bad. I think reading all about what others have experienced will help you either make the choice to have the surgery yourself or help you through if you already have.

So I put together a list of questions for my guests to answer and asked them to be completely honest with their answers. I am hoping to have many Guest Posts featured here on my blog and it will be so much fun to read each and everyone of them. So are you ready? Ok lets go…

This is Marissa’s Story…

1. WHAT TYPE OF WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY DID YOU HAVE AND WHAT DATE WAS IT?

December 19, 2011.  I was 31 years old.

2. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THAT SURGERY OVER ANOTHER SURGERY – LIKE GASTRIC BYPASS VS. LAP BAND

I heard that getting the lap band usually resulted in a future roux en y.  I wanted the fast results that came with the Roux En Y.

3. WHAT WAS YOUR HIGHEST WEIGHT PRIOR TO SURGERY AND WHAT WAS YOUR WEIGHT THE DAY OF SURGERY? WHAT IS YOUR WEIGHT RIGHT NOW?

Highest – 288.5,  Day of surgery – 276, Current – 140 lbs.

4. HOW DID YOU COME TO MAKING THE DECISION TO UNDERGO WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY?

I finally got tired of numerous failed attempts of diets.  Seeing my sister’s wedding pictures that I was in and how big I was made it official.  I did not struggle what-so-ever.

5. WHAT DO YOU THINK CAUSED YOU TO GAIN SO MUCH WEIGHT— ARE YOU A COMFORT FOOD EATER? HAVE YOU STRUGGLED WITH WEIGHT ALL YOUR LIFE? HOW MANY DIFFERENT DIETING PLANS HAVE YOU TRIED OVER THE YEARS? CAN YOU NAME THEM?

I didn’t struggle with my weight until I had kids.  I was always skinny until I hit age 20 where I was pregnant with my first child and gained 90 lbs. and never lost it after he was born.  I tried the fad diets throughout the years.

6. DID YOU HAVE ANY PROBLEMS WITH YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY APPROVING YOUR SURGERY OR DID YOU SELF PAY FOR IT?

I had no problems getting my insurance to cover my surgery.  I did have to go through the 6 month process of dietician appts, psych appts, and the informational sessions.

7. WHAT WAS THE PROCESS YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY MADE YOU GO THROUGH TO GET TO THE POINT OF SURGERY? EXAMPLE: HOW MANY MONTHS OF NUTRITIONAL COUNSELING, HOW MUCH WEIGHT IF ANY DID THEY REQUIRE YOU TO LOSE… WERE YOU DENIED AT ALL THE FIRST TIME ETC..

See answer above

8. HOW DID OTHERS REACT TO YOUR DECISION TO HAVE WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY? DID YOU HAVE SUPPORT? DID YOU KEEP YOUR CHOICE A SECRET FROM YOUR CO WORKERS OR ANY OTHERS?

I had a lot of support, but I also had the negative nancys that were afraid of what ‘could’ happen.  I didn’t keep it a secret, I was very open with everyone I talked to.

9. TELL ME ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH YOUR SURGERY — DID IT ALL GO WELL OR DID YOU HAVE ANY COMPLICATIONS AND IF SO WHAT WERE THEY.

My surgery was pretty cut and dry.  Everything went accordingly.  I struggled a little bit on day 1 and 2 of post op to get water down, but it all worked out.

10. HOW WAS YOUR PAIN AFTER SURGERY — HOW LONG WAS IT BEFORE YOU FELT GOOD ENOUGH TO RETURN TO YOUR NORMAL ACTIVITIES/WORK?

The pain was TREMENDOUS – but I kept telling myself that pain is only temporary.  I returned to school a little less than 3 weeks after surgery with no issues.

11. DID YOU HAVE A HARD TIME FOLLOWING THE EATING RULES AFTER SURGERY? IF SO WHAT HAS BEEN THE HARDEST RULE FOR YOU?

I didn’t follow the exact schedules that the surgeon wanted me to.  I felt I was ready sooner than the allotted time of each stage.  I was on solids sooner than I probably should have been.  I did learn from several dumping episodes.

I did the same thing – I jumped ahead a bit myself

12. IS THERE ANYTHING YOU NOW HAVE TROUBLE EATING OR CANNOT TOLERATE SINCE THE SURGERY?

There isn’t much I have issues with as far as foods since surgery.  Sometime I forget to slow down though.

13. DID YOU EXPERIENCE ANY AFTER SURGERY DEPRESSION FROM YOUR HORMONES GOING CRAZY?

After surgery I did struggle with my emotional well-being.  At week 2 I really struggled.  I could cry at the drop of a hat.  I dealt with this by calling friends who also had the surgery.  They helped me talk through my issues.

I have had calls from my friends when they went through those sad moments – always good to have someone who has gone through it to be told it is normal.

14. HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED DUMPING SYNDROME AND IF SO WHAT CAUSED IT AND WHAT DID IT FEEL LIKE TO YOU. EXPLAIN YOUR SYMPTOMS.

I still get it occasionally; probably about once every three months or so.  My dumping consists of an ‘icky’ feeling, sometimes puking, sometimes diarrhea, sweats, fatigue.

15. DO YOU DRINK PROTEIN SHAKES? IF SO WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FLAVOR AND BRAND AND DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL WAY YOU PREFER IT? COLD/HOT, MIXED WITH SOMETHING ELSE ETC…

I do not drink protein shakes.  I had tried several that I didn’t like and kind of turned me off from all of them.  My dietician said that I don’t need to try to drink the shakes since whatever I am or have been doing works just fine.

16. WHEN YOU WERE ON THE PUREED PART OF THE DIET— WHAT WAS YOUR GO TO FOOD?

My go to food was chili.  It was the first food that I felt normal eating (pureed of course) And I still LOVE it and I make it a lot.

17. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE AFTER WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY ALLOWED SNACK NOW?

My favorite weight loss snack hasn’t really changed. I love all raw veggies, hardboiled eggs, string cheese. I loved all those snacks presurgery.  I just ate TOO much of them.

18. WHAT VITAMINS DO YOU TAKE ON A DAILY BASIS SINCE THE SURGERY?

Multi, calcium, vitamin d, biotin, and the b12 every 5-6 weeks.

19. HAVE YOU HAD ANY COMPLICATIONS SINCE HAVING THE SURGERY? ANY ADDITIONAL SURGERIES OR ULCERS?

No complications what-so-ever.

20. HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED ANY HAIR LOSS SINCE HAVING THE SURGERY? IF SO EXPLAIN AND IF YOU HAVE ANY TIPS ON HOW YOU DEAL WITH IT.

About 3 months post op I was losing a large amount of hair.  I have naturally thick and curly hair, so it didn’t hurt me too badly. I just got sick of my drain in my tub getting plugged up.  That’s when I started biotin.  That all subsided at about 6 months.  I still continue to take the biotin.

21. WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST WOW MOMENT AFTER YOU LOST SOME WEIGHT FROM THE SURGERY — LIKE SOMEONE NOTICING, BEING ABLE TO FIT IN A SEAT WITH ROOM TO SPARE, DROPPING A CLOTHING SIZE ETC…

There are several.  The “WOW! You look great!” comments that came at about month 4-6.  The ah ha moment that I can fit into a movie seat without being scrunched… the moment I could climb stairs without getting winded.  Recently though, I ran into an old friend who hadn’t seen me for about 6 months.  He walked in and said “Wow, I would never have recognized you had I seen you on the streets!”  That was amazing!

Yes those are most definitely all BIG WoW moments, good for you!!

22. DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE AFTER SURGERY RECIPE THAT YOU LOVE AND WANT TO SHARE?

I have had to get very creative with chicken.  My favorite recipe is one I got off of pinterest.  It can be found here: http://realmomkitchen.com/9318/oven-baked-chicken-fajitas/ I think it also helps that my entire family loves these as well.

Pinterest ROCKS!!

23. IS THERE ANY THING FOODWISE YOU MISS THAT YOU CANNOT HAVE NOW?

I miss ice cream.  I can have it, but my tummy cramps up and I have the worst gas.

24. WHAT PANT SIZE WERE YOU PRIOR TO SURGERY AND WHAT SIZE ARE WEARING RIGHT NOW?

I was in a 26 pant size and now I’m in 6-8 pants.

Holy Moly girl – that is a HUGE clothing size drop, way to go!!

25. DO YOU HAVE ANY REGRETS ABOUT HAVING WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY? WOULD YOU DO IT AGAIN IF YOU HAD TO?

No regrets. NONE!  I love me!  I would do it all again.  I do fear that I am too skinny now, but I am happy with myself!  I just get sick of the comments “You look anorexic!”  SCREW THOSE PEOPLE!

You are right screw them – if you are happy that is all that matters.

26. TELL US THREE GOALS YOU HAVE FOR YOURSELF OR WANT TO MEET WHEN YOU HAVE LOST THE WEIGHT YOU WANT OR MAYBE YOU HAVE ACCOMPLISHED THEM ALREADY:

I worked on some bucket list items:  I got my motorcycle license about 5 months after surgery.  I am doing the Dirty Girl Mud Run in August that is a 5k muddy obstacle course.  I have done Zumba, which is something I never would have done before. I have noticed that some of my stage freight has also gone away.

AWESOME!!!

27. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE ELSE WHO IS THINKING ABOUT HAVING WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY?

Do it for you, nobody else!  Pay very close attention to all the mental health aspects.  Its easier for someone to tell you what you will feel, but until you actually go through it, you have no clue what to expect.

Great Advice.

Now who wants to see some before and after photos of Marissa?

Before and After Photos Gastric BypassWow in less than one year Marissa completely transformed her life and looks not only years younger, but absolutely Amazing!!!

Thank you Marissa for sharing your story and photos with all of us. I also want to thank you since we became online friends in the early part of my post op and being so helpful as I went through the journey as well.  You are no doubt an inspiration.

Want to share your story?

If you would be willing to share your story and answer the same questions Contact Me and I will send you what you need. We would love to hear all about you!!

Guest Post ~ This is Fay’s Gastric Bypass Story

Selfie

I have decided to feature Guest Posts on my Blog which will feature stories of others who have had Weight Loss Surgery. While I love that you all follow MyStory I thought it would be fun to hear others as well.

Everyone has their own story to tell and their own experiences when it comes to Weight Loss Surgery – both good and bad. I think reading all about what others have experienced will help you either make the choice to have the surgery yourself or help you through if you already have.

So I put together a list of questions for my guests to answer and asked them to be completely honest with their answers. I am hoping to have many Guest Posts featured here on my blog and it will be so much fun to read each and everyone of them. So are you ready? Ok lets go…

This is Fay’s Story…

1. WHAT TYPE OF WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY DID YOU HAVE AND WHAT DATE WAS IT?

I had RNY Gastric Bypass on August 25, 2008.

2. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THAT SURGERY OVER ANOTHER SURGERY – LIKE GASTRIC BYPASS VS. LAP BAND

I chose this surgery because of the amount of weight I felt I needed to lose.

3. WHAT WAS YOUR HIGHEST WEIGHT PRIOR TO SURGERY AND WHAT WAS YOUR WEIGHT THE DAY OF SURGERY? WHAT IS YOUR WEIGHT RIGHT NOW?

My top weight before surgery was 375lbs.  My weight the day of surgery was (to the best of my recollection) 357lbs.

4. HOW DID YOU COME TO MAKING THE DECISION TO UNDERGO WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY?

My husband and I had come to this decision together for each of us. We have both had this same surgery.  My biggest struggle with deciding for myself was that I feared I would somehow fail yet again to actually lose weight.  I didn’t want to have some big, drastic surgery, and still end up being huge.  I wasn’t sure I could survive another failure.

5. WHAT DO YOU THINK CAUSED YOU TO GAIN SO MUCH WEIGHT— ARE YOU A COMFORT FOOD EATER? HAVE YOU STRUGGLED WITH WEIGHT ALL YOUR LIFE? HOW MANY DIFFERENT DIETING PLANS HAVE YOU TRIED OVER THE YEARS? CAN YOU NAME THEM?

You name a diet, I had probably tried it at some point.  I had struggled with my weight my entire life.  I began using food as a distraction when I was in first grade.  I can actually remember being bored while watching TV and going to get whatever I had seen advertised.  Probably didn’t help that I grew up in a family owned grocery store and could just go get whatever I wanted off the shelf!  My parents didn’t realize the habits I was developing until I had already gotten used to eating for entertainment.  Later, my eating turned into comfort eating for multiple reasons.  Mostly, however, it was from depression.  By the time I was out of college I was experiencing major depression and in my mid-twenties I was hospitalized for it.  I was also mis-diagnosed as bi-polar a couple of years before surgery.  I have classified myself as a food addict.  It was my drug in almost every way.  I thought obsessively about junk food and drive-thrus, and before surgery it was not uncommon for me to stop at least once for a “snack” on my way home from work.  I would often cry as I ate junk food, because I knew that if I didn’t stop, I’d never lose weight, but I had no idea how I could ever stop.  Finally, I found a counselor who was a substance abuse counselor, and she treated my like any other addict.  Until then, nothing had ever worked.  I began intense counseling with her about 8 months prior to surgery.

6. DID YOU HAVE ANY PROBLEMS WITH YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY APPROVING YOUR SURGERY OR DID YOU SELF PAY FOR IT?

My insurance was excellent.  We met our deductible and never got another bill.

7. WHAT WAS THE PROCESS YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY MADE YOU GO THROUGH TO GET TO THE POINT OF SURGERY? EXAMPLE: HOW MANY MONTHS OF NUTRITIONAL COUNSELING, HOW MUCH WEIGHT IF ANY DID THEY REQUIRE YOU TO LOSE… WERE YOU DENIED AT ALL THE FIRST TIME ETC..

I had to have several tests leading up to surgery, such as Upper GI, EKG, blood work, helicobacter pylori and a brief psych exam.  I passed all those just fine.  (Yes, even the psych exam! lol)  My surgery required nutritional counseling with his staff, as well as a physical assessment and routine consultation with his exercise physiologist.  Once all that was done, I was approved within a few days of insurance submission.  My insurance required a certain BMI which I more than exceeded, and co-morbidities, which I had.  (sleep apnea, depression, joint problem)

8. HOW DID OTHERS REACT TO YOUR DECISION TO HAVE WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY? DID YOU HAVE SUPPORT? DID YOU KEEP YOUR CHOICE A SECRET FROM YOUR CO WORKERS OR ANY OTHERS?

I had amazing support.  My husband had surgery first so he knew what to expect with me.  I didn’t keep anything a secret, I believe secrets keep us sick.  I have since had a couple of people react badly, but I didn’t do it for them, I did it for me!

9. TELL ME ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH YOUR SURGERY — DID IT ALL GO WELL OR DID YOU HAVE ANY COMPLICATIONS AND IF SO WHAT WERE THEY.

My surgeon has said I’m his “poster-patient” for how surgery should go.  I didn’t have ANY physical complications during surgery, the hospital stay or my at home recovery.  I had a few rough days prior to surgery with the liquid phase, but who doesn’t?  At the hospital I was doing laps in the hall a few hours after getting to my room.  Yeah, it hurt, but I was determined not to get blood clots or a lung infection from being there.  My days in nursing paid off for me in that respect.  Sure, I had the gas pains and such, but I just considered that part of the process.

The only concern for me came 30 days after surgery when I was trying to re-start all of my psych meds.  My body just could not tolerate them at all.  I tried everything anyone could think of short of IV to get those drugs back into my system, but my body would just not have it.  Finally, after 3 months of trying and careful monitoring with my surgeon and psychiatrist, I was told to stop trying to take these meds.  I haven’t needed them since.

* PLEASE READ THIS

If you have been prescribed any medication, please do not stop it without talking to your doctor.  My case is unique to me and very rare in general.  I was lucky to have doctors who listened to me, but I had years long relationships with them and had earned their trust.  Please, don’t play around with any drug therapy on your own.  This is especially true with psychiatric drugs.  Changing these drugs can be very tricky and cause major harm if not carefully monitored with a professional.  Please, PLEASE, follow your physicians’ advice.

10. HOW WAS YOUR PAIN AFTER SURGERY — HOW LONG WAS IT BEFORE YOU FELT GOOD ENOUGH TO RETURN TO YOUR NORMAL ACTIVITIES/WORK?

My pain control was great in the hospital and at home.  My surgeon was familiar with my tolerance for pain medication as he had operated on me before for a different issue.  After going home I continued to walk daily as my strength and endurance returned and in a couple of weeks I was back to a mostly normal routine.  A month later I felt no lingering effects from surgery aside from the fact that I was NEVER hungry.

11. DID YOU HAVE A HARD TIME FOLLOWING THE EATING RULES AFTER SURGERY? IF SO WHAT HAS BEEN THE HARDEST RULE FOR YOU?

I didn’t have trouble with the rules.  I was very compliant and worked hard on getting my protein intake up as quickly as I could. As for eating, I think seeing my husband do it and helping him had prepared me for what I needed to do.  I was really bad about taking my pepcid and my vitamins, though.  Five years later I am just now getting mostly consistent with vitamins.

12. IS THERE ANYTHING YOU NOW HAVE TROUBLE EATING OR CANNOT TOLERATE SINCE THE SURGERY?

I can’t eat hardly any kind of cereal with milk.  Even just Special K will make me dump.  I am pretty sensitive to any kind of sugar, so I have to try to be careful with that.  I also cannot eat country sausage.  I’m a mountain girl and grew up on homemade sausage gravy and biscuits.  I do miss that from time to time.  I can eat a piece of two of bacon, just not sausage. Goes right through me if you know what I mean, lol.  Other than that, I can eat a little of almost anything else I want.

I remember my first time trying Cereal after surgery – I dumped as well – I did a post all about it here: Cereal is NOT my friend. I think it is the liquid combo – drinking and eating at the same time. I can report I have had cereal since that time and have had no issues, but I used a lot less milk.

13. DID YOU EXPERIENCE ANY AFTER SURGERY DEPRESSION FROM YOUR HORMONES GOING CRAZY?

Yep!  I was a crazy person for a little bit.  A day here or there would just be really hard.  Then my cycle started getting evened out and my PMS became PMDD, other wise known as “stay outta my way day”!  Actually, the only thing that really got worse for me after surgery was my cycle. I developed endometriosis and have a hard time with my periods, they’re VERY painful.  No way to tell if surgery had anything to do with it.  However, it’s not an issue that makes me regret my surgery.

14. HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED DUMPING SYNDROME AND IF SO WHAT CAUSED IT AND WHAT DID IT FEEL LIKE TO YOU. EXPLAIN YOUR SYMPTOMS.

Yes, I know all about dumping syndrome.  The first time it happened I swore I was dying.  I felt as though every ounce of energy was pouring out of my body, my heart raced, and I was very nauseous. That was a pretty severe case and it was from eating cereal.  Evidently I’m a slow learner because I manage to have a episode of it every few months at least, lol.  Usually because I had too much sugar and wasn’t paying enough attention.  Junk food has done it a couple of times, though.  I’m scared of anything from Taco Bell now, lol.

Even though Dumping is horrible for us Bypassers it is also a blessing in disguise – it helps keeps us in check.

15. DO YOU DRINK PROTEIN SHAKES? IF SO WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FLAVOR AND BRAND AND DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL WAY YOU PREFER IT? COLD/HOT, MIXED WITH SOMETHING ELSE ETC…

I don’t drink them now.  When I did, I used New Whey vials from GNC.  I mixed mine with ice water and would sip on them all day long.

16. WHEN YOU WERE ON THE PUREED PART OF THE DIET— WHAT WAS YOUR GO TO FOOD?

Mashed potatoes and refried beans!  And, I got so sick of jello that to this day just the thought of it turns my stomach!

OMG me too – I loved my Mashed Potatoes and Refried Beans with some Sour Cream and Salsa – yummy!!! I also got sick from Jell-O in the hospital and the sugar free gave me such a headache.

17. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE AFTER WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY ALLOWED SNACK NOW?

I snack on cheese a good bit, since it has protein.  It’s still cool to me how a normal serving size is enough, sometimes more than enough.

18. WHAT VITAMINS DO YOU TAKE ON A DAILY BASIS SINCE THE SURGERY?

I take pur-absorb iron every day with a little apple juice, a pre-natal multi with iron, and a b-complex.  No, I’m not pregnant, but it’s one my body can absorb well.  I have a very hard time with iron, but was usually borderline anemic prior to surgery, so it’s not a surprise.

19. HAVE YOU HAD ANY COMPLICATIONS SINCE HAVING THE SURGERY? ANY ADDITIONAL SURGERIES OR ULCERS?

I have had two more surgeries since gastric bypass, but they weren’t related to it in any way.  I’ve not had trouble with ulcers or anything else.  It’s all been pretty smooth sailing.

20. HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED ANY HAIR LOSS SINCE HAVING THE SURGERY? IF SO EXPLAIN AND IF YOU HAVE ANY TIPS ON HOW YOU DEAL WITH IT.

Oh yeah, I thought for sure I was going to be bald, lol.  I would panic in the shower, but the major hair loss only lasted about 6 months for me and, no one else was ever really able to tell I’d lost hair except for my hair stylist.  The b-complex helps with this issue.

21. WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST WOW MOMENT AFTER YOU LOST SOME WEIGHT FROM THE SURGERY — LIKE SOMEONE NOTICING, BEING ABLE TO FIT IN A SEAT WITH ROOM TO SPARE, DROPPING A CLOTHING SIZE ETC…

My first wow moment was a family member who didn’t recognize me.  It was a cousin’s wife and we went to high school together, so, it’s not like she barely knew me.  I watched her walk by me twice before I finally called her name. She was thrilled for me.  It was awesome!

I still have wow moments almost 5 years later.  Sitting in one of my rockers on my front porch is cool, I used to overflow them.  Getting back on an airplane and not needing the seat belt extender.  Going in Lane Bryant and trying on the smallest size and realizing that literally everything in the entire store was too big for me now.  I now shop at thrift stores and find awesome deals.  I’m way better dressed now for a fraction of the cost!

Those are all awesome!!! I am also a big thrift store shopper – before when I would go I was so limited to what I could buy. When you only got to shop the plus sizes and the selection was so small – now I love being able to shop the entire store and I come home with a giant bag every time I go.

22. DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE AFTER SURGERY RECIPE THAT YOU LOVE AND WANT TO SHARE?

Brussel Sprouts!  I’m crazy for them, lol.  I cook them all kinds of ways, never get tired of them.  And roasted broccoli. This is a food I often crave.  I toss it in a little olive oil with some spices and roast it on 450 until it looks good to me.  Way better than eating french fries!

Hmmm I never even thought to roast Broccoli – I do that all the time with Asparagus – now I am going t have to try that out myself. Sounds Delish!!

23. IS THERE ANY THING FOODWISE YOU MISS THAT YOU CANNOT HAVE NOW?

Aside from sausage, not really.  I thought that I missed regular coke, but I had a sip a while back and it doesn’t taste anything like I remembered it, and it was nasty, so, I guess I’m over that!

24. WHAT PANT SIZE WERE YOU PRIOR TO SURGERY AND WHAT SIZE ARE WEARING RIGHT NOW?

Prior to surgery I was a size 34 & 4x shirts.  Today I’m a size 12 pants, 10 or 12 dress, and a medium or large top, depending on who makes it.

WoW, just Wow!!

25. DO YOU HAVE ANY REGRETS ABOUT HAVING WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY? WOULD YOU DO IT AGAIN IF YOU HAD TO?

Not one time have I regretted this decision.  I have been scared that I would mess up, scared I wouldn’t lose any more when I was stalled, but I have never regretted it.  I would do it again in a second.

Me 2!!

26. TELL US THREE GOALS YOU HAVE FOR YOURSELF OR WANT TO MEET WHEN YOU HAVE LOST THE WEIGHT YOU WANT OR MAYBE YOU HAVE ACCOMPLISHED THEM ALREADY:

I wanted to weigh less than 200 lbs.  And now I do.  I have lost that much, in fact!  My weight stays between 165-175, and the BMI chart says I walk the line between “normal” weight and overweight.  I prayed that surgery would keep me from needing a knee replacement before I was 35.  I’m now 36 and haven’t had knee pain in almost 4 years, so I don’t really think about it.  I take no medication and am no longer required to sleep with a mask on my face.  I can keep up with most anyone and am able to enjoy exercise and any kind of recreation I want to.

That is so great – way to go!!

27. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE ELSE WHO IS THINKING ABOUT HAVING WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY?

Whatever you do, make sure you get LOTS of good counseling before and after surgery.  For me, the counseling was the key to my success.  Don’t be afraid to be honest with yourself about how you got to where you are.  Address all that stuff because trust me, it’ll come out later.  The other big thing is don’t listen to everyone else.  Talk to your doctor, your supportive friends, but don’t believe everything you read on the message boards.  Most importantly, trust yourself.  Deep down inside you there’s a voice that knows whether or not this is the right path for you.  Each person has within themselves everything they need to be whole and healthy.  It’s nice to get help on hearing it, but ultimately, it’s up to each individual to LISTEN.

Great Advice.

Thank You Fay for sharing your story and your photos with my readers. You look A-Mazing and your story will be a big inspiration to many I am sure.

Want to share your story?

If you would be willing to share your story and answer the same questions Contact Me and I will send you what you need. We would love to hear all about you!!