Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Future is Bright

I am a “List” person.  My whole life I have been.  I make to do list, have done list, would like to do list, you get the point.  I currently have lists of my closest friends, lists of my family members and their spouses, lists of potential kid’s names, Bucket lists, grocery lists, wish lists, honey-do lists.  You name it, and I probably have a list somewhere for it. 
One of the bloggers I follow recommends that you make a list of things that you are excited about once you reach your weight loss goals.  So I am going to post my list.
I am excited to borrow my friend’s clothes.  For years I have “gotten ready” with the girls before a night out and watch them try on each other’s clothes for hours.  Although I am envious to be able to share shirts with my girlfriend’s I am not entirely sure that all of that will be good.  I have also been involved in instances where spills or tears or cigarette burns have happened – and the situation can get ugly pretty fast.  So while I don’t want to make it a habit.  I am very excited to get in on this routine.
I am excited to be able to go shopping with my girls or my mom and not continue to buy only jewelry or purses.  There is a total of 3 stores in our area that carry big women clothing, and eventually that all gets a little monotonous. 
I am excited to wear stilettos.  Even though they look like the most painful thing on earth, they are also incredibly sexy with the right outfit.  It will be a nice change from sneakers and flip flops.
I am excited to ride a motorcycle, I probably could have before (But can we say bear on a bike? Tell me you didn’t get that image in your head, ha!)
I am excited to be able to cut a rug! Most of you know I love to dance, and am fairly good at it.  I just hate to do it in public because I feel like the line in Steel Magnolias about two pigs fighting underneath a table cloth.  I mean let’s face it, even if I was the best dancer – there aren’t a whole lot a people who can appreciate my moves dressed up in a fat person’s body.
I am excited to walk into a room and actually enjoy the stares. 
I am excited to sit in a strange chair, or to lay in a strange bed, and not hold my breath in case it creaks.  I have a funny story about chairs actually – probably more than one – but a good friend of mine used to have lounge plastic chairs on her back patio, that really no one over 150 lbs should ever set in.  But for some reason, I had the idea that if I only sat in them for a short period of time I would be okay.  Boy was I wrong, broke the legs off the chair – ended up on my back flailing and laughing.  About a month later the same friend and I were out to eat and she got a call from her dad who was laughing hysterically and said “I pulled an Erin, I broke the chair!” We got a good laugh and still to this day love to yell that line every once in a while.
These are just a few things on my list, but you get the point.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Unfamiliar Familiarities

Today I have to post about the plethora of people that have reached out to me about this blog. This blog has been "live" for less than 72 hours and the number of acquaintances and even complete strangers that have contacted me has been unreal - people in my everyday life, people I haven't spoken to in 10+ years, and some individuals I have never met. What a blessing all of that is!

A lot of times people associate facebook and other social networking sites with bullying and negativity. You always here those kinds of stories - ruining lives, ruining marriages; but not normally about how it blesses some or allows families to keep up with additions and big life events.

One of the things that all of the specialists have stressed to me is how important it is for me to get in a support group of sort. I have a different opinion about that. While I understand that some people really need that type of group setting. I have such a large and varied support system in my life, I do not think a number of "formerly fat" strangers will help me any more than the love and encouragement I will receive in my every day.

Another thing that has surprised me about the people who have contacted me is the amount of fear or timidity they are using(or maybe it is respect). But in case there is any confusion - my being overweight is NO SECRET!! Everybody knows - therefore do not feel like you are overstepping boundaries or being weird or hurting my feelings. If you would like to contact me, feel free! I am happy to answer any questions that you guys may have! And by all means - send me some love! Encouragement! It is all well-received. (Email emhoward319@yahoo.com)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Fear & Loathing

Okay let's talk about the things that I am scared of. One of the questions I get asked most often is, "Are you nervous?" Well hell yeah I am nervous. My life, as I know it, is over. I am starting completely fresh with a lot of the old tools that I had. I cannot and will not be able to continue how I am living now and expect any different results. That in and of itself is scary.

I am afraid of failing - not that I won't lose enough weight, but that I will allow my self to take up where it left off. All the experts I have came in contact tell me that is a like an addiction, but unlike a drug addiction or an alcohol addiction, I am not able to just completely cut myself off of foods. So I have to adapt better choices. Food choices that are higher in protein, lower in carbohydrates. As with any addiction the first step is to admit there is a problem, and the second admitting that I have no control over it. So here I am ... My name is Erin, I am addicted to carbohydrates and I have no control over them in my diet/life. Sounds ridiculous huh? Yeah I thought so. Of course I am in control of these carbs. Doughnuts, Pasta, Bread, Cookies - you know where you can all go!!! A couple of years ago, I tried hypnosis as a form of aide for weight loss, it worked really well for about 90 days. Everytime I thought about eating carbs I got this depressed or sometimes even angry feeling. It really made me shy away from them. But just like everything else I was putting a bandaid on a much bigger wound.

I am afraid of losing my hair - as a big girl I have to find little things that I love about myself (my eyes, my hair, my lips) and focus on those things. My hair being one of my favorite things -(for those of you who don't know what I look like I have long, naturally curly, brown hair. It has the most gorgeous natural curl to it. It is thick and just makes a damn good head of hair. Not to toot my own horn, but kind of.) I wear my hair up in a pony tail the majority of the week. While I will admit the main reason for that is because I enjoy sleeping in in the morning , another reason for this is because I love the positive comments I get on my hair whenever I wear it down (narcissstic, I know) But honestly if I fixed it everyday, people would only notice when I wore it up (man, Erin is really looking rough this morning) who wants that?! So when my surgeon told me I would really have to watch my protein intake or I would start losing my hair. I had a mini-panic attack.

I am afraid of dying, but not how most would think. I would miss out on seeing my brother's meet and fall in love with wonderful women and have beautiful children. I would miss seeing my friend's kiddos grow up and develop great personalities and become amazing people. I am not finished living yet. I am content with my life, and I know God has a plan for me after death. So dying -in and of itself - doesn't scare me, but leaving my loved ones behind to fight these battles without me does. I am kind of a big deal (in my best Will Ferrell voice) people would have a hard time losing me (there I go, narcisstic much?)

I am afraid of having a catheter - probably no big deal I have just never done that before.

I am afraid of not drinking alcohol for 6 months, not eating raw vegetables for 3 months, not eating solids for 8 weeks, never eating simple carbohydrates again. I wish I was a bear and I could hibernate.

I am also afraid that my weight loss will change how people approach me. Not just strangers, but my family and friends. One of the things that my Psych evaluation taught me was that a lot of individuals going through this process chose other thinks to transfer their addiction to (ie drugs, drinking, gambling, shopping, being promiscuous - I mean if we get a choice right?) haha Addictions are the fastest way to lose people you love, I just got lucky being addicted to food - other people can totally relate to that!

Enough about fears ...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Countdown Begins ...

One month from today I am scheduled to go under the knife. I made the decision about two months ago to finally set the ball in motion on Bariatric Surgery. At age 27, I am a ticking time bomb -healthwise. I suffer from Hypertension, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, and Scoliosis. These conditions, while not optimal, are far better than some of the other overweight population. Diabetes, Congestive Heart Failure, GERD, Sleep Apnea are all in my future if my circumstances do not change.

So, I signed up for the mandatory free seminars at Centinnial in Nashville, TN, and the rest is history. I fell in love with the surgeon giving the seminar and all of the pieces began to fall in place. Now, if some of you are concerned that maybe I made this decision on the spur of the moment ( I mean let's face it going from curious to done in 90 days is pretty fast) this is my third round with the free seminars and "meet and greet" your surgeon. While this round went really quickly, I am informed and I also am finally ready.

I began reading a blog (thanks to my wonderful friend, Amy) about life during and after WLS www.theworldaccordingtoeggface.com and from that I became increasingly excited about the new possibilities for life.

Before I really go into my emotional part of this, because trust me it's overwhelming, let me start by saying-- I am very content with my life. Most people don't understand it, I mean who could look like me and be content right? My friends who are married fear that I will never fall in love. My friends who are parents fear that I will never have children. My friends who are obsessed with looks fear that I am giving up when I wear my hair up on a night out.

I have an amazing family, I mean a family that people write about in books. My brothers and I are best friends, of course we get on eachother's nerves but that's the fun of it. My parents are still happily married after almost 30 years. We had a tumultuous relationship during my teen years (God I was HORRIBLE), but now they are two of my best friends in life. I grew up with Paternal Grandparents who I saw weekly. My Memac was a FANTASTIC cook who was all about love, good food, entertaining, family, and holidays. I am so much like her it is eerie. My Memac died at a younger age than she should have due to complications from diabetes. She was non-compliant for the majority of my life. My Granddaddy loved me dearly, I was always his favorite (sorry to my other cousins who were under the impression that they were). My Maternal Grandparents are still living. Great people who farmed their entire life, quite possibly never broke the law and I know for a fact never said a cuss word there entire 90 years of life. I have three aunts (Linda, Barbie, & Tara) all completely different personalities. I have two uncles (Johnny & Ben) both of whom were main men of mine growing up. My Uncle Johnny is my MD so I put my life in his hands repeatedly. And my Uncle Ben was probably my first hero growing up. He was younger than my dad and Johnny so to us kids, he was the coolest uncle in the world. I have 7 cousins on my dad's side. So I got the best of both worlds. I grew up in a big, close family and a reserved family where I didn't have to compete with anyone for attention.

I have some amazing friends. I always tease my mom that when I get married I am gonna have to have a "Bridal Team" so that I can include all my girl friends. There are 13 of them that I consider best friends of mine. So you can imagine sending a mass text or trying to send out an invite for a dinner party. It is always a to-do. My girlfriends are the craziest, moodiest, rowdiest, meanest group of girls you will ever meet. And all those descriptions fit me too, which is why we get along so well. But I wouldn't trade them for anything in this world. And although it is incredibly hard to keep up with all of them, when we get together we take up where we left off.

The men in my life are a completely different story. I am so taken care of by a core group of men, who I believe would give anything for me. I take care of them and they definitely take care of me.

My job, My education, My home - everything is just how I want it. My love life is perfect for my life right now. I am entirely too selfish about my time and my space to be sharing it with someone on a daily basis. So I say all this to say ... that I am completely content. In love in fact with the way my life is. Which is really one of the scariest parts of this whole thing. What if this changes my personality or worse my world? Of course it will change my life, but what if I am not happy with the way things turn out? So if anyone was curious on my reasons for having surgery is it solely because I WANT A FUTURE SANS DIABETES & IMMOBILITY. I WANT TO LIVE PAST THE AGE OF 40. I do not feel like I am dying, I don't even feel sad about my life. I just want to live longer.