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Monday
Oct182010

Bites

I found this in my files and know it wasn't ever posted... not sure why, but thought I'd throw it up now even though it is very old. If it was posted, it deserves a revisit anyway. This was a few years after my Gastric Bypass (done in 2001) when I was still down over 150 pounds (I initially lost 190 pounds). Yeah, yeah, I've re-gained a tad (all but about 80 pounds), but that isn't the topic here. Here, I talk about one of the physical drags of my thinner days.

- So, having lots of extra thigh skin, I jiggle lots in the area around my yoni. Pants fit stupidly, so I wear skirts most of the time or huge, elephant-legged pants that Nordstrom sells each year. (Sadly, I didn’t get any new ones this year.) When I am thinner, the skin drapes. It folds like Broadway curtains opened for that night’s show. Fatter, it isn’t as draping, but there are still amazing wrinkles and gobs of rolls that remind me I used to weigh over 100 pounds more than I do right now. 

Before the gastric bypass, I used to get horrid yeasties on my thighs, under my belly and under my breasts. My thighs rubbed raw even walking to the end of the driveway to get the paper. Pain from skin friction was a fact of my life. 

When I was in junior high, it was de rigeur to wear panty hose and my mom, also a chunky woman, wore support hose, so I took hers and wore those. Because of my thighs, it wasn’t half a day before I rubbed a hole through the hose and had a nylon burn on my inner thighs. Walking through the rest of the day – and then marching on the field in band as I played my flute after school in the Orlando heat – was ever so much fun, even if I took the pantyhose off; I still was in agony. 

Creatively, I came up with a variety of solutions – putting a hankie (too small) and then a bandana inside the pantyhose, one half down one side covering one thigh, the other half covering the other thigh – and that worked well until the bandana wriggled loose because the hose’s crotch fell down (because they were too tight) and I had to re-position it over and over, or it wouldn’t stay put at all. Then, all bets were off. 

I tried Vaseline once. I might have gone home within an hour after getting to school after that experiment. (Same time period that I put Vaseline on my lips at the beach to keep my lips from burning. I ended up with the hugest blisters ever – Vaseline being GREASE, attracting the sun like my lips were the frying pan.) 

I used corn starch like crazy (“What the hell is this all over the bathroom floor?!?”) after realizing baby powder didn’t work at all. I took corn starch to school with me in baggies closed with the rubber bands from the newspaper. This was in the day before Ziploc bags and before newspapers all came in plastic bags in Florida. I spilled cornstarch all over my books and notebooks more times than I can count. 

I loved when elephant bells came into style and I could wear pants while not showing or burning my thighs. Whenever I wore pants before that, my thighs rubbed together so much, I made holes in them and we just didn’t have the money to get new ones, so I wore skirts most of the time. Oh, and of course, to make it even worse, corduroys were what everyone wore and those pants made some NOISE when one walked, not to mention when a fat girl walked. Blech. 

Some time after high school, I was at a weight loss seminar and someone told me about knickers. My head spun with the thought of my entire childhood re-lived without burned/chafed/scabbed thighs and the woman continued telling me about medieval festivals and how many of the women there are fat and they have knickers there – I should go! Right after that meeting and the epiphany that there was a cure to painful thighs, bike shorts for fat women came along. Some of you might have been hollering at the screen this whole time, “Bike shorts! Go get some bike shorts!” but there was no such thing for the first half of my life. Not for big girls. 

I remember the first time I put on a pair of bike shorts as if it was the first time I kissed a delightful lover. I am sure I got tears in my eyes as I felt the reality of never having to cope with nylon burned thighs again. 

While I did have to contend with yeasties for many, many more years (I didn’t know it was yeast) and didn’t figure out to use Monistat for farrrrrrr too long (I tried that cornstarch again, diaper rash cream, Vaseline (again), putting bandanas under my pannus (the dangling belly) and using a hair dryer to keep it dry, at least my thighs were safe. 

Until the gastric bypass. While I don’t get rub burn anymore. There is a new danger. 

Toilet seats. 

I pull my skirt up, throw it over my shoulder, pull my choni’s down, and sit on the toilet like the rest of y’all (who don't hover - hovering is far too difficult for me). However, somehow, my thigh skin gets caught under the toilet seat and as I sit down, I pinch my thigh skin with all the weight of my body and scream as I jump up, nearly peeing on myself and ending up with a 2-6 inch long, teeny-thin purple bruise that lasts for days that I feel every time my right foot passes by my left foot. 

How does this happen? It isn’t frequent, but it’s enough to be extremely annoying (and distressing!). I sit really slowly, pull my thigh skin forward so it doesn’t go near the seat most of the time, but sometimes I forget, still sit slowly – sometimes it happens, the great majority of the time, it doesn’t. Very weird. 

It never happened when I had lots of fat on my thigh. Only now with skin flaps. (I don’t want to trade, thanks.) 

Anyway, I just thought I’d write about this because last night, I was having a pleasant evening with my family and went potty right before leaving and smashed my thigh skin but good. Today, I am sporting a loverly mark left over and it’s annoying. Reminds me of the rub rash days. Which were humiliating. 

It’s funny (as an aside). I was so, so fat as a kid. Yet, by today’s standards, I wouldn’t have been fat at all. I would have been on the slimmer side of chunky. I wonder what my childhood would have been like – what I would be like – if I hadn’t have had all that heart pain from being fat. 

No going back, though. It’s what it was. 

It’s what it was.

Tuesday
Feb052008

A Walk in the Sun

I got a call from my Endocrinologist yesterday.

Despite the changes in meds over a many-month'd period, I am still extremely fatigued. I learned that the last time I had an MRI, most of my pituitary gland is gone. The suspicion is when I had all those bouts of spinal meningitis, it affected my pituitary. Because of this, I was given a Adrenocorticotropic Hormone Challenge (ACTH) to see what my pituitary and adrenal gland were doing and see if that might be affecting my thyroid issues. I hyper-responded, but when the doc called, she didn't say anything about that part of the lab tests. It looks like symptoms of Cushing's Syndrome, but at this point, I am not going to jump to any conclusions about that.

Anyway...

...what she DID call about was my Vitamin D levels. I didn't even remember her ordering that one (I am pretty good about knowing what labs are going where), but listen to this!

I am severely Vitamin D deficient! I didn't even know people were Vitamin D deficient anymore! Well, I knew there was the issue of not getting enough sun and people always wearing sunscreen now and not getting sufficient UVB rays, but that I could have too little Vitamin D in my body... who knew? Here is a great description of the lab tests I had done and some of the symptoms and things I need to do to up my level of Vitamin D in my body.

I was prescribed 50,000 IU of Vitamin D, one pill per week, for 3 months and then my levels will be checked again. That is a MASSIVE dose, but appropriate for my situation. I'm also to cut out all cheese (most dairy, actually. I don't drink milk, which is fortified with Vitamin D... I only drink milk in my coffee) and to walk in the mid-day sun for 30 minutes a day.

Look at the symptoms that I have!

- Anemia of unknown origin
- unexplained pain in the muscles and joints
- losing my balance at times
- high fasting glucoses
- PCOS (Syndrome X) - the symptoms are starting to return the more weight I gain
- Chronic fatigue (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

I read a study where they took these folks in a retirement home who'd been in wheelchairs for ages and supplemented them with Vitamin D (after testing showed they were deficient) and within 6 weeks, they were ALL out of their wheelchairs and walking again!

I told Sarah, the thought that I am in this wheelchair phase is incredibly exciting. That I will be OUT of my "wheelchair" in 6 weeks is amazing.

ALSO, I am going Thursday for a measurement of my stoma and pouch to see if I qualify for a revision of my gastric bypass.

(The opening between the new stomach and the small bowel is called a stoma. It has a diameter of some 0.31 in (0.8 cm). All food goes into the new small stomach and must then pass through this narrow stoma before entering the small intestine. The part of the small intestine from the upper functioning small stomach and the part of the small intestine from the initial lower stomach are joined in a Y connection so that the gastric juices can mix with the food coming from the small pouch.)

I certainly will.

The surgeon who did my first surgery, Dr. Julie Ellner, will do the revision. I'll be getting the new StomaphyX, which is the coolest damn thing going! Dr. Ellner will go down endoscopically and make pleats in my pouch to make it smaller again; my surgical portion control! I told Dr. Ellner that I'd read many surgeons, when they are just learning to do the surgery, don't make enough pleats. I told her I wanted so many pleats my pouch looked like a Catholic schoolgirl's skirt!

I am very excited that I'll be able to lose the 100 pounds I've gained since the initial RNY Gastric Bypass almost 7 years ago. Now, I have kept off 90, so by all accounts and statistically speaking, I am a gastric bypass success story. But, my labs are increasingly blech and I want to be much more mobile than I am (like the Bunlap Tribe that runs around many miles a day!). That walk in the sun I am supposed to do for my Vitamin D will be easier and easier.

The StomaphyX revision is right at $10,000, but the RNY was $23,000, so the revision seems like a deal.

I can't wait to tell you all about my progress as it occurs. I promise not to talk incessently about my weight loss, but I do want to share my health gain with you. Not incessently, though. I promise.

Exciting things happening in my life! I LOVE IT!

(Plus new clients are flocking to me! wheeeeee!)