ALMOST 9 months!

So here I am. On the eve of my 9 months post op. I’ve been on this journey as long as a baby develops. It’s a long time. And it flew by like the Southeaster winds here in Cape Town.

 

And I have such mixed feelings. I don’t know where to begin.

 

I honestly don’t!

 

Today I am wearing a pair of skinny jeans. It would never have fit me EVER, not even closely. Couldn’t get my calves in there even. And now? The bloody pants is too big! I am sitting here and it is hanging loose around my hips and legs. And it says SKINNY on it!

 

Of course I am not skinny. Not yet. Hopefully one day.

Anyway. It is a weird feeling.

 

Sometimes I still get surprised at random stuff. Like last night I was stretching my arm out to my love, and I looked at my arm, and I was like, who’s thin arm is this???

 

I have lost two thirds of my excess weight. A third still to go. I realise I won’t make it in time for my one year anniversary on April 17th. But that is ok. As long as I am weighing in the 80s, I will be elated (that is in kilograms – even if it is 89,9 kg, I’ll be so happy!). because the thing is, I can’t REMEMBER when last I was that weight. I remember when I was 17 years old, I weighed in the 90s. So I’ll be really happy if I am in the 80s by then.

 

This operation has changed my life. It changed me. In a good way.

If you are considering it, prepare yourself though. The MENTAL ride you go on is the craziest thing ever.

Maybe it’s just me. Probably is, just me. I had some mental problems beforehand, that was never dealt with. But you see, I do tend to believe that all people (well, most, there are exceptions to this) who are so grossly overweight do have some mental issue of some kind. And they self-medicated with food. That is how you get this size. That is my take on it, in any case.

 

And even if you didn’t get at that size because of some issues, you certainly GET some issues being that big – what with all the taunting and self-loathing, and degrading of yourself. The everyday struggle. Putting yourself down. Being put down by others. THINKING you see the disdain in strangers’ eyes. That does something to a person.

Anyway. So my biggest journey, to my surprise, was not the pounds lost showing up on the scale (although that was the initial high and yay and hoorah). No, my biggest journey is getting to the centre of me. Of who I am. What is wrong. And how can I fix it. And that I am ok enough. That I am actually a great person. That I can and will and shall deal with my demons. Deal with it, and then put it away. And live my life. As I should’ve been doing (and never ever really was).

 

So that’s me being all philosophical on the eve of my 9 months post op!

 

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ho ho ho. 2 days to go.

It is just before Christmas and I am feeling bleh. I am tired, I am a bit sad, I am a bit frustrated. I don’t know what’s going on with me. Probably my new meds. I dunno.

Went to the psych again and he added Wellbutrin to my mix. Read mixed reviews about it. Also discovered it is being used for people to stop smoking!

But I don’t want to stop smoking!

The thing is, I know I have to. But currently I am struggling my way through a marshland of serious mental difficulties. This weight loss has made a volcano erupt somehow. Which is a good thing, cause it’s stuff that was always there under the surface with which I never dealt. I dealt with it by eating myself to death.

Now I don’t eat myself to death anymore, thank fuck. BUT. now I am dealing with things I’ve had difficulty dealing with for over 20 years. And I need something. So I have  my menthols.

(And lately some Benylin with codeine, and that is so so so bad, i am trying to stop, honest to God)

It is just that I am crawling out of my skin, I want to shout, but it is as if it’ll just resonate, from one corner to the other to the other to the other all over me.

And in the meantime I am trying to cope with my parents’ very dire situation as well as me and my brother had a big falling out, which totally tore my world apart.

It also came to light that indeed it seems I am bipolar. so yay, I suffered from untreated bipolar disorder right through my teens and student years and trying to do my best, and fix everything and everyone, and yeah. Couldn’t just help myself anymore.

So I ate.

Now. I smoke. And now these Wellbutrin tablets (or the sleeping pills he prescribed) are leaving a TERRIBLE taste in my mouth. I struggle to drink water even, and I LOVE water! That is all I drink! litres of it!

So it seems a bit of a problem.

Anyhow.

I am trying to center myself and stay focused and taking me-time and do mindfullness as I was told. And it feels that it is working. But then I get moments like these. Where I sit in front of my computer and work and I just want to cry. And I don’t feel like doing anything. The thought of going home and reading a book doesn’t even excite me and make me happy – and that concerns me, because that is surely my favourite thing.

I don’t know. Sometimes I just get tired of this long journey I am on. It has its oases. Make no mistake. There are wonderful places along this yellow brick road. So many, that I would have to do a seperate post. But this is my moaning post. Cause I need to wallow a bit. When I am feeling better, I promise I will tell you all about the cool places I’ve discovered on this journey.

But now this weirdly bipolar, demented, disordered, girl interrupted just needs a bloody break.

And a smoke, darnit.

 

the day my hero died

Image

I am currently feeling so strange, so strange.

 

 

Perhaps the passing of the father of our nation, Nelson Mandela, has a lot to do with it.

 

This whole week has been full of ups and downs rollercoaster.

 

My weight is coming off very slowly, veeery slowly.

 

I am eating as I should. Proteins, low carbs. The only thing I am struggling a bit with is sugar. I drink a lot more tea than I used to. My go to “fix” is tea now. And I haven’t been able to switch to sweetener.

 

So I think that is holding me back a bit. And my eating some chocolate every now and then. Chocolate doesn’t make me dump, strangely so. And it is definitely an upper.

 

Something in which I feel I am in short supply of lately. My mental state is weirdly messed up, but perhaps I am getting better. Seeing my psychologist every week now and I think it is helping, although I find the whole process quite unsettling.

 

I don’t really like to talk about my feelings and emotions, I realised. I shy away from it.

A lot of small little issues coming to the fore, the more weight I lose.

 

Anyhoo.

 

Going to see my psychiatrist on Monday again. Hopefully he’ll up my medicine. The anxiousness and nervousness is still there. It is better, but sometimes it grips me at my throat.

And then I drink a sip of benylin cough syrup. Not good. Not good at all, I know that. I am after the codeine. It spaces me out and I feel zombified and that makes me feel happy.

So there is a problem.

What, I don’t know yet. But there’s a problem.

I suspect that I actually might be suffering from borderline personality disorder. But my psychologist is weary to make a diagnosis. Which is also frustrating a bit as I need to know what is “wrong” with me, so that I can make peace with it and learn how to cope with it.

Now it is just in the air.

Feeling weeeeeird.

 

But happy about my weightloss. Although I hoped it was more by now. I’ve lost a 100 pounds (45kgs). But I still have about 35kgs to go. Oi vey.

The weird depressed state anxious place I am in is also keeping me away from the gym. It is as if I just don’t have energy to lift my arm. I fall asleep when I get home and then I can’t sleep at night. I just don’t have the strength to go to the gym.

 

It’s crazy how one’s head can mess with everything about you.

 

I am talking in circles. I am sad today. My hero died last night. Rest in peace, uTata Madiba.

wandering down the yellow brick road

In less than a week I am 7 months post-op.

 

What a ride it has been thus far.

Difficult to wrap my head around it. I am a changed person. Mostly for the better. I am healthier, I feel more at ease in my skin, I can breathe better, I sleep better, I WALK better.

 

Sometimes the road still ahead gets to me though. I am sure it has some to do with my mental state. A lot of mental issues has come to the surface.

Things I obviously have been burying under a ridiculous amount of weight.

Trying to cope, trying to stay on course in my life, trying to deal with being on edge permanently, combating my perpetual state of anxiety.

And here it is, the big revelation of it all. I am dead on sure that I “suffer” from Borderline Personality Disorder.

And binge-eating was one of the ways to cope.

I am seeing a psychologist every week (and still regular check-ups to my psychiatrist as well) and it has helped a lot.

She hasn’t confirmed Borderline to me yet, but I can pick it up. In the way we talk about things, what comes up, her reaction – her words. I just know it in my gut.

So yeah, big and hectic things. Things that make the weight loss itself take a back-seat for a while. Something I don’t want to happen, but inevitably does.

So, I just try and deal with it.

I am glad for this surgery. It has made me come to a point where I can stand up and face my demons, look them squarely in the face. Not backing off. Not backing down. Not hiding away. Not eating myself in oblivion to try and attain numbness.

And albeit it a scary journey, it is a necessary one. And one I am so glad I am finally able to face, and travel on, to be able to reach my end destination.

 

Update – breakdown

I need to make a statement.

This last few weeks I have been in a very very very bad space (mainly because of office politics and not the op – plus I have a feeling i might suffer from borderline personality disorder).

Now the statement. I want to retract what i said about the psychiatrist. Why? Because I said some harsh things not feeling supported.

I said that because I was in crisis.

And you know what? This man made every effort to fit me into his busy schedule on short notice when I flipped and reached out for help this week.

And that is what I have come to realise. One has to reach out for help when you feel you need it. People can’t read your mind.

I am forever grateful for this man for grabbing my hand when I was drowning. And taking the time to listen and to help and advise. And to CARE. Cause i realised – he honestly cares.

Got me some meds and starting to feel better.

Also started seeing a psychologist – on his advice and i am so happy that i am doing this. I clearly need it.

I am so happy for all the help i received.

Blessed is what i am.

I also saw my surgeon. He was awesome! Quite happy with my progress and it made me feel so good. He says i am quite on track. I walked out of there feeling even lighter 😉

My bloodwork is all good. Yay for me!

Current weightloss stands at 42 kgs lost! Almost a hundred pounds!

Reached another big goal – for the first time ever i weigh less than my boyfriend!

So yeah this is me. Moving on up. Trying to get out of my crisis state. Had a good cry today. And feeling guilty about what I said previously. I was in a dark place and it bothers me now a lot. Especially since I was helped out so much this past week.

But I am keeping those posts as it is a reflection of where i was at the time.

And just part of my journey. Still is. Ongoing.

I am seeing my psychologist again tomorrow. Also going back to work after a week. Very scared. Especially since I have to ask my manager to leave an hour earlier so I can make my appointment.

On another front – at long last I found a protein shake I can stomach!! Soooo a lot of protein for me now and my weightloss has picked up again!

It is Evox 100% pure whey protein shake – cookies and cream flavour.

Ok i have to dash. Get ready for bed and the dreaded return to work where I am so afraid of getting into trouble. Especially since i am in the state i am in.

My feelings currently

My latest rant over at RnY Talk. It captures all i am feeling, so i am publishing it here.

Girls, to be honest i am very worried now about this smoking thing. I smoke. A lot. I stopped for 3 months presurgery and started again about one month post op.

I know it is bad and i understand it is especially bad after this op and why.but here’s the thing. Smoking is all i got.

My life is so terribly terribly shit at work that i feel i am at the brink of a disastrous breakdown. I am doing my all to balance my sanity. Ofcourse you all understand about the stressors and anxiety we have about all kinds of things – including:

• missing comfort from food
• coping without its “help”
• will i succeed
• getting foodstuffs right and ready
• doing research in eating plans and stuff (i am so frustrated cause all the info i get – 65% we dont have in south africa and i just cant seem to manage to get all my protein ;-(((
• trying to amp myself to go gymming and doing exercise. I hate exercise! And i am telling myself i like it and want to do it because it is needed and part of this process – but deep down i still hate it and i want to shout it out so that i can come clean to myself
• i have a lot of debt because of all the costs involved and i cannot seem te get out of it plus my parents are struggling a lot financially and i am so worried about them, they are also quite sickly and i am so afraid one of them might die, i will totally be f*cked of something happened to either if them and i dont know how to make it all better their whole situation and where their desperation is taking them and it breaks me to see them struggling like this they are the best parents in the world and dont deserve this life
• my mental state is up and down a lot and sometimes it gets really bad and i dont know what to do about it – i’m off my meds since surgery and although we have a good bariatric team here i feel the psych part is totally lacking, i saw the psychiatrist but it was a 30 minute or so talk and he was actually yawning (excusing himself for it, but still keeping on) and when i took a huge knock in hospital after my op because the nurses never gave me a substitution for my meds on time (after i had to harass them for it, like it wasnt even important on their notes or whatever) and obviously i was withdrawing he was just never there to check up on me – although his office is around the corner from the hospital – i mean how come?? Shouldnt that be a concern? i mean just one quick check in? especially seeing that i am a “difficult patient” making scenes in the hospital? I was flipping out and telling them something was wrong but noooo. And no use in going to my doctor (the surgeon) as he is just not one of those people that you can go to with your gripes. He is an excellent surgeon and did an excellent job, but there’s not that feeling of connectedness to talk about anything that i am feeling, and my fears and problems i am facing, so that is out. There is just no psych professionals here available to deal with bariatric patients and i feel it is so so so important!
•bloody hairloss and acne
• stressing about my partner and what i am putting him through. He is sticking it out and supports me all the way, but i know he has his own little issues and am i in someway, through all this crap of mine, making him be worse off??
• and the office politics where i am working oh my goodness that is the worst of all of all! I cannot TAKE it anymore, i’m nit even going to begin to talk about it because it upsets me extremely and it is just unbearable and there is actually nowhere to turn
• and what if i get a bloody ulcer from all this smoking????

Cause smoking is all i have now.

My few minutes to escape at the office, my moments of silence when i drag myself away from the kitchen and bad food, my comfort when the stress just gets too much. It is all i have now to cope – and gasp horror what will happen if i take that away from myself??

So it is not just to quiet for me. What if taking it away is the straw that breaks this camel’s back?? I am scared.

FIVE MONTHS OUT!

So today marks my 5 months post op halfway house.

 

And where am i?

 

Physically I am in quite a good space. I have lost 37 kilograms. That is almost 40!  That’s crazy man. I want to start lauging when I see that, I mean, who loses 40 kilograms? Definitely not ME, other people, I READ about, not me, not in a million years.

 

And here I am. Almost 40kgs lighter.

 

I am only halfway there, though. Another 40 to go. But somehow 40 does seem a bit more doable than 80 (seeing I have done 40 now and KNOW I can do it).

What a crazy thought.

 

Would it seem really horrible of me if I stated here that I think it should be more? That I could’ve done more? Because you know what, I could’ve. I’ve sabotaged myself here and there over the past 5 months. I only started exercising about two weeks ago (yeah, that is a shocker, for various reasons). I should’ve started a month post op, imagine where I could’ve been?

Also, I tend to eat chocolate. That is my only little pleasure left, and I indulge in it sometimes. Not all the time, and no not nearly as much as before the op.

 

But still it is there. And following the rules – it shouldn’t be. It doesn’t help that I don’t dump on chocolate (lucky me!!). but I will dump (or rather, go into a state of disarray) on apples.

 

So it frustrates me. The weight is coming off much more slowly now, and I want it to go faster. I don’t really know what I am feeling, to tell you the truth.

Something I have to say – and I realise this time and again – the biggest obstacle and challenge is mental. It is not physically. It is not the eating and the exercising and the not eating.

It is what is going on in your head. Well, for me that is, at least.

I get very emotional. I freak out. I cry. I get despondent. I get difficult. I cry. Sometimes I am elated, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying this op is putting one into a depression. God, not at all, do you know how much happier a human being I am for having this op? a lot!  I am just saying – it plays some mental tricks on you and it takes some time to get your ducks in a row.

Things can go haywire, but I suppose it is my hormones and especially also that I don’t have my “crutch” of food anymore. It is like the carpet was pulled from right under me. Things get bad for little Obeasta, and she scurries along to her corner in the dark and go eat something for comfort.

Now something bad happens and Obeasta don’t know where to go.

 

So my biggest wish and hope is that the psychological part of this whole trip of bariatric surgery gets sorted a bit. I find that I don’t really have any support on this front. Supposedly we have, it is in the paperwork, but nah, it doesn’t feel that way.

Also, I wasn’t very comfortable with the psychiatrist we had to see beforehand for the psych eval. That meeting had me feeling that something was lacking. I don’t know. Some understanding? Support? I am quite the observer and consider myself a good judger of people (jeez that sounds bad), but I just knew that I will not be returning to this man for guidance and help in the future.

And that leaves me out in the cold, because where do I turn?

I’ve been looking for psychologists specialising in patients with bariatric surgery and I haven’t found any. Here in Cape Town.

In the papers we received, a name was given of a lady that is part of the bariatric support team. In fact her details are still on there. But I haven’t seen her, not ONCE at any meeting or anything. I also heard from more than one patient that they had quite an upsetting experience with her and didn’t go back.

So where does this leave me?

I feel I need to talk to someone about everything that is happening to me. And also, how to develop strategies to relearn ways of dealing with issues. Obviously I’ve dealt with it incorrectly in the past (read: eating it all quiet).

The mental part of this journey is so so so important and honestly, it is the thing I struggled with most. The bariatric team behind me are so splendid, and did such an excellent job, it saddens me that this one part of it is falling behind so much. Especially as it is one of the most important parts. I need to sort my head out if I want this to be a success in the long term!

 

HEEEEEEEELP!

 

(but otherwise all is good in Obeastaland, thanks for asking.)