Friday, March 25, 2011

Must Share

Today I got an accurate sense of just. how. awfully. bloated. I am.

A few months ago I ran into a store to buy a jacket because it was unexpectedly cold and I wasn't adequately dressed, and I saw one on sale for $14.

Naturally, the jacket was in a size smaller than I usually wear, but I got it anyway, because just a few days earlier I'd found a different style jacket in the same size and it fit fine.

The new coat did not fit. be clear, it fit my shoulders and waist. It did not properly fit my pear-shaped lower half. I could zip it, but across the hips it was uncomfortably tight.

Fast forward to recent times, when I've been on a severe low-fat diet and kind of not eating much, thanks to the gall bladder. At least once a week I've taken that jacket out and tried it on. It's gotten bigger and bigger on the shoulders and waist -- and slightly, yes, slightly, looser around the wide hips.

On Monday, the day before my gall bladder surgery, I tried it on again.

It fit! It was the loosest it has ever been around the hips (with clothes on underneath) and I could have worn it out that day and nobody would have raised an eyebrow. I'd like it to be just a little bit looser, but even I recognized that it fit me better than it had.

Now then. What do you think I tried on this morning? And do you think it still fit?

No it did not!!! I couldn't even get the zipper to meet! I measured a three-inch distance from one side to the other across my lower belly. OMG!

The puffiness will be gone soon, my doctor assures me. But until then, just call me Puff, the magic non-dragon.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Made It

Gallbladder surgery was exactly as advertised = quick (to me) and pain free.

Recovery, not so much. Surprising amount of pain from the gas they pumped into my stomach to separate organs. The better to see them, doc said. That's fine by me, but Oh Lordy! The last thing I expected to wake up with was a massively distended, swollen belly.

Am surviving. Thank Goodness M was there and took the next day off too. I was really shocked by the pain, and the gobs of percocet the docs lobbed at me. The cure for the gas is to get up and walk, yet the more percocet one takes, the less one feels like getting up to do anything (and the more constipated one gets, as well).

In any case, I am decidedly on the mend. Now I am in my warm apartment, wrapped in a frowzy bathrobe pacing the floor like some modern day Mrs. Rochester. (I'm dying to see the new Jane Eyre movie.) It's impossible to get outside (two flights of stairs plus nasty weather) so I pace, pace, pace, nap, nap, nap, pace, pace, pace in an effort to rest and get the gas and anesthesia moving out of my system. Suspect I will feel very good indeed once the worst of the gas is gone.

Worst moment of the whole thing? Cab ride home from hospital. Delusional being that I am, I somehow thought I'd float out in minor discomfort and just hop in a cab. Instead, I hobbled out, bent over in pain, fighting the urge to vomit everywhere, and was treated to your usual 20-minutes of cabbie hell in NYC rush hour traffic. Start, stop, swerve, brakes, pot hole. I finally had to cry to the driver to please take it easy.

M said I was the whitest he'd seen me all day when I finally got out at our house. He grabbed my elbow because he thought for sure I was going to keel over. He wanted to take me back to the hospital, but no way was I getting back in another cab!

Learning moment in all -- do not send your friends flowers when they are recovering from an operation. It's a very, very nice gesture.... but who do you think has to get up to answer the door?

Thanks everyone for all the good wishes and for checking in. I'm ok, or I will be, once these next few days are over.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Casual Sunday

T minus two days and counting! Soon the gallbladder will be no more (and hopefully the weird stomach problems I've been experiencing will be gone too).

I've had a good weekend, but not enough working out. Saturday is my "rest day" officially, since I go to work early and am home late.

Sunday I *should* have gone to the gym, but we went to see a Korean documentary on WWII comfort women used by the Japanese Army .

(Believe me, that was not my first choice for a sunny Sunday afternoon, but M loves Korea and its history, so I dutifully went along, and in exchange he'll go to La Boheme with me later this year).

The filmmaker, a 72-year-old self-described "grandma" was there, and she did a Q&A after the showing that was even better than the film. Lovely to see strong and powerful women of all ages flexing their creative muscle. I found her quite inspiring.

I left the film thinking how much I would like to nosh on some delicious Korean BBQ (sigh -- anything can set off a craving, can't it? ). We settled for a light snack of Thai food, with me being very mindful of the fat content.

This place, Regional Thai, was right around the corner from the theater.
Cute, isn't it? This is what it looked like yesterday, although the front windows were closed because it was a touch brisk for full open-air dining.

Inside, it's lovely and calm.
As a bonus, we both remembered part way through our meal that this is where we had our second date, over nine years ago! Wow. Amazing that both our relationship and this restaurant have lasted!

We were able to navigate the lunch/snack pretty easily. I had decided to stick to the small, steamed appetizers, and M was leaning toward a small rice and shrimp dish. Then I saw the lunch special, for $6.95, was two appetizers and a rice dish with shrimp -- and I thought, "I don't care if we do look cheap and the waiter rolls his eyes at us, we'll just get the lunch special and split it."

That's what we did, and the waiter didn't sneer at us (to our faces, at least) and we didn't get Thai coffee even though it's gorgeous and sweet (too much fatty cream) and we split our very light lunch in quiet contentment.

It truly was small -- the appetizer portion that I got was one steamed vegetable dumpling (and only one) and a steamed spring roll full of flavorful fresh greens.

M's shrimp and rice was also good, albeit a touch greasy. I had a few spoonfuls but was scared about the potential for gallbladder rage later once the grease worked through my system. That helped me put the spoon down after my few bites. (And yes, I did feel some irritation later from the dang GB).

Then we grabbed the subway to meet some friends at the Museum of Design. There was a so-so display called Global Africa Project that had some interesting pieces, but if I'd had to pay the $15 entry fee I'd have felt ripped off (the city generously allows poor ink-stained wretches like me free access to local museums).

It was off for coffee and conversation then (only I had green tea) and a short trot to the subway station to come home for 7pm and dinner (roast chicken, rice pilaf, broc and peas). A great day, in all, but zero work out.

******We interrupt this blog to make an important announcement: the doctor's office has just called and they are pushing my surgery up a day, so I go tomorrow!!! OMG, now I'm nervous/excited and just want this to be over fast. Wish me luck!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Paddy's!

No green beer for me today, or green bagels, but NYC is feeling very Irish today! I ran out for a brief second this afternoon -- it's almost 60 degrees -- and this is what I saw

Nothing like a NYC parade. (These people are not in the parade, by the way, just pedestrians leaving after its completion.) Dont' have time to say much else, but hope you're all lucky like leprechauns today!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Downward Trend At Last

It's a sick day in the Ish household. I am feeling ok (just slightly queasy) but M is sick as a young pup. He's got some kind of stomach bug which I desperately hope I do not catch. Probably waaaay too late for that. I guess I'll find out tomorrow, won't I?

OK, enough with the bad news. Here is some good news: I put on my skinny jeans this week and they are finally, finally, finally almost as loose as I remember them being many months ago.

I say almost because I still feel that at one point they were a bit looser -- but it could be the mind playing tricks on me. In anycase, there's a ... smallness (for me, anyway) on some of my body parts that I haven't seen in a long time. My legs look better, my shoulders are straighter and slimmer, even the dreaded pear-shaped hips seem just a wee, wee bit less wide.

I have decided that next Tuesday, the day before my surgery, I will weigh-in and get an official tally of where I am at in relation to my second-lowest known adult weight ever. If I hit that milestone, I need to drop another 25 pounds to get to my lowest adult weight ever.

Er... let me clarify those definitions for you here. When I say lowest adult weight ever, I'm referring to the least I've weighed as an adult since I crossed the 200 mark (on the way up, obviously). So, on previous weight-loss efforts, I've hit these points, only to lose focus and rapidly leap back up to my most bloated state. Now I'm battling to get DOWN to those points again, and hopefully this time stay there and even go lower. Of course, 200 is my Rubicon. Once I cross it, I ain't ever going back.

Having my gallbladder refuse all fatty foods has left me bored and uninterested in eating. It is a new and weird feeling for me to be able to shut the craving door so easily these days. I think it's because my body remembers the pain of my last gallbladder attack (which I thought was acid reflux).

Sunday we were in the store and as we walked by the frozen pizzas I got a rush of "omygosh I would KILL for a piece of pizza right now." (I'm still eating lowfat cottage cheese for breakfast lunch and dinner these days)

Quick flashback to the night I spent curled up in our big brown chair, whimpering, as M said "like a wet dog that's been beaten." Guess what? Craving gone. Right out of my head. In a heartbeat, my interest in that pizza disappeared.

I am going to try and hold on to this new mystery gift, even post-surgery when the doc clears me to begin eating fatty food again! Maybe this should be my new system -- trick my body into thinking of pain in relation to fattening foods!

This week has been light on workouts because of the irritated neuroma nerves in the feet. They just can't seem to quit me, dammit.

But I discovered a neat set of stairs carved into the small rocky cliff in my neighborhood park. They are awesome for running up and down. I've gone several times now. Here's a pic of the circular staircase I start off with:

My workout consists of running up these steps, a walk/jog/shuffle about 100 feet to another set, down those, then back up them to return here and go down these again. That's one set, and I try to do as many as I can without really stopping (just a few seconds at the bottom to catch my breath so I don't get hurt).

I'm up to six sets. Sometimes I stop and do some wall push ups at the top. Doing wall pushups with my elbows out is fine -- I can bang out a decent amount. Woe to me when I tried to do one with my elbows at my side!! Damn, my triceps are WEAK! I could barely do one. It's much much harder.

This doesn't hurt my neuroma, despite the pressure stair running puts on the ball of the foot. I try to go carefully and use my leg muscles to power me up, not momentum. Man, does it get the quads and hammies burning!

It's funny, but 20 minutes of that is more exhausting for me than an hour at the gym on the elliptical. It takes so much more energy to actually haul your body somewhere than to use a machine (not that I am dissing the machines -- it's good to mix it all up, I think). I could feel my abs engaging in a completely new way as I ran up the stairs -- not like it feels when I pump on the elliptical.

Another little challenge that came my way this weekend -- this guy:

Sorry he's sideways -- can't get it to rotate. Yes, Saturday morning I woke up and he was on my third-story fire escape. How he got there, I do not know. He couldn't have gotten up from the ground below -- it's too high. So he must have gotten out of someone's apartment above.

He cried and cried and wanted to come in but M refused. Said he'd go back up to his home soon enough. I did slip him some food, but he didn't eat. I hate to leave any animal in distress, but it looks like M was right. We came home and he was gone -- probably someone upstairs accidentally shut the window not realizing he was on the fire escape and he went wandering. What a cutie!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Had to wear some "nice" shoes yesterday (ie, ones with slight heels). Oohhhhhhhhh, my neuroma is killing me today, in both feet!

If I could pick between gallbladder removal and neuroma, I'd take the gall bladder, even though it requires surgery. It really hurts to have these darned pinched nerves in my feet, and it means no running, and -- for at least a few days -- no walking either. I've got to calm these inflamed nerves down.

I don't know what I did to deserve this rash of bad luck (and yet, things could be far, far worse, so I won't whine too much) but I'm definitely in a phase of things going wrong that make it harder to lose weight.

My plan was to walk to work today since I won't get a workout tonight, but as I sit here -- having taken no more than few steps at home in my nice, supportive Japanese flip flops -- my left foot is throbbing. No 3.5 mile walk today.

It may be time to revisit the foot doc and see if my orthotics need adjusting. Crap! This is not the result I wanted from my fancy new inserts.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Fed Up

Am very tired of cottage cheese and non-fat yogurt. I'm still pouring it down the ol' gullet these days, but it has gotten old. Very old.

Surgery is the 23rd. In brief, I am happy with my surgeon, my second opinion doc (who I also love) gave it to me no-nonsense and straight between the eyes ..("You won't make it another 60 years with this gall bladder, I guarantee it, so do it now while you are relatively young and healthy..) and he was very impressed when I told him my surgeon's name. So, all things considered, I'm doing ok.

I had to go shopping today for clothes, however, and dragged M along for a critical eye. Folks... despite losing about 60 lbs, shopping is still a horror.

We saw a really cool blue sweater with a white stripe down it (sounds weird, but it looks good), but when I put it on... it was kind of small and it seemed to show an extra bulge in my upper stomach. Not my lower stomach, which is... well, what it is. But my UPPER stomach too. In short, I was a roll factory.

Depression ensued, with much stomping of feet and frustration. Boyfriend calmly pointed out that I was being unreasonable to expect a major shift of weight from just a few weeks of eating cottage cheese (especially when I hadn't worked out a lot and I am still consuming a healthy amount of calories). Damn, I hate it when he is right.

To the gym I went, to lift weights and -- finally -- return to running. It hurt my neuroma, sad to say. I had to quit after 20 minutes. But in that 20 minutes, I ran my little heart out and it felt good.

Earlier in the week I'd made time to go to my nearby park and run up and down the stairs (about 40 steps, not too steep) six times, and do a set of push ups at the top for four out of the six tries.

I'll keep doing it. I was sore for several days after.

Goal: lose 5 lbs a month. Doesn't sound like much, but I counted up. If I can stick to that, I'll be very close to goal by the end of this year. That means getting back on the scale. Oh lordy... not sure I'm ready for that, but if not now, when?