December 20, 2009

December 20, 2009
Me, after losing 53 pounds in 2.5 months.

June 3, 2010 (8 months after surgery)

June 3, 2010 (8 months after surgery)
Me, after losing 102 pounds.

January 2011, Zoë's 5th Birthday

January 2011, Zoë's 5th Birthday
Zoë's 5th Birthday, January 2011, 130 pounds lighter and feeling good!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Tonight, after I taught my Kindermusik class, I stopped in at Rockport United Methodist Church to see my old choir friends.  In case you are not up to speed, I was the Director of Music there for 15 years.  I lost my job last December, shortly after I had my Gastric Bypass Surgery.  I had always been bothered by how things happened.  The choir season always starts on the Wednesday that follows Labor Day.  3 weeks later, I left to have my surgery, which had been planned well in advance.  While I was recuperating, I was let go from my position.  I never saw the choir again, which really troubled me.  I had been wanting to pop in for a visit with the choir,  but something always held me back.  But tonight, I just had to go. 

It was a little strange pulling into the parking lot again after all this time.  I sat in the car for 10 minutes before I finally went in to the church.  I wanted to wait until the end of rehearsal, so as not to disrupt things.  While I was waiting in the hall, one of the children I had worked with saw me.  He did a double take and then said, "Where have you been?"  It was so sweet and innocent and sad at the same time.  We talked for a while, and when rehearsal ended, I popped my head into the room.

Everyone was surprised to see me.  It was so nice to finally get a chance to say goodbye in a proper way.  I kept my visit short-only 10 minutes.  And I left feeling good about the direction my life has taken.

The Doctors will tell you that your life will drastically change after GBS.  They are right.  Your body changes, your mind changes, and your life changes in ways you never even considered.  I believe God used my GBS as a sort of clean slate.  Now, as I look back over the last 13 months, it is beginning to make sense.  And I am happy to follow wherever He leads me.

One final note...I am currently down 125 pounds.  Seeing that in print just blows my mind!

Celebrating my birthday with my best friend, Karen.

Until next time,

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Would You Do It All Again?

My One year surgery anniversary came and went on October 7, 2010.  I saw my general physician the day after my anniversary, and he was very happy about my progress.  His big question for me was, knowing what I now know, would I have the surgery again?  Without hesitation, I said, "absolutely!"  Yes, the road has been long and the journey hard, but it has been worth every ache, pain, and doctor's appointment.  Today I am 120 pounds lighter and it has made a huge difference in my life.  I've listed the major changes that I've noticed in this post.  One new thing I've noticed is that on most days, I wake up refreshed!  I open my eyes, stretch, and actually have energy!  It is amazing what getting rid of sleep apnea will do for you.

If you are at a point in your life where you are considering bariatric surgery, the best advice I can give you is to do your research.  Be a well informed patient.  Be sure that you make your surgical inquiries at a Center Of Bariatric Excellence.  I chose St. Vincent Charity Hospital's Center For Bariatric Surgery in Cleveland, Ohio.
Ask a lot of questions.  Don't rush into your decision.  It took me a full year to make mine.  Realize that this is a process that takes between 6 months to a year.  Before you can have surgery, you need to be educated.  If you go to a Center Of Bariatric Excellence, you will attend classes to learn what to expect, what to eat, how to set your weight loss goal, and others. You will also be required to see a psychiatrist to make sure that you are in the right frame of mind to deal with the changes and stress this surgery brings.  It is a huge life change and the education is very necessary to be successful.  You cannot go into this surgery thinking you can eat doritos when you wake up the next morning!

Would I do it all again?  A thousand times YES!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

This is Zoë's drawing of her new, thinner Mommy!  She has me sitting in a chair.  She made my day with this picture.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Comparison Time

I think it's time for me to post some comparison photos.

Me & Zoë, May 2009
Me (-115 lbs.)  & Zoë  September, 2010

I know I used to be 115 pounds heavier.  But seeing the difference here just blows my mind. 
How did I live like this for nearly twenty years?

Friday, September 3, 2010

11 Months and 115 Pounds Lighter...

    Backyard camping with Zoë (& Bob.)
  • I can wear fitted t-shirts and still be able to breathe.
  • I can walk for long distances without really thinking about it.
  • I want to be more active.
  • I AM more active.
  • My asthma has improved.
  • I can keep up with my 4 year old daughter, at least for a little while!
  • If I put something in my mouth and it doesn't taste amazing, I stop eating it.
  • I really need to go and buy some new clothes for fall.  Everything I own is now hanging off of me.
  • I have energy.  Pure, wonderful energy!
  • I am not obsessing about my being "fat" anymore.
  • I have passed the halfway mark to my goal weight.
  • I am very comfortable behind the wheel of my car.
  • I can comfortably sit in a booth at a restaurant.
  • I feel like a new and improved version of my old, happy self.
  • I am beginning to contemplate plastic surgery to remove extra skin down the line.
  • I am determined to grow healthier as I grow older, instead of growing sicker with age.
  • I am still trying to retrain my brain to make the correct food choices, especially when it comes to portions.  (I tend to take too much food, though I can't possibly eat it all.)  baby steps, baby steps...
  • I see endless possibilities ahead of me.
  • 115 pounds thinner.
  • The quality of our family time improves every day, because I am no longer a spectator on a regular basis.
Me, in a tent! NEVER would have tried that 115 pounds ago.
My one year surgical anniversary is coming up on October 7th, 2010.  It's hard to believe it's almost been a year.  I can't wait to see what happens in year two!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Hernia Surgery

After a long surgery and a longer than expected stay in the hospital,  I returned home late in the afternoon on Friday.  Thank you for all of your encouragement.  This has been a surprisingly painful operation.  The Dilaudid I am taking for the pain just manages to take the edge off for about 1 1/2 hours.  When it wears off, it is really rough.  When I woke up from the surgery, my doctor told me the pain would be terrible.  I could expect to have muscle spasms along with the searing pain.

 When he began the operation, he was surprised to find 3 hernias and tons of scar tissue. (The scar tissue makes sense.  This is my 3rd abdominal surgery in the last 10 months.)  He removed the scar tissue and repaired the hernias, placing a 10 x 12 inch sheet of mesh in my abdomen to prevent hernias in the future.

He was not kidding about the pain!  Worse than the contractions I endured when Zoë was born, honestly!  I guess it is going to be a long, slow recovery.  I am mostly sleeping, walking (helps relieve the pain temporarily), and sipping on tea, juice, and water.  I can't really handle solid foods right now, but that's fine by me.  I'm hoping to see a good weight loss after my body settles itself down.  I'm currently up 10 lbs. because of the fluids, etc.  I expected that, as it seems to happen every time I have surgery.  My true weight should show in a couple of weeks.

I'm starting to fade, so I'm going to sign off.  I'm hoping to be well enough to attend a party for my fellow Class of 1985 graduates this Friday, but right now, things look "iffy" at best.  In the meantime, thanks again for your messages of hope and encouragement!

Until Next Time,


Monday, June 21, 2010

Tiny Pouch VS. Sunday Brunch

  • Keep reading after my post for details on The Eggface Birthday Giveaway!!!

My daughter and I took my husband to brunch at Pickwick & Frolic for Father's Day, yesterday morning.  My parents met us there, which was really nice.  With brunch costing $30.00 per person (except for Zoë, who was free) I knew I would not get my money's worth out of the food.  But we had a good time.  I started with a nice, hot cup of tea.  While everyone ate their first course, I enjoyed my Earl Grey with lemon very much.  After waiting for 15 minutes, I went up to the bar and got a western omelet with tomatoes.  The girl making the omelet must have been new, because what I really got was scrambled eggs with ham, cheese, peppers, onions, and tomatoes.  I also grabbed a mini banana nut muffin, a mini cheese danish, some rotisserie pork, and a piece of bacon.  (Yes, it's a lot of food.  No, I didn't plan to eat it all.)

I sat down across from Zoë, who was eyeing the chocolate fountain.  I very slowly ate 1/3 of my "omelet" and 3 bites of pork. (which was cold, but still yummy.)  Then I ate my mini muffin, and took one bite of the danish, making sure to get the cheese part.  The bacon was just way too greasy, so after one bite, I gave up.  I must have left over 2/3 of what I took (or rather, what was given to me) on my plate.  I did go back for 3 tiny pieces of watermelon and a mini cappuccino cheesecake, of which I had one very tiny bite. (I literally dipped the tip of my spoon into the tiny cheesecake bite, then handed the rest to Bob.)  Oh, and I did dip one strawberry in the chocolate fountain and ate a couple of bites.  That was heavenly!  The chocolate was more dark than milk, and super melty, which was just right for my tastes.

The whole experience was very interesting because I really wanted to eat a bit more, but absolutely could not.   Zoë is the only one who ate less than me...she eats hardly anything.  (1 1/2 rolls, and a marshmallow.)  This is such a different way of life, and I'm still getting used to it.  These days, my pouch can hold 1/2 c- 1 1/2 c of food, depending on the type of food.  Protein fills me up fastest, and that's good.  I don't drink with my meals, because that washes the food through the pouch and then one can eat more than one should.  That's why I had my tea before I ate.

The waiter probably didn't know what to make of me, because he never tried to take my plate, even though it sat untouched for over an hour.  I finally had to tell him I was finished.  What I've learned is that in America, we are expected to be big eaters.  It is the norm.  Now that I am no longer a big eater, I draw concerned looks from waiters at restaurants who think I don't like my food.  Sometimes, I will explain my situation, and sometimes I won't.  Yesterday, I did not.  I simply paid the man, left him a big tip (hey, he did crawl under the table to retrieve the lipstick I dropped) and left feeling satisfied, but not bloated and uncomfortable.  Pretty cool, if you ask me!

Oh...the other thing I've learned is that most of the time, I'll be eating cold food, because I take too darn long to eat!!!  LOL!

And on second thought I DID get my money's worth of food, because everything I ate, I enjoyed very much.

Me, Bob, & Zoë at Pickwick & Frolic.

Zoë at the chocolate fountain.

Father & Daughter.

 ONE MORE THING:  Shelly, who is know to us "losers" as Eggface, is having a fantastic giveaway in honor of the 4 year anniversary of her gastric bypass and her birthday.  For a chance to win an awesome ice cream maker, go to and leave a comment by June 27, 2010.  While you're there, do yourself a favor and read her story.  If she doesn't inspire you, no one will.  Happy Anniversary & Birthday, Shelly!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

And So It Begins

The Honeymoon is over.  The hunger is back.  The cravings are back.  This is to be expected, but still, it was nice when I wasn't hungry.  There are other factors at play here, and most of them involve medications.  I take a variety of prescription drugs that increase appetite and cravings.  Lately, all I want to eat are carbs.  The weight loss surgery mantra is "protein first."  I am going to be chanting that a lot in the weeks to come!

The actual weight loss is still going well.  I am down 95 lbs., but won't be happy until I hit the 100 lb. mark.  I'm so close.  One of the benefits of losing 95 lbs. is that I am much more active now.  I can keep up with my 4 year old daughter, most of the time!  Where as I used to sit around the house and watch her play, now I throw her in the car and we go everywhere.  We walk around the mall, the grocery store, anywhere we can walk, we go.  It is incredibly liberating to be able to move!

Mentally, I've been getting a bit panicky.  The old tapes are starting to play again, and I am afraid that I will not lose anymore weight.  My therapist felt that I was ready to be on my own, so I haven't seen anyone to discuss this for a couple of months.  I think I need to return to therapy with a new therapist.  Does anyone know of a good therapist in Strongsville or nearby?  I'm taking suggestions!

Until next time,


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

6 Months Ago, Today...

  • I made a decision to improve the quality of my life.
  • I was nervous, and excited.
  • I had high hopes, and huge fears.
  • I weighed 85 pounds more than I do today.
  • I was 4 clothing sizes bigger than I am today.
  • I didn't think I deserved to wear anything nice or pretty.
  • I spent most of my time sitting around, watching my daughter play.
  • I didn't go out very much with my friends.
  • I could not walk for more than 5 minutes without lots of pain.
  • My husband was afraid that I would die of a heart attack at a young age.
  • My brother was very concerned for my health.
  • I prayed, and God answered my prayers.
6 months ago today, I had life changing, life saving weight loss surgery.  To celebrate, yesterday I cleaned out my closet.  I gave 5 huge bags of clothes that I can no longer wear to Easter Seals.  I even gave away that darn royal blue pantsuit that I wore for every special event during the last 10 years.  Weddings, Parties, Cruises, Easter, Christmas, High School Reunion...I wore it everywhere.  (Think know you've seen me in it.)

6 months ago today, a very skilled surgeon changed my life forever.  Thank you, Dr. Ben-Meir.  Thank you, God.  Thank you, Bob and Zoe.  Thank you, Mom and Dad.  Thank you, Curt.  Thank you, Karen, Michele, and Mel.  Thank you, Rockport family.  Thank you, Daily Strength Support Group friends.  Thank you, family and friends, for all of your love and support along this crazy, wonderful journey.

And to Kenna and Mary Jo, my sisters in this journey, thank you for your friendship.  Happy 6 month anniversary to us!!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

80 Boxes of Butter

I've lost 80 pounds.  80 pounds!  That's 320 sticks of butter!  Or 16-5 pound bags of sugar!  Or, as my friend Michele told me today, 2 & 2/3 -30 pound Bags of kitty litter!  I am still trying to wrap my mind around this.  Yes, I had weight loss surgery expecting to lose lots of weight.  But to actually see it happening after years of struggling and failing?  It's an amazing feeling.

I started this journey wanting to lose 200 pounds.  Seemed insurmountable.  Today, I am almost half way to that goal!  I'm also feeling better.  When you have roux-en-y gastric bypass surgery, you have a malabsorption factor to deal with on a regular basis.  I was recently diagnosed with a B12 deficiency as well as a D3 deficiency. I began taking 1,000 mcg. B12 sublingually (under the tongue) and 50,000 IU vitamin D weekly.  I am already feeling better.  Things are definitely looking up!

A year ago this Wednesday, I made the decision to have this surgery.  I am so happy (and thankful to God) that I did it and am reaping such wonderful benefits!

I promise to post a new picture of myself very soon.

Until next time,
Nancy (Scrappyknees)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Church, Coffee, and New Friends

Some of you may not know that I lost my beloved job as Music Director at Rockport United Methodist Church.  This happened on December 15, 2009, because of financial difficulties at the church.  I spent the last 15 years of my life there, and leaving was terribly painful.  But now that some time has passed, I'm beginning to reconcile to my new life.  I'm even starting to think that maybe God knew what he was doing by taking away my job.  Now, I have time to focus on my health and well being, especially after enduring such a rough 2.5 months following my surgery.

I haven't been to church since I was let go.  I am a strong and faithful believer in God and it is strange not to go to church and Worship on Sundays.  But something in my heart is holding me back.  It is too fresh; too painful for me to go to church right now.  This is a bit strange for me, as my family belongs to a completely different church than the church where I worked.  Still, I'm not ready.  In fact, last Sunday afternoon I attended my father's choir concert at my childhood church.  When they began to sing "Breath of Heaven" tears began rolling down my cheeks.  I had done that song with my choir last Christmas, and the song was especially dear to me.  I regained my composure afterward, and did enjoy the rest of the concert.  That moment of sadness only made me more aware of the fact that I am not yet ready to go back to church.  I hope that this feeling will pass with a little more time.

Mary Jo, Kenna, and me.
In the meantime, I am spending my Sundays doing things I enjoy.  Today, I met two new friends for coffee at Starbucks in Brecksville.  The three of us girls had surgery within one day of each other.  And boy, are we all looking great!   More importantly, it was wonderful to sit and chat with two other women who had "been there and done that."  We all understand each other, and support each other.  We share a common bond, and it is beautiful.  We're going to get together again at the end of the month.  I am really looking forward to that.

On Thursday, January 7, 2010, I celebrated my three month surgery anniversary.  (I've since learned that these are referred to as "surgiversaries.") I am thrilled to be down 65 pounds, which is about 1/3 of my goal.  But more important than that is the fact that I feel GREAT!  It feels wonderful to see that in writing.  I now know that having the surgery was the best gift I could have given myself.  On January 14 I have my 3 month follow up at the hospital.  I'm anxious to see how the doctor thinks I am doing.  My hope is that he'll be pleased.

Some interesting changes have happened since the surgery.
  •   Things taste different.  Some foods that I used to love, I now hate.  Others taste so flavorful, it is amazing.
  •   I used to get hot and sweaty all of the time.  It was embarrassing.  Now, I am a freeze baby.  I've even taken to using an electric blanket at night.  (Thanks for the great Christmas gift, mom in law!)
  •   My PMS is horribly intense!  Apparently, as women lose weight, the hormones stored in the cells are also released.  This makes for some super crazy fluctuations!
  •  My back and neck pain has increased, and I've begun seeing my chiropractor on a weekly basis.  I predict a future breast reduction.  (Can't come soon enough!)
  •   I've rediscovered my hip (butt) bones.   I just noticed this today, as I sat in Starbucks, chatting with Kenna and Mary Jo.  I still have quite a bit to lose back there, but I'm off to a good start.
My favorite change to date has to do with walking.  I used to avoid going to stores.  Between my knee      replacements, arthritis, and weight, I could barely walk.  Throw in hauling around a three year old, and it just   worked out better to stay home.  NOW, I'm going out again.  I'm not afraid to walk, even on the ice.  In fact, I don't even think about it.  The other day, Zoë and I were walking around Toys R Us, and after about a half an hour, I looked at her and said, "Zoë, Mommy's not tired, or hot, or sweaty!"  It was a really awesome moment!
As time progresses, I am sure there will be many more changes for the better.  I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to have this surgery.

Before I sign off, I want to ask all of you to keep my friend, Sharron De Costa, in your thoughts and prayers.  We haven't seen each other in a long time, but were lucky  to reconnect through Facebook.  Sharron is a lovely person and is loved by many.  This past week, she learned that she has uterine cancer.  She is a strong, vibrant woman, and I know that she will kick this cancer in the butt.  I cannot imagine how she must be feeling, so please send her good vibes.  Love you, Sharron.

Until next time,
Nancy (Scrappyknees)

P.S.  I'd like to post a picture of me, Mary Jo, and Kenna on this page.  Does anyone know how to do that?