A year ago today I took that crazy leap into bettering my health and sat in the pre op room waiting for my doctor to arrive. A year ago i decided to take a serious look at my health and did something drastic about it. Facing issues with PCOS, high blood pressure, pre diabetic, insulin resistance, stress i knew that i had tried and failed one too many times. It wasn’t an easy decision to decide to have LapBand surgery but i felt i had no other way to turn. My doctors had prescribed medication, i had tried personal trainers, dietician, hypnosis and a slew of other things. Finally being told by my endocrinologist that my body was just working against me and that without intervention it would get worse. I still enjoyed obstacle races and hiking but it was getting harder by the day and i felt myself changing internally for the worse. So i took out a hefty loan and went for it.
Today is my one year anniversary. I’ve lost 52 lbs and went from a size 24/26 to a 16/18. You might be thinking “wait if she had weight loss surgery a year ago, shouldn’t she have lost a whole lot more than 50 lbs?” And my answer to that is No.
First the science. I have a metabolic syndrome, polycystic ovarian syndrome and in insulin resistant. All that combined in laymen terms means that it is so easy for me to gain weight but takes a thousand times more effort for me to lose a lb. The other part of the answer is that LapBand surgery is different from the other surgeries. With LapBand a silicone band is placed around the stomach that connects to a port that is sewn into a muscle. The band has little pillows that the doctor adjusts with saline. It can restrict the amount of food and allows me to learn portion control and better food choices. My stomach is not cut or re-routed. Because it is less drastic the weight loss expected for my surgery is about 1 -2 lbs a week. So 52 weeks and 52 lbs down. Now I also chose this surgery because I wanted the slower weight loss. I know, crazy right? But seriously i wanted out to be paced so my skin would have time to shrink down with it and the chances of my excess skin being out of control might be minimized. Another reason was simply, i didn’t have the surgery to be super skinny. Miss Hawaiian Tropic 2017 was never on my radar lol. I wanted to live and have a better quality of life. I wasnt suffering from self-esteem issues, i still considered myself to be attractive and i knew that being skinny wasn’t going to be the key to success. What was going to be the key was how i thought and handled this process. And that all starts with the mind and heart. So I’m quite proud of the 50 lbs and i have a quite a bit more to go to make sure that physically I’m at my best so i can do the things i love and be here to meet my future grandchildren one day.
So cheers guys. It’s been a helluva ride and I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Go out and be awesome ♡
I know its been about a month since Ive last posted and the last time you all heard from me I was out of surgery. It has been an interesting month. I’ll cut to the chase and answer what I’m sure many of you want to know.As of today I have lost 22 lbs. It wasn’t easy and it downright sucked. To take years of bad habits and turn them around literally overnight and detox from sodas and sugars is straight up torture. Add to that the fact that you are also recovering from surgery and having your stomach look like dead Jon Snows chest- it all equals a recipe for F-U-N.
There have been times when I have attempted to communicate with the dog and the cat to have them go fetch me a steak, alas a Lassie I do not have. I just have the type of pets who sit on your chest while your recovering and try to smother you while you gasp for air. My mother has been a tremendous help and my son has stepped up to help with household stuff when needed.
The rough part really came when I had to return to work a week after surgery. My doctor had recommended 2-3 weeks. But in the real world, I had used up my sick and vacation days to take care of my son when he was sick so there weren’t that many left. I showed up to work with a bag full of prescribed drugs, a heating pad and a prayer. Now i work in a hotel and for those of you that know hospitality it is rare that you just get to sit there and not do anything. My amazing co-workers helped when they could when it came to lifting or anything I couldn’t handle. Id have good days and bad days and then really bad days where I had to go home early and just sleep. And as the pain got better- i got hit with a new pain. Somehow i developed a pinched nerve in my butt. It showed up a week ago and I’m literally sitting here in searing pain because it now has traveled to my hips and my thighs. Dr. Google says it may be my sciatica. Which means I need to go see the doctor. But here’s the reality of it all. I had to take out a loan for my surgery because my insurance doesn’t cover it, which added an extra $470 bill to my already stretched budget. Whenever I go see this doctor I have a $200 co-pay so I’m trying to budget that in, then as Murphy’s Law would have it, my car battery died and I had to borrow $154 from my Mom to pay for it. Now add in this new pain and I’m looking at needing to go to the Chiropractor which is going to be another bill that I frankly do not have the money for. So I’m taking Tylenol and researching stretches all In hopes something fixes it- but we all know that in reality I need to go to the doctor. Last night I was in tears on the couch because the nerve pain was so bad and my mother and son had to help me up the stairs and into bed. I didn’t sleep and then had to hold onto walls this morning to make it into the shower to get ready for work. The last place I want to be. My sweet son asked why I couldn’t call off of work and I had to tell him that I didn’t have any sick days or vacation days. The truth is (and it was not conveyed to him) that if I don’t work we don’t eat. Its as simple as that. So he gets on the bus and I wave him off and start the car to get to work, at the same time I’m crying my eyes out. One for the pain and two because the burden of this all is just too hard.
One thing that people don’t understand and I hate to be on this Single Mom soapbox. But it is really hard. Really really hard. I don’t say this to minimize any ones journey. I’m not up here saying that it is THE hardest or that others cant relate but from my perspective it is the hardest thing I have ever done. To be perfectly frank – on paper I make a decent living, I do not currently receive any child support and asking my son’s father for help is like getting blood from a rock. I literally have to beg and then be put through a waiting period before I get any scraps thrown our way. There have been times I have had to ask my parents for money for groceries. I do not qualify for any government assistance because on paper I look good. Over 3/4 of my income go to my mortgage and health insurance and house bills. I do not drive a fancy car, get my nails done, go out to fancy restaurants or have new clothes or even a savings account. I work paycheck to paycheck. I work for us to survive. And honestly the weight of that sits on my shoulders everyday. This morning I cried because I do not have relief from this even for a day. I do not have someone to share this load with and Its getting heavier and heavier by the day and so i cry. I cry because I cant just come home and say “Help me, I’m tired” I cling onto my mother who has been with me for over a month because she will leave next week and then who will help me when I cant get off the couch or I’m too exhausted to cook or even exist. The fact that I have her is a luxury and I would be lying if I said next week when she leaves I will have a giant void to fill and then its back to my normal life of doing it alone.
My son asked me this morning why I couldn’t just find a husband to help me. As if it were that easy. As if me being exhausted to do basic stuff could afford me the energy to go out and date. Let alone to convince someone that I am amazing and fully capable of adulting even though inside I’m falling apart.
And that my friends is the ugly, unglamorous truth. This is what I deal with and this is what you will probably in normal conversation never hear me say. I don’t like to be a burden to others and I don’t want people to think I cant do this because I can and I will. So today I’m back on the saddle so to speak, I will wipe away the tears cried this morning, put on fresh lipstick, smile and when I see my son this afternoon I will hug him with the heartiest hug ever mustered. I will make sure he feels safe and is fed and he is ready for school tomorrow. He will be none the wiser and I will feel better to have Mommed up. Nothing has changed and I don’t expect it to. I’m a realist that way. After he goes to be I will be up trying to think of how to squeeze in a second job without leaving my kid alone – which wont happen. I will think of things I can sell- which isn’t much since we don’t have expensive jewelry or anything worth value. I will get upset because I filed for child support over a year ago and have yet to receive a court date and I know that if i ever do it still wont be enough to help. I will consider getting a roommate, I will consider renting out a room on Air BnB. I will cut back on the A/C and things like that to make it another month. I will make it work and none will be the wiser. And I wont get a badge or a job well done after all this is a thankless job. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but again I would be lying if I said it wasn’t the most exhausting thing. I like to think that I will emerge a warrior of sorts or that my son will grow up to be a well adjusted, kind and magnificent man and then this will all have been worth it. I just want him to be happy- he deserves that.
Hey guys. I’ve been debating whether or not to say anything about my surgery today and finally decided to think about it differently than how i was looking at it. This is definitely the ultimate adventure, one that will prolong my life and allow me to continue with the shenanigans currently planned.
So some of my friends know that i struggle with PCOS (poly cystic ovarian syndrome) for basic info click here PCOS for Dummies
Basically it has made my life really difficult in regards to my ovaries, my hair has thinned, my face has broken out, I’ve been told my son is a beautiful miracle because it can cause fertility issues, it reeks havoc on my hormones and gives me weight gain that is nearly impossible to lose due to the lovely metabolic disorder that accompanies it. Sexy huh? There is no cure and many doctors do not know how to treat it. I have had to seek out specialists because it has caused me to become morbidly obese and you can imagine all the medications i have to take to prevent diabetes and heart disease on top of keeping an eye on ovarian cancer. I’ve also learned throughout all this that many insurance companies fail to acknowledge obesity as a disease and attach a shameful stigma to it. Many do not cover the medication or the surgeries to prevent diabetes and other co morbities, unless it is coded a certain way and any mention of Obesity and it sends up a red flag. In my situation my employer specifically excludes bariatric surgery or any treatment of obesity. That’s insane! After talking and emailing H.R i learned there are no appeals, no relief. It was suggested i purchase additional insurance from another source, but here’s the kicker, The insurance under the new Healthcare Act allows states to decide whether or not to treat bariatric surgery and Georgia, amongst many others is not required to cover it. When i called around for information i was told it was considered “cosmetic ” which is utter and complete rubbish. I wasn’t fat because i sat around eating copius amounts of twinkies and milkshakes. I am fat because of a metabolic disorder, something beyond my control. So in order to save my life, i had to apply for a $10,000 loan. And I’m sitting here praying i can pay for it and that for the next three years my son won’t get sick, break a leg, the house won’t need repairs- that i have no life emergencies because it will literally put me in a financial hole. But i deserve to live.
Which brings me to why i didn’t want to tell anyone about my surgery. If you have been on the Internet, logged onto social media or even seen the news you will see that there has been a positive shift of body acceptance going on. Plus size models are on covers of Sports Illustrated, in lingerie, in bikinis. Hell, i even bought one. But if you dare click on the comments people post you will read hundreds of people bashing plus size women. Calling us disgusting. That we don’t deserve to be happy with ourselves, we don’t deserve to feel beautiful. That its not ok for us to enjoy a cheeseburger every now and then without snickers from people. The sad part is that people think they are supplying new information, trust me, in our lowest moments we have already told ourselves that we are unworthy, undeserving, stupid, lazy, that we should settle. Then one day we woke up and joined “Team F@#$ that $hit” and shut down the noise. I deserve to be beautiful, to be loved, to have amazing sex, to run races alongside fit people. I earned those medals and finished the mud runs and I deserve what every one else deserves-common decency and respect.
I will admit I was torn when i finally decided to go ahead and have LapBand surgery. I was ashamed. It took my doctors almost 10 years to talk me into it and when it got to the point where it was affecting my life, the choice was made for me. So here i am. Fresh off the O.R table. Recovering from surgery this morning. I dread coming out about this because i feel that now I’ll be under a magnifying glass, that people will watch my every bite, every sip even more and if i don’t lose at the rate that they feel i should, will they whisper that I’m a failure? The sane part in me says “so what!” shut out that noise. I curse the media for telling me that I’m not good enough unless i fit a mold, that I’m only defined by a pre-determined standard of beauty. And truth be told, I’ve never thought i was ugly, I’ve not had any issues where im ashamed of my size, I don’t look in the mirror and put myself down. i dress very well and I’m physically active. I fucking slay on a daily basis and i encourage you to look away and carry on with your life if you can’t handle my awesomeness- But i had to do this to save my life not to please others or to make it more comfortable for them to be around me. I did this so that I could be around for my son and future grandbabies. So i could make it to my 100th birthday which is on Saturday September 22, 2079 – so if you’re not busy, you’re totally invited 😆
My great adventure today was LapBand Surgery. I’m feeling sore, I’m groggy and maybe it’s the meds talking but I’m feeling brave. I offer no apologies and today i reject the social stigma of weight and beauty and i gift myself “treat yo self”, i celebrate life, i celebrate me.
They say the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else. I used to always laugh whenever I heard that saying because in the past it has never served me well. The heart wants what it wants and when it doesn’t get it, it throws your whole mind off balance. Kind of like an emotional hostage standoff with yourself but you never really win. The mind is logical the heart acts like a three year old in a toy store throwing a tantrum over a toy it can’t have. Unrequited love, it’s the story of my life.
I’ve lost count how many times I have fallen hard for Mr Wrong. How i completely open up and love so very hard. There was Mr. Untouchable -who guarded his heart with a steel fortress, Mr. Soul-jah who was a vital part of me growing up and I remember anytime I would say I love you, i would say it in a whisper almost afraid it would fly away if i said it any louder, Mr. I really can’t stand you-but im gonna do the right thing-until i can’t-then I’m going to tear you down piece by piece until you are a shell of your former self and the oldie but recent who has so many names :Mr. Nomad- mister Mt Everest- mister soul, mister best friend, mister music, mister not in my life at the moment because I woke up one day and over waffles and conversation i realized he would never love me. This one in particular has been rough. It has me dreaming about him, it has me angrier than I’ve ever been, it has me sadder than I’ve ever been. This one has been someone I’ve loved for 15 years on and off, who became more than a love, but someone who knew what i was saying without me saying anything at all. He was my version of the unattainable, unconquerable Mr. Big, except in this ending there is no him chasing me down in Paris or standing outside my window with a boombox in Say Anything style. There’s not going to be a fight where we run outside and kiss in the pouring rain, there’s no being away and suddenly running through the airport, flagging down a taxi and banging on the door to declare that this whole time you’ve been an idiot and in fact are in love. That crap only exists in movies, in real life you get the occasional “hey ” text and then deafening silence in between.
My friends are so amazing and supportive and still hold on for hope that one day someone amazing as me will come into my life. My family or more so my mother has realized I’m 36 and in a loving, only a way a foreign mother can say- has all but given up on that hope for me, but reminds me that at least i have a child, a house and a car. Every now and then she sprinkles in the occasional “it’s ok to be a lesbian joke” as if she’s trying to coax me out of a closet that doesn’t exist or come to grips that I’m not married. Lol but in her ultra feminist rant and in the same breath will just say “ju dont need a maaan” (say it with a thick accent like Sofia Vergara- that’s how my mom sounds) but behind closed doors im sure it’s more like this
So back to friends. They have helped me swipe on dating apps and told me to let go of my Mr. Big, who have been there for my numerous rants and ups and downs they have been great. They tell me to get out more and offer dating advice from their married couches.
Imagine their surprise when i told them that a co worker is setting me up on a blind date with Mr. Unicorn. Mr. Unicorn has earned this nickname because he frankly sounds too good to be true. My matchmaking friend has told him about my independent, feminist, no nonsense, single mom, big booty, plus sized life and he’s still interested. I have been told personality traits that border on the line of unreal and get the fuck outta here- no one is that awesome. (6’9, has a career, no kids, likes to send flowers, likes plus sized girls, is a good friend ect) So i dubbed him Mr. Unicorn because you hear of people like this, but i personally have never met one) so you can imagine the flurry of excitement and advice on how to act, what to say, what to wear, what not to say. A team, a freaking team of friends have thought of every excuse i could come up with and have combated them with solutions before i could come up with them. I have 6 back up babysitters in case i try to use my child as an excuse, i have 3 sets of couples who can show up unannounced and “bump into me ” at said location. i have a team of women mad that i won’t pick an outfit and people treating this like I’m the fucking next in line to take on the throne lol.
I guess it doesn’t help that i haven’t been on a date since 2003. I’m not even lying about that part. I mean yes I’ve been with guys in between that time but my self esteem was so low i didn’t require much maintenance so no formal dates were had. So i know I’ll muck this up by being super awkward
So here i go, doing what i know is not best by trying to get under someone else to get over someone else. It has failed in the past but maybe I’ll get to meet some awesome people. And in the words of the amazing, talented Kristen Chenowith, Maybe this time. …
-Go out & be awesome ♡ Denise
Yes this totally happened! Yes it was hard af! Yes I should have trained better and not been hellbent on bingeing TV shows. Yes I almost drowned because Mr. Iron-man Junior with the rock hard abs and the cute speedo shorts was zooming past me at lightning speed. Yes- my inner spirit animal- Mr. Samuel L Jackson came out to cuss during my bike portion. Yes i did this with a hangover from the epic NYE partying over the weekend. Yes this was nuts and i couldn’t have done it without my squad who fed me jelly beans and sips of coffee in between transitions because technically i was an extra on the walking dead.
But seriously i have such a newfound respect for these amazing people that do the Triathlons. My heart is beaming with pride for my friend Tasha who has turned this life into a passion. I feel bad that I didn’t do as great as i could have out of pure laziness. But there is always a sprint or next year to go for. 😉
I don’t know my results. That’s not really what i was going for. This was more of a challenge for me and a slight adrenaline rush. I know my truth lol but I do feel really cool accomplishing something new.
Swim Bike Run
So I leave you with this for the new year and I hope you all take it as a personal challenge to “Go out and be AWESOME! ♥”
I’ve decided on Adventure #4 – An indoor triathlon hosted by Lifetime Fitness….in January! Now this is bananas! However I am up for the challenge. I haven’t signed up with a buddy to do it but if any of you want to go on this adventure with me, let me know!
In order to let help you understand where this crazy idea came from I have to introduce to you to a great friend of mine, one of my bestest friends, Tasha who I had the pleasure of befriending in 2013. Both single moms and a bit of a wild card we fit together just right. I met her when I was having a rough time near the end of my relationship with my sons father. She lived in my neighborhood and our sons all went to school together. She was always positive through my walk through hell and when I made it out to the other side she is still here and I love her for that. She is a true adventurer and a risk taker and a dreamer but most importantly Tasha is a DO-ER. Once she sets her mind on something she finishes it and then somehow manages to have a thirst for the next big thing. I love that! When I met her she was just getting into OCR racing (Obstacle course racing) she had completed a Spartan, a Battlefrog, Bad Ass Dash, Down and Dirty and a few more. She kept talking about it in such a way that I just had to try it for myself. It was with her enthusiasm and motivation and help that I competed in my first Spartan race. She knew I was slow, overweight and sluggish but she stuck by me through the whole race and at the end I got to call myself a Spartan. For any of you who have done one you know it’s no easy feat so I will own that title as long as I live. She also got me to do my second Spartan race in April and now here I am signing up for an indoor triathlon all because my dear friend caught the tri-bug a little over a year ago. She had never competed in one and I’ve seen her go from occasional racer to full on athlete mode in the past year. Watching her get such great joy from the sport, get excited with passion and hear her stories of meeting great athletes and achieving her goals makes it so appealing. I’ve seen her go from a not so very strong swimmer to one who is swimming in open water, from a 5k runner to a 10k runner and now a bicyclist. All to be admired.
She has been trying to get me to Tri for a while but I let my insecurities and bum heels get in the way. Always saying “I need to do that” but never really going for it. Well that’s about to change y’all. Because she told me about the indoor tri and I went ahead and signed up for it. Yep committed to it. On January 3rd I will become a triathlete. I will start my new year off crossing off a mini goal and I hope that this will help me heal my body and get myself motivated to get healthier and stronger physically. Now the next 11 weeks may be peppered with obscene words, a little self-doubt and a mad post or two about how id rather be fat and happy eating pizza than skinny and eating clean. Just be forewarned and when I say these things out of Hanger, exhaustion and self-doubt – just say the following back to me:
“You are a triathlete”
Anyone interested in looking if one is offered in your city or would like to join me in Alpharetta on January 3rd you can check out the following link. Wish me luck!
**A side note of encouragement. For those who are wanting to try something new just go for it. I am far from the athletic build. I’m soft in ALL places, I have a butt that high fives me in the back, really busty, have bad feet and I’m slower than molasses. If I can do it you can too! And in my experience I’ve seen more people cheer on the slower, overweight girl trying her best over the girl who’s always winning. People love and underdog. They love to chant for the “Rudy’s” of the world. So join me on my journey we’ll be AWESOME together! ❤
Me and Tasha getting ready to compete in my first Spartan Goonies Never Say Die!
Tasha showing off her well deserved and earned medal after one of her races