Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Milestone Reached!

It is official .. meaning two days in a row the scale stayed the same ... this girl hit 299! I am overjoyed and filled with so many emotions. THIS is only the beginning. NO looking back. NO regrets. NO excuses!

by Christmas I was down to 320 lbs. 

Milestone Reached 05/18/13!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Checking In

Friday May 17, 2013.

So, it has now been a month since I decided to do the Advocare challenge. I shall write more about that in just a moment.

Since the last post I did a weigh in at True Results.
On 5/8/13 I weighed 307. We added .4cc to make a total of 4.2cc in the band now.

Today I got on the scale and 301.8!!!! If you don't believe me .. see below
05/17/13 omg so close to 299! #letsgetit
I am so grateful to my cousin for getting me to the Advocare mixer at her house. I said no several times because I wanted to see this band succeed by itself with my eating right and working out. I was in a plateau. I would bounce between 308 and 310.  When I started the challenge I was 310.6.
start of Advocare 24 Day Challenge

I went to the Zoo with Justice for Mother's Day... I was swimming in that very same shirt!

I am beyond excited to be out of that plateau and back into the groove of losing weight. This has been the best decision I made since I made the one to get the Lap Band done almost a year ago.  *happy tears*

So this is how I spend my time now ...


My 24 Day Challenge

Spring Breakthrough with my Cousin

These used to fit .. I am swimming in these now too!

This was Mother's Day dinner with the family .. it gets kinda cray cray sometimes, but we always have FUN!

Watermelon Spark .. now available and amazeballs!

This is what my body craves now!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Advocare - Here I Come!

I decided to take the plunge and do the 24 day Challenge!  I am beyond excited and ready! 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Weigh In - Trying not to check OUT

April 17, 2013

So, today was adjustment day. I weighed myself at home and I was 310.8 and I got to their office and I was 308. There used to be a 4 lb difference; I think I set myself up for let down by relying on that.

Technically, I lost 2 lbs in 3 weeks. That is good. That should be good, but it doesn't feel like much of an accomplishment. It is rather a bit of a let down actually. I have been going to the gym working out with a trainer and doing zumba. I've been "tight", so I've limited myself on what I am willing to try. I might even be on the edge of saying that I am not eating enough.  Ugh. That is just how I feel about it right now. UGH.

So, no adjustment. I was honest with the NP and told her that I wanted a barium test to make sure that I actually wasn't tight already because I felt like anything I put in my mouth would trigger me to being full and I wouldn't really be hungry. I am certain this isn't the "green zone" but that the band is working. I was sort of right. I actually have the perfect amount of restriction right now. No bulging of the pouch and there was restriction.  Now, I get to go back in 3 weeks which will be a week shy of my 1 year surgiversary.  I am torn on how to feel about that. I had the mentality that I needed to be at that green zone before I hit my year because there is no way I can afford to pay $45 a visit to find that green zone considering that I was 7 1/2 months into the lap-band journey before I got port revision surgery. I am not sure how that works and they may let me have a few more visits with no copay since I am a self pay. I won't know until I ask at my next visit.

I am learning, however, that I can't dwell or anticipate what the next visit will be like or I will just self-defeat.  My mind is a terrible thing to let wander and I tend to go negative with it when I do.

I just have to keep telling myself that I can do this. This will not defeat me. I CAN and WILL get to my first mini goal of being 299 before my 1 year surgiversary.

This is what she gave me .. Interesting enough . worth a try 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Gearing up for Fill #2

Friday, April 12, 2013.

So, yesterday was the 3 year anniversary of my mother passing. It was more rough emotionally on Weds. then yesterday. I think I just get so anxious and worried about how I am going to make it through the day that I work myself up into a frenzy and the emotional eating takes over. 
I did, however, make it a point to write my grief letter finally.  I was more emotional writing that than just thinking about my mother yesterday. It is rough stuff, but I still pretty good eating wise. I know that the grief blogging is certainly helping, I just see that it is keeping me from blogging on here about my weight loss. I think once the scale starts to work again (it works just fine, but not giving me numbers to be proud of) then I will start posting again regularly. 
I have been on a zumba kick, of course this is nothing really new. I have said before that I like to go to zumba. Just now, I seem to have more energy to make it through the workout and to put in more effort during the class. I have my trainer, Will, that pushes me effectively. There are some days that I just look at him and wonder what in the world I was thinking, but then he has me do something that I don't think is going to work or make me sore and BAM the next day I feel soreness in muscles that I can't ever remember being sore in before.  It is a bittersweet feeling.
my trainer, Will 

NSV .. got my elliptical mile to 14 minutes! First time EVER~!

I had a tummy virus and this is the lowest it has been in 5 years. 

Zumba .. even your knees sweat!

Zumba does a body good!
So, yeah .. I get another fill on Wednesday of next week. I am not sure how to feel about that. I get hungry at night. I am sure that is just emotional eating, but during the day I can get away with drinking a protein shake for breakfast and some coffee. For lunch, it will be either a protein shake or protein bar or a salad from Antoine's or Jason's Deli.  I really want to get started on grilling veggies and eating those instead of fueling my body with the yuck yuck.  Oh, and I NEED new work out clothes. This Nike shirt has seen better days and the other two have bleach stains. I can't go to the gym like that. Okay, so I can and who gives a funk about what anyone thinks, but then again .. I don't want to.  I also need to get some new shoes and maybe insoles.  Working on it!
This was Wednesday 4/3/13. I was so proud of my 2 miles and 30 minutes. 

Monday, April 8, 2013


Monday, April 8, 2013.

So, I would love to say that I have been so busy losing that I haven't had time to blog, but on the contrary, I have spent the last 4 weeks with some ailment or another.  One week it was strep throat, the next it was bronchitis and then the next week it was a stomach virus. I managed to get down to 307, but as soon as my tummy was better, I promptly gained back that 8lbs lost and am back at a high of 320ish. I just don't get it. I work out, I do protein shakes, I do Zumba and the scale is going the wrong direction. It is disheartening. I just want to give up, but I can't let myself feel sorry for myself. I just have to shake it off and work just that much harder.
I haven't been a total blogger slacker though, I have been blogging through my grief journey and that seems to be helping with my emotional eating.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Feeling Blah

March 25, 2013.
So, once again I have been a blogger slacker. I haven't really done much to speak about per se.  I have been going to the gym and that is good. I started working out with a new trainer last week. He pushes me just enough and that is good. I fuss and fight, but he pushes me because he believes that I can do it. I just need to believe that I can do it and just do it. Period. I have still be going to church to work on my grieving. The 20th marked 3 years since my sister passed away. I had so much more anxiety and stress about the approaching day than on the actual day. I planted some flowers then went and worked out with my trainer. It was a good day besides the ticket I got for going 5 miles over the speed limit. Bastard cop had nothing better to do than hide behind a sign and pull people over. I saw him do it to two other people after me. This cop needs a life.
Any who, so I did Zumba last week and then training on Wednesday and Friday.  I was so sore in my glutimus maximus that it hurtimus alotimus!
Time to do it all over again this week. I still haven't seen a decrease in the scale or in my clothes, although people tell me that they see it. I figure it will take me longer to see it than others.
It is some what discouraging that the weight isn't just "falling" off. I know this was the slower and more cost effective surgery, but it starting to mess with my mojo.
I have also had a lot of port tenderness. I wake up on some nights with pain in the port region. It feels like my port is ripping at my skin on the inside. Even to use my arm to push myself onto my back or other side hurts once I feel that pain in my port area. Sucks ass.
I have noticed some restriction, but not much with this last fill. I am just ready for satiety to work its way back into my life. I also am going to make another appointment to go do my blood work. I have a feeling that my tiredness and lack of energy is due to the thyroid and since I haven't been on any medicine for that since surgery last year, I think that it might have something to do with my weight retention.  I just need the blood work paperwork from my PCP and then I can get it done.
Tomorrow is fill day. I am ready. I am geared up. After that I have to take Justice to go get his 4 year old check up and get the other round of his shots. I have him on a delayed schedule still since I just don't think it is right or fair to give a kid 4-6 vaccinations all at one time. He is going to have a BF tomorrow, but it is a necessity.
Oh well, such is life. This journey has had its ups and downs, but through it all, I have found a new Amber and I think I like the gal.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I am a blog slacker

I can't believe that I haven't been back on here to write. It seems like I am avoiding, yet not really. I have come to realize that I have to work through my weight loss and my grieving at the same time and it isn't easy. I tend to get overwhelmed in my grief that I start to emotionally eat and then it sets back my weight loss. This isn't something that I haven't said before. Yet, it feels "new" when I write it in here again. It is as if I don't remember saying it before, but if I go back and read the blog, then I remember that I HAVE said it before and then it becomes redundant. I feel like I have to keep reminding myself that ROME wasn't built in one day. I keep hearing people tell me that I am losing weight, yet I struggle to see it for myself. I think in part because I am still wearing the same clothes. Probably to my demise. I am, however, working towards getting better.
So, I went to my surgeon appointment last week on the 5th and got released to get my first fill. I lost 4lbs since surgery day. That was nice, yet underwhelming. I was feeling like I was coming down with a cold or something, but was able to get an appointment at True Results for the next morning. Thank goodness I know who to call in order to get in. I got to that appointment and saw Roxanne for the first time in a month and she was as excited to see me as I was to see her. It felt good to have someone who genuinely cared about how I was doing. She read over the chart and true to form, it was just a patch job. I had HIGH hopes that I wasn't just mended, but apparently the only replacement was the port. She did a pull of the fluid in the band and it was 2.4 cc and so she put in .6 to make me reach 3 cc.
As of this morning I think I am down another 2-3 lbs since last week.
I left the fill visit and called my PCP and got an appointment right away. I know my body and I knew that the tickle in my throat that turned to hurt after two days was strep. I just knew. Irritates me yet I am glad that I listened to myself and went in to the doctor. I got a shot. My throat started feeling better, but Justice started barking and I was barking and so I took him to the pediatrician on Friday. He was negative for strep on the fast results, but she sent off for the two day swab. I got a call yesterday saying that his test did come back with some bacteria growing so she called in a script. I called my doctor because my chest cold wasn't going away. I got called in a script, but the pharmacy didn't have the medicine, so I have to go back today to get it. I am glad that I got Justice started though. Hoping that by this weekend we both with be free and clear of this yuck yuck. I feel like I have bronchitis because my chest is heavy and green stuff isn't the norm for me or anyone for that matter. Hell, I should have become a doctor. I am getting good and diagnosing myself. LOL.

So, I haven't been on the treadmill in a couple of days and am so ready to get back on it. I just haven't had the energy to get on it. I can't go to the gym until I get this antibiotic in me because the last thing I need is more germs invading my body. Ugh. Enough already!

I weighed this morning. My scale said 314.8. My scale is 5 lbs off from the doctor's office, but I like to keep my weight by my scale. Keeps me level headed I guess. I am so ready to be under 300!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

20 days Post OP

Wednesday, 2/20/13. Well, I haven't written because I just haven't had much to say. It sucks not being able to get to the gym and grind like I did before the surgery this time. I know I will get back to that point, but the waiting around is sucking ass. I went to the gym last night and did Zumba and then got on the treadmill for about 10 minutes. I did some walking and put a little jog in my step. It felt fantabulous!  I have wanted to feel that feeling for so long! The good music and the good company surely made the difference. I can't wait to do it all over again! I woke up to my feel hurting. I think it is time to bite the bullet and get some better shoes. While the Sketchers are good for day to day wear, they certainly don't supportive enough in the arch or in the ankles for the aerobic moves of Zumba or the treadmill.
I got to looking in the mirror last night. I don't see 40 lbs lost. I still see the muffin top. I still see the huge arms. I still see the double chin. Okay, it used to be a triple chin, but still. I am so ready to see the outside reflect the girl that is on the inside. I actually looked at my before pictures for the first time yesterday. I posted them in the original post and will do a side by side with the pre-op pictures from the day before surgery this second time.  I see a little change, but at the same time, I still don't like the girl I see in those pictures. I want to feel beautiful and sexy. Come on already!  Le Sigh. :(

Friday, February 8, 2013

1 Week Post Op

Friday, 02/08/13. I can't believe it has already been a week. It certainly flies by. So, let me recap.
Friday surgery day 02/01/13.
Always love a pre-op picture

I had to be at the surgery center at 9am. I got there and it was rather calm. The waiting room was full of people, but Tiffany and I were just hanging out and talking. (about food nonetheless!) The new lady over the forward circle program came out to meet me and then I got called up to sign all my paperwork. She and Tiffany got in some good conversation. I am glad that just by association I have been able to connect people!   When I got up from the reception area and signing all my paperwork, I got noticed by a lady that had been to a support group meeting. It was awesome. She was concerned that I was having surgery again since she sort of remembered that I had the surgery already. We talked for a bit and I told her about the awesome meeting we had on Tuesday. I really am an advocate for more people coming to the support group.  After I finished talking to her, I was on my way back to my seat near Tiffany and I got noticed by yet another lady that comes to the support group meetings. It was awesome. She too was taken back that I was having surgery again because she didn't make it to the Tuesday meeting. I didn't find out until Tuesday that I was going to have to do this again, so it isn't like I could really tell anyone before then.  I talked to her and it feels good to reassure other people and motivate other people along the way. I finally got to sit and talk with Tiffany and Susie again and got some helpful tips. Good times. I got called back and got prepped, only to have to wait in that bed for a couple of hours. Not too bad. At least the bed was comfortable and the blanket was warm. I got in a lot of laughs with Tiffany before surgery and finally went back at 1 pm.  By the time I woke up in recovery and asked what time it was, it was 330 pm. I don't think surgery lasted that long, but the nurse said they let me sleep a while. I was one of the last ones to move to the recovery area after getting dressed. Right away I noticed I was thirsty. That was a sensation that I hadn't felt in more than 200 days! Holy cow. I think I like this.  I got discharged and headed to the pharmacy to pick up my pain meds and then off to bed.
Saturday 2/2/13. Wow, wtf did I do to myself. Really Amber?  Okay, so it wasn't THAT bad and honestly, I remember hurting more and not being able to get out of bed, off the couch or out of the chair by myself. This time I was doing it alone. I have to admit that I missed having someone there to keep me company. No one to talk to or just watch me snore. Not that I get off on people watching me snore, but there was something comforting about having my baby sister there last time that was just missing this time.  Pain medicine per bottle and sleeping to suit.
Sunday 2/3/13.  Totally not that bad. Sore, but got to get me together so I can get to work tomorrow. I know, I know I just had surgery, but I also know that we are short staffed and I am starting to think that I should have put this surgery off for a week just so that the end of the month and end of the year numbers, spreadsheets, tasks and just stuff I do could get done. Flip side, I needed this to be done already. Time to make sure that I keep some focus on Amber. I miss my baby. :(
Monday 2/4/13. Went to work and I knew the purchasing dude was not going to be at work, so that chore automatically gets picked up by me. That sort of is how it goes since I know the job.  The a/r girl called in "sick" although she took off work early on Friday to go out of town for her birthday weekend. There is something wrong when you sort of just know and can expect behaviors and situations from certain people. Hell, I had surgery on Friday and was still at work on Monday. Priorities people.  A hangover hardly constitutes a sickness. I AM JUST SAYING.  I called the pediatrician and got an appointment for Justice. He had been running a fever since Saturday. Makes me sad that I couldn't take care of him. These are the moments that I wonder if I am doing the right things. I left work for my "lunch break" and went to the pedi's office only to find out that Justice tested positive for the flu. :| So, great. Just had surgery and vulnerable and now I have to call the doctor and find out if I need to be put on Tamiflu so that I can decrease the risk of me getting the flu since I really can't afford to sick with that and trying to heal from surgery. I tried to take it easy, but with all the up and down and moving about, I hit my threshold at 2 pm. My PCP called in a script and I went to pick it up. $55 for that Tamiflu. OMG. I took my pain meds and got in the bed. I felt like I was going to pass out.  I woke up and drank some broth and took the Tamiflu and then I got nausea. I hurled. It wasn't like right after I took it, so I know it got in my stomach, but I tried so hard not to hurl. I pissed myself. TWICE. TMI, I am sorry. It is not a glorious life I tell you.
Tuesday, 02/05/13. I woke up sore from hurling the night before. I got up and went to work. I started to feel the nausea coming back. I was literally swallowing to fight the nausea. I left work at 1030. I just couldn't do it. I gave in and listened to my body and went home. I took a shower and laid in the bed with a wet wash cloth over my head and passed out. I didn't get up until 730 pm. I drank some broth, only to get nausea creeping up again, so I quickly took another shower and got my damp wash cloth and back in the bed. I took Wednesday off as per the NP's high suggestion and rested. I don't know what it is like to just sit still or just lay down. This just doesn't feel "normal" to me. More so, it is rough stuff not being able to hug and kiss on my baby boy. I miss him.
Thursday, 2/7/13. I got up feeling rested and better. Got to work with purpose. I had a long list of things that I needed to get accomplished. I got my payables caught up and the commission prelim spreadsheets done. I got the payable stuff ready for after the boss prints his reports for last month.  It was a busy day, but it felt good to catch up. I had to just remind myself that what didn't get accomplished this day could and would get done the next. I think I just got overwhelmed on Monday at the thought of all that needed to get done. It isn't like me to get overwhelmed by my regular tasks. My body was telling me to slow down and my mind was moving a bazillion miles a hour. By 5 pm, I was exhausted. I looked it and felt it. I went to get my taxes done because I finally had all the paperwork I needed and well, I need my refund like yesterday. I went home and watched some tv and then off to bed.
So, that brings us to today. I am exhausted still. I am so ready to go pick up my baby boy. He is ready too. I have decided not to let the stress bring me down, because in the long run, that will only hinder my healing progress. It is still early in the morning and I am feeling like I could use a good nap, but thankfully the day is progressing steadily.
Heprin bruise. yucky!

Day 3 post op ... not too bad. he used the same scars. 

I dropped the can opener on my foot and made a bruise. darn pain meds!

The scale as of 2/8/13. YAY! 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Surgery Day! EKKK!

Friday, February 1, 2013.
Wow, it came so fast and while I am physically ready for this to be done, I keep having moments of emotional turmoil.
I am concerned that I feel compelled to write the following:

If anything should happen to me, know that it is my wishes and deepest concern that Justice Schoen not be given to his father. Anthony McQueen has shown over the last 4 years that he has little concern with our child. He can't even be bothered to come and get our son on the 1st, 3rd and 5th weekends. His last few visits have been pick ups on Sunday around 11am and bring home at 8-9pm. This is not stability. While I am Justice's only true stability, he has been around my family more consistently than even being around his father.  His Godmother, Eva Flores, is who I would ask to be his caregiver.  These are my wishes.  If by no other chance Justice has to go with his father, then I make the request that CPS keep tabs on the situation.  I know for a fact that the other boys get left at home alone. The oldest is 13 or 14. That is still not a proper age to be leaving children at home.  My son is four. He needs supervision. A 14 year old cannot be that supervision.  My child also has complained about bullying from him older brother, Jordan. I would not want my child to be getting hit and picked on by his brothers. While I understand there is "brotherly love", Justice simply is NOT around them enough for him to be put in that situation in a full time capacity.

Whew, okay, now that is off my chest. I kept thinking this last night and then again this morning. I cringe at the thought of my baby having to endure that part of the "family" for more than just a couple of days. I guess it is a blessing in disguise that Anthony only comes to get Justice once or twice a month for just a day or two.

So, now I am just waiting for Tiffany to come and get me so we can head to True Results. I'll post updates later.

Mommy loves you with all her heart!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hitting the Refresh Button

Wednesday,  1/30/13.  Last night I went to the support group meeting. I was hesitant since I was not really feeling like I could motivate anyone else and I was certain that no one wanted to hear that I was going to have to do this all over again. But, alas, I went there anyway. I got there and talked to the NP that had helped me before and she is also over the support group night. Well, I told her about the surgeon visit and how I was waiting on someone from True Results to call me back and she said "well, that should be the office manager and she is still here." She went in there and told her that I was at the meeting and that I was waiting on a call back about surgery and she called me in to her office. I got set up for Friday. Alberto came to the meeting and showed quite a few exercises to the group. These were easy yet effective ways to work out at home. It was refreshing. Just what I was needing.
I forgot to ask her if the procedure was covered last night so I called and left a message this morning. I called again before lunch and then again after lunch. Finally, I got her on the phone to clarify. Nope, the surgery is covered. Whew! I got a call around 3 pm and my "port revision" is scheduled for Friday at 9am.  I say that loosely, because Dr. Hollis might just take it all and replace it all. He might as well make sure that we don't have to do this again!
Perspective : that moment when you realize that you have come a long way, yet still have a long ways to go. I've got to remember to count my blessings more than my failures or disappointments.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Redo .. Start Over .. Fresh Start

I went to see my surgeon today. Let me back track. 
I have been so anxious about seeing my surgeon. I almost fully expected to hear more excuses for the lack in functionality of this band. 
I got to the office and the receptionist was all "I need a copy of your driver's license and insurance card. There is also a $50 copay." To which I said, "They didn't tell me there was going to be a copay when the appointment was called in. I don't have that today. I don't get paid until Thursday. Why isn't this covered in my plan?" 
She responded with "This office is affiliated with True Results, but is its own entity. This is Dr. Hollis' person practice and so this is considered a specialist visit and so there is a copay."
I started crying. Actually, I was so built up with emotion and anticipation of what he was going to say that I was crying inside before she even said "hi" to me.  She, then, went on to tell me that I could come back on Thursday to see him. I left work at 930 am to get to the appointment and it was nearly 11. She wanted me to have to do this all over again and miss more work. I can't afford to do that. I called my boss crying and told him and he paid for the copay with me to repay him on Thursday. No problem. I just hate asking for help. I wouldn't need it if baby daddy would just pay his damn child support so that all my money isn't going to daycare. I can't blame him. I really need to refocus so that I am not dependent on that money. 
I digress. She ran the credit card and they called me back. I got weighed and was down 3 1/2 pounds from my weigh in on 1/17/13. Small victory. Mind you, I haven't been able to eat much because of my stress and anxiety.  I talked to the nurse practitioner first and then she went to get the doctor. He walked in and I was still in tears. I started telling him how this was supposed to be a lifestyle change and not just another diet and that I was struggling and making myself only do protein shakes because this band wasn't giving me satiety. I didn't understand what was going on or how this was going to be fixed. He calmed me down and said that it could be a faulty port, a pinhole in the tubing from being nicked during a fill or it could be the band. At any rate, the only fix was surgery. He said that True Results should cover the redo since I am still within my first year and that he would make this right. 
We walked out into the hall and he said "I think I am completely booked tomorrow, but let's look at Friday to get you in and fixed up."  
What the what??!!!??  He also said that he wanted the girls up front to give me a refund of my copay that I shouldn't have had to come all the way there for him to make that decision. They should have just got him the information and worked their magic without the trouble.  FINALLY! I am NOT totally cray cray! 
So, now I am waiting for that phone to ring. To find out if I have surgery this week or next week. Find out when this part of this journey will be over and I start fresh and new. 
More to come! 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Another Day ...

Friday, 1/25/13.  It has been a week since my last post and I am not sure how I am feeling.
Thursday 1/17/13 I had that day of emotions and then that night I went to water aerobics for the first time. It was so fun. I thought I was going to be the only fat one in there, then I wasn't. Friday was just a day. Went to the gym for training. Fought with baby daddy. Felt like I wanted to crawl into a whole and swallow all the ice cream I could get my hands on. Saturday, I got up and got out. Went to Ikea and let Justice play in the kid's club area while I shopped. I got him a shelving unit and some cubes for that. I felt like I got something accomplished. I went to Fiesta after that trip and walked around and got good stuff to fill my fridge and freezer with and then headed home. Sunday, went to Wal-mart and then to Sam's Club. Apparently, it was my weekend to WALK!
Monday 1/21/13, I went to training after work and then straight on to grief share at church. I was struggling because I found out that morning that my salesman's wife had passed away from cancer that morning at midnight. While she was no longer in pain and I do believe she went to heaven and is in a glorious place, I had just talked to her the previous Monday on the phone and gosh that last "hi Amber" will stay with me. *tear* .. that being said, I knew that I needed to go to church and be in my "safe" place to talk about my grief. It seems that this passing brought up the feelings again. I started getting what they call ambush feelings. I started to remember certain times in my losses and it made them feel brand new again. No Bueno. So, going and praying and doing the class helped.
However, the stress and anxiety over it made my chest and band tight. I wasn't able to eat much. Tuesday, 1/22/13, I was still fairly tight all day and was still only getting down protein shakes. I decided to try water aerobics with a different teacher and it was so good. She was like a drill sergeant and kept us moving the entire time. It was good and having Tiffany there as support was awesome.
Wednesday and Thursday were very tight days and I was still in my emotional funk. I decided to lay low at home. Thankfully, funds being as they are, I wasn't able to go splurge on junk food and was stuck with the healthy options already at my home. Friday was supposed to be a hour training session, but I remembered on Thursday that I had a surprise party to go to on Friday, so I cancelled the session. Friday was also the funeral for Dani. I struggled with my decision not to go all the way up until the funeral was over. It, for me, was a matter of doing what was best for my sanity. I felt that going would just set me back emotionally and bring up things that I wasn't ready to work on just yet. I am just now in the class and working through the process and I just got to where I couldn't sleep, eat or drink with anticipation of going.
Friday 1/25/13. RIP Dani Holeman. Happy Birthday Corliss King. It was a great surprise party. I was so happy to be there to support Tiffany in her endeavor to pull off this surprise party. Her mom was so surprised and enjoyed herself.
One thing I have learned from class .. you can have joy and grief at the same time. I am a testimony to that. Losing one friend and celebrating another all in the same day. God is good.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

This will NOT defeat me

Thursday, January 17, 2013. So, today was weigh in and fluid measurement day. I think I totally anticipated today because yesterday I was in a total funk. I didn't even do the workout with my trainer whole heartedly. It really bums me out that even anticipating something without knowing it can funk up my mood without me knowing it. GRRR! Last weigh in I was 318 and today I was 321.5. WTF?!?
So, at last fill, there should have been 4.9cc in the band. She pulled it all out and there was 3.6 or 3.8cc. She said one and then the other. My bad for not really paying attention after I heard 3. Anyway it goes, this thing isn't maintaining the fluid. I can't imagine that I am raising my core so much that 1cc is evaporating each month. It really makes me wonder how I would feel if I was under the delusion that this band was working properly and I was the one that was failing and always hunger just by shear lack. 
We went into the x-ray room and they put in some dye. She put in 8cc and if felt like a foot was on my chest. I should have let her put in all 10cc, but the thought of more pressure was like OMG! We didn't see any leakage. Disheartening! I can't say that I wanted this thing to be leaking, but I wanted an tangible answer as to why this thing isn't holding the fluid. I am so exhausted from crying, yet I feel like I could cry a bucket still. Since she pulled out all the fluid and then filled it with the dye to 8cc and then pulled that out, she decided to only put in 4.5cc. It is less than what I had last time, but still some fill. Did the barium drink to make sure and there is some restriction. I guess I can tell a difference. I shouldn't have to be manipulated so much to get a restriction. Where is my satiety? The only time in this entire time I have been banded that I felt not hungry was when I had a sinus infection. I lost 8 lbs in 2 weeks. I wasn't hungry. I wasn't starving myself either. I wasn't going to the gym either. Still I lost 8 lbs. I have been going to the gym at least 3 times a week and doing the protein shakes and protein bars and eating salads. I sort of feel like I am depriving myself in the process. All this work and I gained. WTF? 
This hasn't been good for my emotional self. There is a sense of defeat. I DID THIS TO ME. Am I being punished for taking the "easy" way out? It hasn't been easy. The weight isn't just falling off. I try and stay positive and went in to this journey full on. I was ready. Today, I think that defeated girl showed her pretty little face. I am tired mentally, physically and emotionally. I just need a hug :(
Today's motto: Today is just 24 hours. Tomorrow will be a new day and I will just have to let today be today. They didn't promise it would be easy, they said it would be worth it. I am going to keep the faith. 
Funny how I always end these posts with something poignant. Today, I need to believe this. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tuesday, January 15, 2013.  Not a full week has gone by! Yay, I am getting better at this. I surely have had plenty to write about on the weight loss front.
Thursday was Zumba at LA Fitness and it was awesome. Not as good as the previous week, but I think I was in a bit of a funk and paying too much attention to who was around me and not to what I was doing. It seemed to be a little lack luster for me. 
Friday was a day that was supposed to be fancy free, worry free and easy breezy. That is what I get for making a plan for the day. Friday, I was in court until 2 pm. I got a lawyer and still ended up sitting there all day and paying for deferred all because my cop showed up and wouldn't just let the ticket go. There were people who didn't have a license, didn't have insurance and were speeding or what not and they got to go. My cop decided that he wanted to be a jerk and make me stay all day and then still not give. Figures. I was down to my last few dollars. I had to pay $5 in parking. I didn't have any cash and if I left my parking spot, I ran the risk of losing the spot to someone else and would have to find the money to pay for parking all over again. I sat in my car and charged my cell phone. Only have had a protein shake on the way to court, I was hungry and emotional. I cried. Just my dumb luck that I am out of money, out of time, missing work and my cop would show.  I finally got released and got a salad on the way in to work. I called baby daddy to ask when he was coming to get Justice and he started giving me grief. I don't know why he bothers me so badly. Actually, I know, but I try and be civil anyway. So, he texts me after 5pm while I am in the daycare getting Justice. He wanted me to come meet him more than half way to Katy for him to get Justice for the weekend. For me, it is the principle of the matter. The fact that he doesn't pay child support on time and I shouldn't have to ask for it. He knows it is due each month. He says that business is slow, yet every time I ask if he is coming to get his son, he says that he is working. Something has got to give. SO, I called him and told him that I had something to do at 630 and wouldn't be done until 730ish. He said fine and I would call him when I was done. I had a really good workout with my trainer. I was able to push through that baby daddy frustration. I felt like I wanted to hit something or someone. I was able to work it out literally.
I called while I was in the sauna and asked where he wanted to meet. He said that he was on his way to a wreck and I said that I was going to go home, but that he would have to come all the way to pick up Justice. He got pissed and started yelling about how he isn't going to be at my beck and call. I hung up on him. I refuse to be yelled at, cussed out and disrespected. I got Justice from the Kids Club and he asked me if we were going to meet his dad. When I told him that we weren't, he started to cry. I texted baby daddy to ask him to call Justice later and talk to him because he was upset that he wasn't going to go over there. Baby daddy started angry texting. It was this point when I started wishing I had a gallon of Blue Bell ice cream in my freezer. It was at this point that I realized that he is a full on trigger to my emotional eating. He is a someone that can get to me to the point that I want to numb it with food or sweets. Hell, I don't have a thirst for liquor or that bottle of wine in my fridge would be gone already!
Saturday morning I got up and went to see a new trainer. I was referred by a friend. Thankfully Aunt Anna was able to come over and watch Justice for that 1-1/2 hr trip. It was just the break I needed. I was still pent up with anger towards the situation with baby daddy that I again used that inside rage to push through the workout. I, however, don't want to keep having to have arguments with him in order to make my workouts worth while.  I went home and was so exhausted mentally and physically that after Aunt Anna left, Justice and I laid down on the couches and passed out for 3 hours. I was just so spent that we didn't do much of anything else that day. Sunday was filled with the same. I was just so drained emotionally and sore from the previous days workouts that I just wanted to sleep. Part of it I think was a little depression. I really hate feeling like not doing anything.
Monday was grief share class day. It felt good to get back to where I needed to be. I seem to think of a million reasons not to go, but then find that million and 1 to go. It was good. Apparently, I needed to be there. I got in a good cry and it helped me to not want to eat emotionally.
Today is another day of Zumba. I am actually looking forward to getting in the gym and having fun for a hour. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Holiday Recap

Thursday, January 10, 2013. 

I can't believe so much time has passed since my last entry. The last post was the day before my work's office party. That is almost 3 weeks ago. So, let's recap!

Friday, 12/21/12 was the Christmas party at work. I had gone and had a fill the night before. I knew I would be on a restricted intake, but didn't really realize how much I would be affected mentally until I wasn't. I had a late appointment at True Results and decided that since I was already there, I would just hang out for a couple of hours until the meeting. The meeting ended up being a Christmas party. It was bitter sweet. It was nice to see more people there. It was nice to see a table set up with healthy snacks and drinks. It felt refreshing to be around people that were like minded and had similar experiences. It wasn't, however, pleasant to be hungry and not be able to eat anything since I had just gotten an adjustment. It was also the same day that I found out that a leak may still be a possible answer, but that I would still have to be on the slow path to figuring out if this was something that was in fact happening. I am supposed to be at 4.9cc right now. It will be determined when I go back on 1/17/13.  
Friday, I brought Ashley (my sister for those who don't know) to work with me since she was invited to the party by the bosses. They love her and wanted to wish her congrats on graduating from Sam Houston University. I, too, graduated. I finished my course requirements for my associate's degree. Neither one of us walked in a ceremony, so it really doesn't feel "real" to me. Anywho, I stopped for donuts for the office and then dropped Justice off at school. Got to work and started to get things done since we sit down for lunch at noon and then are off until the day after Christmas.  As the noon hour approached, I felt like I was hungry and ready to eat. We had Pappacitos catered. So, on my plate was some rice, beans, tamale and some fajita meat. I was able to eat. I went slow and eased into it, but was able to enjoy the meal. I have my band to thank for that. I suppose the looseness of the band isn't so bad, but it isn't doing what it is designed to do. Or at least what I signed up for, so it leaves me feeling bittersweet.  
I got a nice bonus and was able to go shopping after work and then the next day. Part of me knew I should put the money in the bank, but the other part wanted to buy for the people that I love. So, being the giver that I am, I bought. I did, however, do something smart, which was to go get my car insurance. I made sure to get at least one necessity out of the way. 
Saturday was the Christmas party with my cousins, Nico and Thule and their respective partners and family. It was fun. Justice had a great time and got presents. I love that my kid is so loved. I can go without getting things as long as my son is happy. This is such a revelation and change from the selfish person that I was before I knew what it was like to love someone more than myself. Come to find out, I always loved others more than I loved myself because I let myself get to this unhealthy place. This miserable place of not even being comfortable in my own skin. This place that makes me want to just close the blinds, the curtains and sleep. Just be alone and not have to deal with the outside world. Yet, I get depressed because I am alone. I am never really alone, but I do get a sense of loneliness because of lack of adult companionship. I don't mean sex, but the real stuff. Sitting down watching television, talking, going out to a movie and even going out to eat. While going out to eat isn't the same anymore, it certainly would be nice to be treated to some adult time and just to get to be Amber again. My life now is Amber and Justice. I don't know a life of just Amber anymore. I wouldn't change it for the world because he is my life and my reason for living, but at the same time there is a part of me that just wants to feel like Amber again. Insert time for Justice to be with his father for a weekend! I have to admit that I have quite a bit of resentment towards Justice's father for not pulling his weight in the parenting department. I blame myself for lack of ability to communicate, but he just puts a fire in my belly that makes me want to scream, yell and cry when having to deal with him. I come from that place of a broken little girl that loved her daddy, but didn't get to have him be an everyday presence in my life. I will never be with Justice's father, so I can't say that I want this for Justice. I have no respect for a man that will come over if it is for me, but doesn't come get his son every other weekend or even just whenever so that his son can spend time with him and his brothers.  It hurts my feelings honestly. It is rather degrading and overall just really hurtful that my son and I mean so very little to this man. I don't have to mean a damn thing to him, but it would be nice to be able to communicate and the words not be full of disdain. 
I digress. Christmas Eve, we went over to my uncle's house for the family gathering there. Justice again got a present. This mother is a happy one. The excitement on his face was priceless. I didn't even know they were going to give him a present! I didn't make it to midnight mass. I definitely have to work on getting back to church. Christmas morning he woke up and was so excited. I was so overjoyed at the surprise in both Ashley and Justice when the presents were for both of them. I know now how my mom felt. It was all about the happiness on our faces and she would feel a little disappointment that she didn't get a lot of presents, but the best present of all was the smiles on our faces.  Justice got picked up later by his dad for Christmas with them. I guess I want so much more for my son. I was disappointed that he came home with clothes and 2 toys. I got him all toys and a pair of shoes. I was disappointed, but at the same time, he needed those clothes. I guess it wasn't so bad after all. Justice got to stay home with aunt Ashley for the rest of the week. 
I was truly an emotional wreck. Dealing with my feelings of not having my mom and sister there, but seeing how Justice interacted with Ashley was so sweet. He would ask her to come play with him and she would hesitate, but gave in. He loved every minute of having her home. He even cried when she would leave without us. 
Next up, Happy New Year! I found myself in the place where I have been many a time. Alone and home. This time it was just me and Justice. Last year, we went to a New Year's house party. Then I came home and Justice got in his bed and I spent time with James. It was nice. This year, we stayed up and watched television, played games on the Playstation and Wii and then watched more television. We didn't get to bed until 3am! We didn't wake up until 11 am. The day sure does go by fast when you sleep half the way through it. I got up and made cabbage, black-eyed peas and cornbread. We had that for brunch and dinner. It was nice. Ashley came home from her night out with her friends and just spent the rest of the night hanging out. 
Justice got to spend the rest of the week with Aunt Donna during the day while I was at work. He needed that break from daycare and I needed that break from paying for daycare. Thank goodness for family! 

New year, new goals. I was added to a group on Facebook that was full of people who had gone through weight loss surgery. From that group, I was added to another group of people that were starting a challenge that would be supportive and help get us back on track in this weight loss journey.  The challenge officially started on January 2nd. Along with doing the challenge, I decided that it was time to bite the bullet and get back to the gym. I also started trying green smoothies. I have yet to perfect the recipe to something I could stomach drinking daily, but it was a nice attempt at healthy. 
After three days of drinking green smoothies, I was down 8lbs, but a headache was my foe.  I wasn't sure if it was a headache because I wasn't getting in enough calories during the day or enough sugar or if I was coming down with something.  I had that headache for a few days. It would come and go, but surely wasn't pleasant at all and it just made me tired. All I wanted to do was sleep. I feared that the headache was depression related. I still am going through the motions of grief, and I have to admit that I have put some of the feelings on the back burner. It is hard to write about my mom and sister and not get teary eyed. Hell, I just got teary eyed writing that. I miss them both so very much. Every single day I think of them and every single day I miss them. The hurt of the loss gets a little less, but the missing them is still so very much there. My sister was my best friend. I miss that. (tear) She was my biggest cheerleader and she loved my so so very much. I used to see my nephews every day too. It is hard that I don't have that relationship with them anymore. While I would love to blame it all on their father, it really is just hard to drive out there and go through the motions again like I did when my sister was alive. A part of me feels like I abandoned them. I wish I had the money to take them away from their situation and have them with me. I would love for Justice to have grown up with those boys. They could be teaching him how to play football, baseball and basketball. The things that he doesn't get now. However, I can't dwell in the shoulda, coulda, and woulda. I have to accept things as they are and try to better the situations in my life. 
This brings us to this week. I struggled a little, but I am making it through. The headaches have been a pain in my ass. Not only do they make me feel bad, but they keep me from doing the things that I want, need and desire to do. I didn't make it to the grief share on Monday. I did, however, make it to my training session. I got it in! It was nice to get that good workout in, but each day since I haven't felt up to going to the gym. Tonight is Zumba again. I am really looking forward to it and refuse to feel bad and talk myself out of going. This class is not only good for my body, but good for my mind. It gets me out of the house and gets me moving. I get home and think of all the things that need to be done and then I find ways to talk myself out of doing them. I am a clean freak, so the fact that I haven't washed clothes in almost 2 weeks brings my mojo down. I also need to clean and I mean really really clean. Sweep, mop and disinfect everything. Hard to do that when my kid is asking me something every 2 minutes. Once again, this is the time that baby daddy needs to step the funk up and take Justice for an entire weekend so that I can get all of the above accomplished! 
So, on to today. I moved the weight loss blog so that every post is a new post. I wanted to be able to blog and not have to edit the blog every time I wanted to add something new. I figured it was time to get this going right and in my way. 
Today's motto... if yesterday was a bad day, today is a new day. Live each day for the 24 hours that it is. God starts new every day, so should we. Let it be. Let go and Let God. 

My Journey ~ 7 months in the making

This page is designated to the back story and journey I am on right now. 

     For years, I have been scared to say how much I weigh or talk about my weight. Not many girls want to tell their weight to a man, but "pleasantly plump" girls really don't like to share that information with a man or even their best friends. It took me until this year to tell my best friends how much I really weigh. 355 lbs. Apparently, I pull my weight off because they were astonished when I sat down and talked to them about it. OMG did I just put it out there like that?  Why yes, my friend, I sure did. No more hiding! No more lying to myself. I am seeking the Lap Band surgery for weight loss. I am now a diabetic and struggling to keep my sugar in the right range and struggling to have the energy to play with my son.  This is not who I want/need/desire to be for myself or my son. So, here I am about to make a big decision in my weight loss history. I had to proclaim it out loud and feel that I mean it in my core.  I choose to no longer hide behind my weight and I choose to no longer be a victim to my fat. I choose to live! I choose to get healthy and to live each day like it is my last instead of living each day like it will never end.
     Food has been my friend and foe for as long as I can remember. I remember being a skinny little girl until my father "took" us from my mother for a period of a year I believe. I was young, so my memory is a little sketchy as to when exactly it all happened, but I know that my dad took me and my older sister from my mother and she had to fight to get us back. She had to give up the house, the car and child support in order to get us back. Not my dad's proudest moments, but he is making up for it in my older years. I remember being in the house with my dad and "step monster". That was the name that I called her to my sister and my family. My mom didn't hear it from me until later in life. My dad never heard it as far as I know. Sherry (the step monster) flat out told me that she didn't like kids. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out why she would get with a man that had 2 kids. My father got married young. Had kids young. So it shouldn't be hard to believe that he got divorced young. My mother was even younger than my dad, so it isn't hard to believe that growing up in my grandparent's house was the route we went. I grew up close to my first 5 cousins. I can still remember being the fattest among them. My mom had us eating a pretty healthy diet until my dad took us. I tend to block out a lot of my childhood. I was afraid to take Justice around my stepmother for a long time. I knew how I was treated and by God I was not going to let anything happen to my child. I was not going to let any mistreat my child. Time heals all wounds or at least puts things in to perspective and changes people. My stepmother is really good with Justice and while I used to not want even go in their house because of her, I'd like to think that we are in a better place now and that even though I had those feelings towards her back then, that we can all move forward and just be. 
     Once I was chunky, it seemed like getting skinny again was going to be a challenge. I was almost the biggest in elementary school. I wasn't the biggest in middle school, but I got teased. I can remember being in Mrs. Greenwood's math class and Greg would tease me. At the time, Houston still had a blimp. In middle school, I was very self conscious. I knew I was fat and I didn't feel pretty. I would wear leggings so that the pants weren't hugging my thunder thighs. I would wear big loose shirts that came down past my butt just to make sure that I wasn't showing any tummy or butt. I didn't know to embrace my body, nor did I have the self esteem to do it. I even got put in SRC/SAC because I wouldn't dress out for gym. How silly was that!?!? I digress. I was in the class and Greg looked outside and said "look, there goes Amber in the sky" and then some of the class would laugh with him. He was pointing at the blimp in the sky. It was very hurtful and while I don't blame him, it made me delve deeper into my insecurities. I started wearing a blue jean jacket that was long and came down to my knees. I wore that thing even in the summer! I didn't stop wearing that jacket until the summer before high school. I guess I forgot to mention that Greg was my middle school crush and that is why the hurt was cut deeper. He knew that I liked him and to show the others that he didn't like me, that was his way of making his point. Now that I think about it, that probably was a form of bullying. I figured that is what happens to girls when boys don't like them back. Oh well, it made me stronger. 
     High school was different. I got there and was in jeans finally. I had a different view of my body, although it still was distorted. I don't ever remember being anything but a size 24 from high school until my mom and sister died. I found that guys liked my big butt and thunder thighs in the jeans. I found myself pretty finally, yet still self conscious and still struggling with self esteem. Hard to battle that when you never really had a boy tell you that you are pretty. I kept my nose in the books until my senior year. I got my first boyfriend at the end of my senior year. He went to a different high school. He was my first real love. He ended up going away to college and things went astray. We ended our relationship in the summer of 1997. I got my second boyfriend in August of 1997. He is still my best friend. Loves me unconditionally, this just isn't our time to be together. My first experience was with someone I liked since middle school. He wasn't my boyfriend, but I thought we were dating. Figures I was the only one that thought that. I jumped through hoops for him and in the end I was only a piece of ass to him. I was heart broken and shattered.  A series of relationships that didn't work out or didn't last because of my self esteem issues and my tendency to self sabotage the relationships followed. 
     In 1998, I lost the "dad" figure in my life which was my Popo (grandpa) that I grew up with. The weekend before he died my cousin got married and he took her down the aisle (him in a wheelchair). My mom wanted to get married before he passed, but he just didn't make it. My mom got married on May 16, 1998. Just two days after my Popo passed away in his sleep. It really was a sweet situation although sad. My aunt was in the bed with him laying there with her head on his chest. The first 6-7 grand kids and his kids were in the house when he passed. He let us all go to sleep and then passed. It was a somber event, yet he was no longer in pain. I took it very hard. I didn't even want to talk to my dad. I think a lot of my weight issues are surrounded by the instability of men in my life. My dad left my mom just after I was two. He then took my older sister and me from my mom and when she got us back, he didn't come get us like he was supposed to. I never understood why it was so hard to come get your kids for two days every other weekend! 
   Other then my dad, then my first real love (my first boyfriend) flakes on me and sends me into depression. My second boyfriend and I were on and off for 2 years, but neither one of us was in a place to grow up and accept each other as we were fully. My first experience guy let me down more than anyone would or could ever know. How is a girl to feel stable or even liked or pretty when the men her life are leaving left and right?!?! 
     In 2007, I decided to get in the gym and get myself together. I met James online and he turned out to be someone that meant a lot in my life. He reminded me of the relationship I had with my very first boyfriend. We talked on the phone for hours upon hours and he made me laugh and feel pretty again. Even at my size, when I was around him I felt beautiful. James and I started going to the gym together. I got a trainer and managed to lose 50lbs. I was to the point in a dating situation where word vomit starts to happen. I didn't say "i love you", but apparently my actions were that of a woman that was about to say it and it scared him off. He wasn't really ready for a real relationship. He still had the man whore in him. So we parted ways. I was crushed. It was so good and all because I wanted a relationship or commitment it all went away. I, then reverted back to someone I had known for years. Someone I dated, but never really got into a relationship with. I ended up pregnant. As soon as I told him I was pregnant his attitude and mental stability changed. It was like a switch flipped and this man was just a boy. Older yet ignorant. Full of himself and not the man I had known for years. Actually, it isn't until you are bound to another that you really find out true colors. It was really hurtful to hear "I want a paternity test" and "I don't think it is mine". Like I was a whore or something. I knew exactly who the father of my child was. I had no doubt in my mind. This was NO Maury moment! 
    I had my son in December of 2008. I was in the hospital for 5 days and then Justice was in the hospital from Dec. 11 through Dec. 21st. His father didn't come see him once. He didn't want to come sign the birth certificate stating his was the father until he got a paternity test. He gave me grief the entire time. He lied about so much and didn't even have the decency to come see the baby while he was in the NICU. He didn't come see him for Christmas and didn't do anything until he was ordered to the office of the attorney general for a paternity test. It wasn't until he got the results that he wanted to have anything to do with Justice. He still wanted to flirt with me and still wanted me to feel shitty, but he didn't want to do for his child until he knew for certain. Needless to say, he still doesn't pay child support like he is ordered, nor does he come and get Justice every other weekend like the papers say. You can imagine my grief and despair since I was THAT child thirty years ago. I was the child wanting to go see the daddy. I try so very hard to make sure that Justice knows he is loved. I often question if my love is enough. 
     My step dad decided that he didn't want to be married anymore in January of 2010. He left my mom, my younger sister, Justice and me in the house we were renting. He left like a thief in the night. He continued to pay rent and bills, but was like a stranger to us. My older sister had been watching Justice for me so I didn't have to put him in daycare. March 19th, when I got home I saw an envelope and it had a lawyer's name on the top left corner. I asked my mom what it was and she told me to open it. It was divorce papers. The last thing I said to my older sister was, "you need to call and check on mom. She got the divorce papers today and isn't doing too good." On March 20, 2010, my world was rocked when I got a call from my brother in law saying that I needed to come to Deer Park immediately. He was shaking and said something was wrong with my sister. In my gut, I knew there was something seriously wrong. I got my mom and younger sister in the car and Justice went to my cousin's house. I got there to find out that she had died in her sleep. I had just seen her the night before when I went to get Justice from her house. I spent time over there and everything seemed fine. The police wouldn't let me back there to see her, since she was only 38 and they had to rule out suicide and homicide. I sat in my car and watched as they wheeled the black body bag in to the coroner's van. It wasn't until later that we found out it was death by brain aneurysm. 
     My mom was sick and had been for years. She got what I thought was a cold. I came home twice to her passed out with blood sugar so low that once it took EMS to get her to come around. My cousin helped me the other time. It was a scary week. It was the week of my sister's funeral. The Saturday after we buried my sister, I took my mom to an attorney to be her divorce attorney. That night I felt my mom's head and she was burning up. I checked her temp and it was 104 and I made her get in the wheelchair and I took her to the ER. Ashley (my younger sister) stayed home with Justice. My mom was checked and told she had pneumonia, a fever of 105 and the flu. She was put in an isolation room. It took what seemed like forever, but she was put in a ICU room. By Wednesday, she was needing a ventilator to help her breathe. By Friday, she was declining even more. Saturday I went to my brother in laws to see him and my sister's boys. While we were visiting, I got a call that my mom's kidneys were shutting down and they wanted to put her on dialysis in order to give her lungs a fighting chance. Suddenly, I realized I was the oldest and the one that had to make these decisions. With the help of my aunts and Ashley, we made the decision to let them do it although my mom said she never wanted dialysis. This was to help give her lungs a chance, not to put her on the machine for life. Sunday morning, Ashley and I were going to head to the hospital, but they called me before I even had a chance to get up. They told me that my mom had flat-lined, but that they were able to revive her. I called one aunt and she did the phone tree. We had a family meeting with the doctors over my mom's care. She wasn't being sustained on life support. The next course of action was more aggressive, painful and probably wouldn't work or if it did, it would only give her a little more time. My mom wasn't there. I talked. I pinched and talked. I begged and pleaded. I had to make the call to take her off life support. No child should ever have to make that choice. Especially after just losing my sister three weeks prior. I don't remember everything else from that day, but I remember looking over at the nurse and she turned off the machines. I was on my mom's left and Ashley on her right. I held her hand and leaned in on her. I looked up and the nurse was at the window. I looked at her as if asking if my mom was gone and she shook her head yes. My rock, my mom was gone. My world is forever changed. 
     I remember having to go through her things and the aunts coming over and passing out her things that were just things. I remember having to pack up a 5 bedroom house and searching for an apartment that I could afford that would be enough for me, Justice and Ashley.  How was I going to be the oldest, mom and sister when I just wanted my mommy and sister back? I've gained 50lbs since their deaths. So, why go through telling a back story? Well, we both need to know where I came from to know why I am where I am and where I want/need/desire and will be in the present and near future. I don't remember much of the rest of 2010 or the first half of 2011. I think I was just going through the motions. I was numb and bitter. I was resentful and hurt. I was Justice's mom and that was all I could be.  
   I finally started to seek out help. I found Blog Talk Radio and started to find ways to occupy my time and thoughts. I found a room called Journey into the Light. I had a very moving talk with a medium and was touched. I met a very special woman named Riana. She suggested that I visit the Halos 711 family on BTR. I joined her the next show and was forever changed. I called in to the show and was at my rarest and most raw self. I shared my hurt and my losses. I shared for the first time how I felt like I killed my mother. They prayed for and with me and sent me Reiki. Just a few short months later I took my first Reiki course and became a Certified Practitioner of Prayer Based Reiki.(CPPBR) I, then, had a new sense of purpose. I felt purpose again. My heart's desire was to help other people. I knew I wasn't the only one that had suffered such significant losses. I knew I wasn't the only single mom out there with a dead beat baby daddy. I was lead to start a website. I was led to start blogging. I was lead to start doing challenges along the way. I started my own Mary Kay business, although it hasn't been profitable for me, it was the push I needed to do and be more. I started writing a monthly column for Inner Child Magazine. You can find this at My single parents website is Of course, I have this blog and I am also doing the 21 Days of Prayers for Boys challenge with the Mob Society. All these challenges, quests and awakening has brought me to this point where I need to change the outside to reflect all the positive and wonderful that is happening inside. 
     My best friend Leslie had the gastric bypass surgery done just before my sister passed in 2010. She has had success. She was no where close to where I am in my weight, but she felt that was the course she needed to take. My other friend Tiffany got the Lap Band surgery done in October of 2011. She has had moderate success with little effort. She has a knee injury that has kept her from exercising the way that you should, but she still has managed to lose about 60lbs in the 6 months since her surgery. 

     After seeing the trials and successes of my two friends, and with much investigation and lots of questions I decided to seek out the Lap Band procedure. I had sought out the bypass surgery, but it seemed rather extreme and invasive. I would have a down time that was more than I could handle. I am a single mom to a rambunctious three year old. How in the world do you expect that I will be able to be down for 2-3 weeks!?!!? Much less be able to afford being off work for that long. Vacation days aren't that many around this camp. I tried to get financing for the bypass. I begged and pleaded to be a marketing tool in lieu of payment or as partial payment. I must not have talked to the right people, because I was shot down. So here I am still doing this on my own and I am going to give it to you straight. 
     I called True Results and got a wonderful lady on the other end of the phone. She was very informative and took as much time as I needed. She answered questions left and right and being that she had the Lap Band herself, she was able to ease some of my concerns. She scheduled me for an appointment the very next morning. I went and watched a video and answered some questions. I got the nitty gritty on the details of the surgery and the costs. My work insurance has a direct exclusion to weight loss surgery. I am not sure that they know that, but the insurance broker for them knows I am sure. Being that I work for a small company, it is cheaper to exclude things that you don't think you will need as a business. While weight loss surgery had been listed as cosmetic back in the day, it now is something that is helpful in preventing and alleviating comorbidities caused by obesity. Comorbidities being diabetes, high blood pressure, acid reflux, and sleep apnea to name a few. Humana doesn't pay for it. So what is a single mom to do? 
   I didn't want to ask certain family members as they have their own stuff going on. I tried to finance the surgery on my own, but being that I have a car note still and I had a lapse of time where I was behind on my payments during that time of my losses and subsequent depression, I got immediately denied. I asked my aunt Carrie if she would do it and she did it without hesitation. She was wonderful. She got denied though. So, I went to the one other person that I knew would help me. My boss had mentioned the lap band surgery to me years ago. Way before I even got pregnant. It was still "new" to me and was very confusing to me. I had heard about bypass surgery, but this new thing that was going to stay in you for the rest of your life, well it was still too new for me to fathom. I asked him and he said he would see how they could help me get this accomplished. The day of the initial visit I got the blood work and breathing test done. I then was sent a sleep study to do at home for two nights. I got the results and not to my surprise, I have moderate to severe sleep apnea. Figures! I went to see my therapist in order to get the letter of clearance from her and I called my primary care physician to ask her to write a letter as well stating that she has seen me for the past 5 years and noted the weight loss and then gain. I went on Friday to do the consultation with the doctor and while the waiting to see him was a bit long, I wouldn't want him rushing my surgery just to get to talk to his next set of potential surgery clients. He was very informative and I came away from that meeting feeling more ready than ever to have the surgery and begin the new journey as getting to be a more healthy Amber. 
     I still have to get the CPAP machine from the sleep study people and I am waiting to hear from the boss/owner how he is going to help me with the financing of this surgery. I still have to get some blood work done through my PCP's office since my liver level numbers were off. It seems like it is taking so long, but since this process was only started 3 weeks ago, it is really going by faster than I would have initially thought. I am on the Pre-op diet that is required for the two weeks leading up to the surgery day. I have been on it these three weeks. It isn't fun and it really sucks ass. I am not going to lie to you. I have to find a better protein shake and I need to get the right amount of protein in my body, but overall it CAN be done. At the end of the day, I am doing this to better my health and I can't complain too much about that! 

I emailed my PCP's nurse yesterday before I left for work since I hadn't received the lab paperwork yet. I got an email this morning with the referral paperwork and then was told that the lab had the other paperwork for the blood draw. I called and got an appointment for Monday the 14th to get the ultrasound of my abdomen. I will do the blood draw the same morning since I will have been fasting anyway. I get to go pick up my CPAP machine on Saturday the 19th. After I do those three things, I will have completed all the pre-op stuff that was required of me. The final thing will be the financial aspect and as of right now I am not worrying about that. I have been telling myself "if you build it, it will come", meaning if I do everything that I am required to do before surgery, then I will have this surgery. I am pushing to get it done on the 23rd or the 30th. It needs to be on a Wednesday so that I can be off work for three days and still have the two day weekend to mend. I could think of a million other ways to better spend three vacation days, but in the long run, I will have made a life decision and started a new chapter in my life. That handsome boy in those pictures with me is my reason for living. It is about time that I start living and not just going with the flow! 

 I got a call yesterday from True Results. I don't need the ultrasound or the blood work anymore! Apparently, I was riding that fine line between normal/borderline/problems. They looked at my numbers for the last year and BAM I don't need that stuff anymore! Yay! So, now all I have to do is get the CPAP machine on the 19th and we have the surgery tentatively scheduled for the 23rd! OMG! Yes! I've prayed. God is answering! "If you build it, it will come" has been my philosophy for this adventure. I have done all that I am supposed to do in order to get where I need to be. I have so much passion behind this weight loss and so much motivation that I am exhilarated by the anticipation. I am so ready for the next chapter in my life to begin. 2012 is my year for change and my year to shine! 

     It is Wednesday the 16th. In one week from today I will be in surgery for the change for the better. I am equally excited and nervous. A good nervous with anticipation, but nervous nonetheless. I am eagerly waiting for this week to be gone so that I can get through child support court on Monday and then Tuesday all day. I am sure Wednesday will be a breeze. I am still on the diet and honestly "I AM STILL HUNGRY DAMMIT!!" I've been told that the hunger will subside and that I am just used to eating more and chewing. I am considering going vampire and just sucking my own blood when I check my blood sugar since it is .. ummm protein. I kid. No really. I am kidding. Promise! I just realized that I didn't put any comments near the photos, but I can't figure out how to do that without the whole thing moving around and well since I am depriving my body and brain of food, I can't think straight. Ok, it isn't deprivation. My body is getting all the caloric intake it needs. I am just bloody hungry already! The protein shake lasts for all of a hour, then I am hungry all over again. The chicken and veggies I am eating are filling for all of two hours and then I am hungry. I check my sugar and the number is low but within range. Who woulda thought that carb withdrawal was like THIS?!?! I don't really have a craving for bread or pasta. I would however like something fattening! Give me something substantial already! Mind you, once I have the surgery I will be eating less than I am now and fill satisfied. Hallelu that in one week this big girl hunger and small girl meals will be over! New way of eating, thinking and being will be in full force and this 4 weeks has just been practice. Almost a cruel type of practice, but I've been heavy all my life, so preparations for losing weight shouldn't be "easy" that's for sure! 
     Friday the 18th! The days are just flying by. I am getting better at not complaining about being hungry. Gosh, in just 5 days I won't be hungry! I have so much excitement in me. I am so ready to do this! It is about 4pm, so I still have to get off work and get Justice from the daycare and get him fed dinner and what not. I think that is the hardest part about it all. I struggle on what to feed Justice since I am doing shakes. I can't eat so why should I have to cook?!?!? Because I am a mom that's why. I am Justice's mom and that boy needs food. For a few days after surgery, Justice will be eating tv dinners since I won't be eating solid food. This way I am not making more than he needs and I won't be tempted to try and eat. I don't think I will have that problem, but I want to not tempt myself. This is going to be amazeballs! (I totally ganked that from Guiliana Rancic!)
Saturday the 19th! Gosh it seems to be going by so fast. Baby Daddy came and got Justice. I always wait with baited breath for that mini miracle, but he came through. I decided to get things done and it was nice to do things with purpose. I am gearing up for next week. I just feel like I need to get past child support court on Monday and then everything will be okay. I keep seeing all these ads for cute big girl clothes. I wanted to go get something cute, but decided that I will treat myself to something new at the 2 month post operative mark. I don't see the loss other than my jeans being really loose, but I am betting I lost the 10# I was required to try and lose before surgery. And dammit, I AM STILL HUNGRY! This better just be all in my head!
Sunday the 20th! Got my kitchen clean, my clothes clean and started getting Justice's stuff together for him to go with my cousin on Tuesday night. This should be interesting. I think I am anxious about tomorrow's court proceedings. Well, not really the proceedings, but having to deal with Baby Daddy. He can be a real jerk quite often. Again, I just want to get through tomorrow and then face the anticipation of surgery day. It seems like the days are flying by now. I feel like I was saying that surgery could be in the next 2 weeks and now here I am saying that it will be in a few days! Exciting and scary all at the same time. Baby Daddy brought Justice home already, so now just to spend my quality time with my baby. 
     Monday the 21st! Court day! Am I excited? No, not really. Part of me wants to get a big breakfast from McDonald's and lavish in the fatty goodness that is so unhealthy for me. Since I've been on this pre-op diet for a while now, eating more than just that shake and some coffee in the am makes my tummy upset. I really don't think my tummy needs any more help getting upset especially with the nerves I have! I am headed out the door to drop off Justice and head to court. I'll check in later! 
     Okay, so I was the first one there and baby daddy and I were the last ones to leave. OMG! I got there at 730am. Hearing all the cases before ours was sad and amusing. I saw to inmates there for their child support hearings. There was quite a bit of mediation and then finally going in front of the judge. I'd like to say that this was in my favor, but I think Justice looses in this situation. I can foresee baby daddy being a total dick towards me and not coming and getting Justice now that he is going to have to pay more child support or go to jail. The total break down of this day will be in another tab on this blog page. I didn't get to work until 3pm and I am rather perturbed. I have so much to do before the end of the day Tuesday since I will be out the rest of the week. 
     Tuesday the 22nd! Gosh I can't believe tomorrow is the day! I am excited, scared, overjoyed and ready to get this over with. I got a call late yesterday that I need to be at the surgery center at 630am. I am one of the first to go in. I hope I am like #3 so that by the time he gets to me, he is fully awake! LOL. I have massive amounts of emails to go through and send and invoices to scan and match up and work to do, so I will post later tonight! Totally pre-op jitters!

I took pictures the night before surgery. I guess they are my "before" shots. 

     Wednesday the 23rd! I trying to get everything together for Justice last night and then for myself for this morning that I didn't get to come back on. I have to be at the surgery center at 630am and it is something like 515am. I can't sleep anymore. Anticipation has gotten the best of me. I'll post pictures later! 
I'm sexy and I know it! 
Hurt like a motherbish! 

These are from just before the surgery. Me in my gorgeous blue cap and the iv that felt like it was pulling my vein out of my hand! Not too bad. They gave me a warm blanket because it was really cold in the holding area and then even colder in the surgery room. 

Scars :/
Say hello to the heprin bruise
  I got a patch for nausea put behind my ear and then a shot of heprin in my stomach on my left side. I am sure I spelled that wrong, but it is a blood thinner so that I don't get blood clots.  
 These are the same bruise. I didn't have the ganas to want to clean the glass so I tried my best to get the other shot. Anywho, it doesn't hurt, but it sure is ugly! These pictures were taken on day 4. By then I was able to get up and down pretty much by myself with minimal pain. The circle brown spot in the middle of my tummy is a mole that I had removed, so there were only 5 incisions for this surgery. I got some really good pain medicine for this surgery. It was a combo of Vicodin and Codeine. 
Thursday the 24th was spent in and out of sleep. I drank my protein shakes and otherwise was sleeping or resting watching junk tv.  Nothing more to report about that day! Friday the 25th was just about the same as Thursday. It was getting a little more easy to get up and down out of the bed and off the couch. I do have to say that I was confused by the mucus buildup in my throat and all from Weds-Friday. I was quite perplexed. I laid in the bed and on the couch or sat in my big comfy chair with a pillow over my belly. It seemed to help the pain to be able to hug a pillow. The gas was bothersome, but I got helpful hints to walk, drink hot tea and drink hot broth. I had some pain in my shoulders and neck. It was like I was holding my shoulders up to keep from putting pressure on my belly, but I didn't really think I was doing it. I had my sister rub some "stop pain" on my shoulders and neck and then put a heating pad on my back and it took a few days but the pain/strain subsided. I think that the knock out drugs settled in my shoulders and neck and that it just needed a few days to wear itself out of my system. 
I can do this! This isn't THAT bad :/
This was day 2 after surgery. I tried to make it seem like it was a good day! I can't remember much more than laying on the couch sitting almost completely up with my baby's comforter because I missed him and sitting up hurt less than laying down. At least I kept my sense of humor. LOL. 

By Saturday the 26th, I was having a serious case of cabin fever and miss-my-baby-itis. I got up and drove myself down the street to the park where my aunt had texted me they were playing. He missed me as much as I missed him. I called him each day and he would talk to me for a few minutes, but I haven't spent more than 2 days without my baby before. This was new, but needed. I went home after the park and took pain medicine and rested. Driving just a two days after surgery day wasn't such a good idea. 
Sunday the 27th! My baby came home! Yay! He was gentle with me. He was careful not to climb on me and not flop on my belly. He gave me big hugs and kisses. I love that boy! He came home just in time and in the mood for a nap, so we both went and laid down. By the time he woke up, it was time to get ready and go to my aunt's house for Justice to get to play with some other boys and enjoy a bouncy boxing ring and snow cones. He had a blast. There was so much food. Chips and dips. Cookies, cupcakes, ice cream! I got a cake plate and put a spoonful of three different dips on the plate. I was trying to make it make sense to me. I could have something as long as I didn't have to chew it. So these dips should be okay right? Ummm, no. They tell you not to do it for a reason. Gave me the flying shits. (excuse my bluntness) So, that was the first and last time I would be doing that! I finally hit my pain threshold and we went home. I had my pain medicine and I was feeling extra hungry and so my sister made me some extra runny mashed potatoes. Between that, the nausea patch was off and the pain medicine that I was fighting to stay awake .. I started feeling sickly :(
Nausea sucks!
 It felt as bad as it looks. A cold rag on the head and a pillow in the front. Sleep was the only thing that  made the nausea go away. 
     Monday the 28th! Memorial Day! Wish I felt like getting up and out the house to do something. I have cabin fever, yet I don't want to go around aimlessly looking for something to do. I sat around the apartment all day watching a marathon of Basketball Wives. Totally lack luster, but so needed to just rest and get ready for my first day back at work in 6 days! 
    Tuesday the 29th! Wow, so this is what work feels like. I am wearing my larger size jeans so that I don't have any pressure on my lower half. I surely don't need any help being uncomfortable or in pain. I have to admit that I went in to this thinking that my hunger would be gone. Not so true. The first few days the liquids only seemed to be enough. But come day 5 and 6, I honestly felt like I was starving and I wanted to eat something! Anything!!!! I eased on to really thin mashed potatoes, sugar free jello, sugar free pudding and yogurt. These were sustaining for a little while, but it turns out that if you don't drink enough water, you will feel the EMPTINESS that is your "second" stomach. I shall call the stomach above the band my stomach and the stomach below the second stomach. I have been perplexed how I can drink my protein shake and then thirty minutes later my stomach is rumbling and giving me the blues.  I called the patient advocate to ask about this, because I needed reassurance that this was "normal". How are people functioning with this discomfort and how in the world did they not want to slit their wrists because this was something that we ASKED to be done to us!?!?! It was explained to me, but I still had my reservations. I asked about a support group and holy cow the monthly meeting was TONIGHT!! So, now to get on my babysitter hustle to get someone to watch Justice for me while I go and listen and meet other people that have had this procedure. I surely needed the help and maybe even just a hug. A reassuring smile and just to hear that I am not alone in this miserableness that I am financing to pay for the next two years! 
I got my friend to watch Justice and rushed over to the other side of town to the meeting. Other than not being told exactly where the meeting was going to be, I was pleased with the turn out and the support and love I felt at the meeting. I walked in and they automatically said hi and welcomed me to sit down and it was as if I was sitting down with my very best girlfriends. I think I would like to be able to talk in a group setting a little more frequently than just once a month, but seeing as I am only a week in to my life after being banded, this feels right. Listening to the other women talk about where they were and how far they have come was like a breath of fresh air. I was second guessing myself, not that anything  could be done about it since the surgery was already done, but these women gave me a feeling of hope and helped me to keep the faith. As time progresses on, I feel it in my being to be a support for others in the process. Maybe volunteering or becoming a patient advocate myself. Since it is my life's mission to be of service to others, or since I feel like I have a calling to help others, I would love to be able to help other women with the emotional and mental support and perhaps even help get some staples in the system set for like a clothing exchange or donation. It would be awesome to have a really good starting procedure set before even getting the lap band surgery done. Goals! Yes! I got to reading on the lap band support website and I can't remember getting measured by anyone before I had the surgery. So how am I to know where I am in the process if I don't have a good set of starting numbers. This should have been one of the things that was done BEFORE I was wheeled in to the operating room.  Small things I would push to change for the better, but overall I am pleased with everyone at True Results that I have come in contact with. No matter how many times I called the patient advocate, she gave me as much time as I needed and answered any and all questions so that I was comfortable all along the process. I gotta say, I love my patient advocate Cindy. She rocks!

     Wednesday the 30th! Day two back at work. I am feeling a little weak and still hungry, but not as much. I had some mashed potatoes last night before bed, so I was able to sleep better. I don't know why, but it feels like I am cheating if I eat. This is definitely something that I will have to mention in the next support group. I tried adding jello to my shake, not so great. I think if I was to put it in the blender it might have worked, but it was just a gross mess. I had coffee this morning so I wasn't hungry until much later in the morning. I ended up just eating some sugar free jello and a fruit ice pop. I made some crystal light and it seems to help to sip on that. I am struggling with a headache and being cold. My sugar level is what I guess we could call normal. I haven't had high sugar since at least four weeks before the surgery. I would attribute that to being on the pre-op diet for those weeks. I am finding my sugar within normal range and it feels great. However, I haven't taken any of my other medicine. It concerns me just a little, but I have a call/email in to my doctor to ask about it. I haven't taken my thyroid medicine since the day before the surgery and my depression medicine either. I have been scared to take any oral medication as I didn't want anything to get stuck and I didn't know if those medicines are ones that you can break in to smaller pieces or crush.  Again, I am working on finding the answer. I am not sure that I "need" the depression medicine anymore. I am coping pretty well without it, but I do want to find out before I lose my noodles! I have to admit, I am hungry but the sensation isn't as bad as Monday or Tuesday. I think the eating one small bit of smooth food has been helping me. 

Scars as of May 31st
     Thursday the 31st! One full week after surgery! Pain in the surgery region has greatly subsided. I still have some discomfort around the incision sites, but I can't really feel any difference on the inside unless I really use my stomach muscles to do something. At that point, I have to tell myself to STOP THAT so that I don't pop a stitch on the hernia that Dr. Hollis fixed or hurt myself period. Last night I made myself an egg. It was good. I felt bad. Again, like I was cheating. I honestly thought it would be easier than this. I really think that there should be eating classes mandatory before you have the surgery. It is hard to know what and what not to eat. While we are given some handouts, they felt more like guidelines. I want to lose the weight like I am supposed to. I want to follow the rules, but OMG I feel famished and weak until I get that meal in my body. It is hard to want to deal with my son when all I want to do is lay down or sit down when I get home because I don't have the energy to do much more than that. I have so much that needs to get done, yet I don't have the energy to do it. I have laundry to do, closets to clean, toys to go through. Hell, tonight is shopping night. It will be my first time shopping when the food won't be for me. I am going to get a scale from Walmart tonight. Scales had been off limits in my personal space for years. I didn't need some scale telling me I was fat. Hell, I know I am fat. I think if I had actually kept a scale that I wouldn't have let myself get to the weight I was before I started this journey. I always knew the number I NEVER wanted to go over and when I finally realized I was to that point, it was emotionally, mentally, and physically draining to contemplate fixing this problem. I didn't get this way overnight and by God, I wasn't going to lose this overnight either. This was going to be a long and drawn out process and I was going to have to put effort towards it. Nothing like psyching yourself up to go for a walk or go to the gym. While I am still not really feeling great, I have had the want to get up and move around.  This band is just a tool and I MUST put in the effort and work so that I don't become just a mound of loose skin. 
Today for lunch I went to Subway and got a cup of soup. It was delicious! I was able to take a few sips and then the hunger left me, but I knew that I needed to put more in my body so that I wasn't eating for 2-3 hours on this bowl of soup. I didn't think it would be hard to not drink while eating, but I guess we just get accustomed to doing it that when we are told not to do it, it becomes a chore to follow that advice. Thankfully, I have only had a few spells of nausea and nothing more. I am learning, but with little to no real guidelines, I am finding my way thankfully! I am just going to have to remember that I can reach out to my banded sisters to help me with the moral support I need to get through days like these! 
     Friday June 1st! Okay, so the hunger is more manageable and the cravings are lessened. I am not as sore and feeling better. I think I am struggling a little with energy and I don't know if that is because I am not eating like I used to or if I just need to bone up on my B12 or what not. I feel like taking a nap. Sitting at work, I am certain taking a nap isn't really what is hawt!! I am looking forward to getting some things done this weekend. Who would have ever thought that doing laundry would be a want?!?! I am finally not sore enough so that I can get the laundry done. I feel the need to purge as well. Time to clean out some more foolishness and clutter out of the apartment. I am gearing up to look for a new place for me and Justice to live. I am tired of the place we live now. It has really gone downhill and well I am tired of living in little mexico!  I swear I didn't see the Mexican flag flying next to the Texas flag until the end of last year! I have been at the apartments for 2 years now. I want to get my car paid off and then get on the move. This way I am not hurting for money when it comes time to move and then the transfers or start up of new services. Whatever the case may be, I have decided it will happen when it is time and I need to stop letting other people influence my decisions. What I do and when I do it will be my decision, just as what and when I eat will be my decision. I am tired of the temptation in my apartment. If I am not supposed to have it, it shouldn't be in my apartment. Out of sight, out of mind. I just can't seem to get that through my friend's head. It will all pan out within the next month or so. I know that things will get back to our normal. 
     Saturday 6/2. Okay, so I had this great idea to wash last night. So, I washed 3 loads of clothes and dried them. I have one load of towels to do, but otherwise it felt good to get the clothes out of the way. I don't, however, have the energy to fold and put away those clothes. I let Justice stay up later last night than he normally does, but it was so that perhaps, just maybe, we could sleep in. No such luck. I don't know who I thought I was fooling! That boy of mine was up and telling me without hesitation that it was time to get up because it was a sunny day! Up early, but still managed to get a nap in. It was then that I knew it was time to get up and out the house. We went to Sam's and I found a protein shake that doesn't taste bad and it is actually filling. YAY! I still tried to get a piece of pizza down my throat. To my dismay, it hurt like a motherbitch to get the pizza stuck in my throat! I shall not being doing that again. Believe me! Justice and I went over to Tiffany's apartment and Justice played outside with this little girl neighbor until it was time to go home around 10pm! Little kids are too cute when they are tickled by the actions of another little kid! 
     Sunday 6/3. We went to bed late again. These late nights and early rising times are starting to wear me down. Tonight has got to be an early night! We are going to go back to Tiffany's today and I will let Justice play in the pool. I have a watermelon that is calling my name, but I will most definitely be sharing since too much of a good thing can be bad too! I am still tired! Energy has evaded me. I just have to get up and get out and not worry about it, because the energy will come once I give it motivation to be there. 
     We went to Tiffany's and had a great time. Justice got in the pool with the girls and had a blast. The watermelon was super sweet. I ended up eating baked beans and a few little bites of chicken. I know that beans are good protein, but they are also a source of carbs. I am a work in progress. Learning as I go along. I didn't think I would say this so soon, but I need a meeting! I need that boost from my banded sisters. I ate a piece of chicken and thought it would be okay. Two seconds later I was gasping because of the pain in my chest from the chicken getting stuck or hitting that banded part. I still haven't had an upchuck moment THANK GOD, but I have had the sensation like it would be awesome if I could regurgitate! Gladly, I am not eating like that so it isn't happening often, but it has happened three times. I am perplexed. I feel the need to reach out and seek support. 
     Monday 6/4. I woke up feeling a little refreshed, but still tired. We didn't get home until 11pm. Justice and I are surely going to bed tonight at 8pm! I plan on going walking at the park after work before I go pick up Justice, but the best laid plans often are reworked or completely changed in the long run. I took the first step and that was bringing my workout clothes. Now to just get my butt in to gear! I am considering changing gyms. 24 Hour Fitness has been a staple in my checkbook for the last 5 years I believe. But, I haven't had the gumption to really do the work. When I was working out with a trainer I would work, but otherwise, getting to the gym and doing the work was tedious. I don't want to leave Justice at the sitter or at the daycare for that extra 30 minutes to a hour and I don't believe I should have to pay extra to take my kid for him to go play while I work out. Mind you, the gym isn't a 24 hour facility anyway. I never understood how you could have the name 24 hour Fitness and close at 9pm on Friday. Really? Maybe the name should change to "Open when we feel like Fitness" then I would believe in the name. Anywho, I woke up craving my protein shake. That HAS got to be a good thing! I drank some sugar free coffee and then my shake this morning. By noon though, I was quite famished. I don't like that feeling. I ran over to Subway and got a cup of soup and some tuna fish. The soup went down fine, but I didn't enjoy it because I gulped it down so fast. I was too hungry. The tuna gave me the blues a little. I am not sure that tuna fish is the way to go for me right now. I am going to have to take a step back in order to move forward I see. 
     Tuesday 6/5. Yesterday I reached out to the ladies from the support meeting. Here is the message I emailed:
Hello there Ladies!
I am writing because, well, I felt like I needed a meeting. Meetings only being once a month, I am struggling! I am hungry. Yup I said it! HUNGRY!  Just to remind you, I am Amber .. I was just banded on the 23rd of May. I am going into the soft foods/solid foods stage of the post op. I am not sure I am doing this right and well there isn't really a guide for this. I am struggling with the lack of structure within myself and the lack of support for the every day mundane of coping and dealing with other people's ignorance about the Lap Band procedure. I, for a lack of better words, want to cry sometimes. I am not sure if this is because I am off my depression medicine or because of frustration. I am struggling with temptation from friends and their lack of understanding. While these same friends have had the lap-band and the gastric bypass, they both are still far out enough that they eat what they want. Their choices are most always wrong choices. I don't believe potato salad, baked beans, ribs, hamburgers and baked potatoes are on anyone's diet! 
I gave in last night and had a small bite of grilled chicken. I think I just wanted to taste something other than soup, protein shakes and sugar free jello. It hurt like a mother! I felt this strong pain around my breast bone and it took a couple of deep gulps to get it to go down. I haven't had the urge to purge. Then again, I haven't eaten anything to this extent before either.  
I guess I am just sending this SOS out hoping that I am not the only one struggling and perhaps that we could all keep in touch and be there for each other inbetween meetings. 

Thanks for letting me vent.

I got back a few responses. They are really supportive ladies. I feel like the little sister seeking answers. This is the response I sent out this morning:
Thank you for responding! I am so blessed to have met each and every one of you. I got to talking to one of my classmates that had the lap-band done 3 years ago. He asked me why I felt like I needed to go to a meeting. What I thought I needed from the meeting. It took me back, but at the same time made me realize that I am not helpless and as long as I believe in myself, then anything is possible. I have been thinking that I am doing something wrong. I have only lost 2 lbs since the surgery. Mind you, I haven't been exercising, but I thought the weight would come off a little more easy than this. I have been struggling with being tired and having headaches. Still not sure if the headaches are because I quit my depression meds cold turkey, but they usually go away after I have eaten something. I feel like I need a fill. The liquid and soft foods go straight through me. I am hungry after 1.5 hrs. I am trying to drink more crystal light and water, but when my belly is grumbling something fierce, water or flavored water isn't going to cut it. 
I am so ready to work out. I am afraid since they told me not to. I figured I would wait until I go see Dr. Hollis for the follow up on the 12th. I wonder if he will give me a fill on the 12th or just look at the incisions. Either way, I am ready for the next step in this. I am finding that I need more support and probably could have used a little more intense psychological talking before I had this surgery. It all happened so fast since I was paying out of my own pocket, that I didn't really get to talk to other people about the surgery, nor did I really get mentally prepared for the struggles along the way. I, by far, was not ready for the ups and downs of the emotions of watching other people eat. I am not envious by any means, but I feel a loss. It is like I had a bad break up with my food habit. Suddenly we aren't friends. I can't even say that food and I have a red headed step child kind of relationship. Right about now food is my frienemy and I don't like it.  Sort of makes me want to cry because I didn't realize how good a cupcake would make me feel when I got to missing my mom and sister. I didn't realize how much I would just love to go to my mom's favorite mexican restaurant and order the #1 and sit there and enjoy queso and chips with my son and remember my mom. Things I can't do now. Things that over time I may be able to do, but with my love/hate relationship with food, I am not sure that I will really be able to do it.  This makes me sad. That comfort isn't there anymore. Now the food could hurt me. Chicken is no longer my friend. Choking on chicken is NOT what is hot. 
Would I do this again?  Yes. There is a time, a reason and a season for everything. This surgery was made possible by divine timing and so this is a journey I am meant to be on. It is about time that Amber gets in a better place. This is my year to shine and by God, it will happen. 
I just want to thank each and every one of you for being there at that meeting. For welcoming me when I walked in and for going in to that meeting with an open mind and welcoming heart. It means so much that there are other people willing to listen and share their experiences to help others.  You each are a blessing. 

Blessings and Love, 

I think sometimes we just need to take a step out of our own story in order to make progress. I cried when I wrote that email. I am finding so much more out about myself and letting myself have the moments of emotions instead of eating or swallowing them is such a blessing. It certainly doesn't feel that way while I am going through it, but in the end I am stronger for it and I am able to cope with the next time those feelings arise. This isn't a quick fix. This isn't an overnight success story. Work will have to be put towards the goals and progress that will be made. This journey is not for the weak of hearts and determination. Motivation can be your friend or your foe, it just takes YOU to decide which way you choose to go. 
THE salad!
     Wednesday 6/6! So, a new day, yet the same issues. I am tired, I am hungry, I have a headache that goes away when I eat and then comes back in two hours. Yesterday, I was struggling with nausea all day. The only thing I can think that I did differently was to take some liquid D3 in my protein shake. Being hungry every two hours is really starting to suck. I ate a salad today. THE WHOLE DAMN SALAD. Mind you, choosing a salad with some tuna on it was a great decision, but I ate the entire thing! I am soooo not getting enough of something. Last night I ate some fish and shrimp. I craved fish and shrimp. So, what does that mean I am missing?  I have NO clue. I changed my follow up appointment with Dr. Hollis to tomorrow. I really think it feels like time for a fill in my lap band. I know that I am only a few weeks out, but I certainly didn't expect that I would be feeling hungry like I am and I didn't realize I would be having these feelings of unsure. I am unsure if this is normal. I am unsure if I am doing this right. The only thing I AM sure of is that I am ready for this big step to be worth the pain and time off work.  I am going to the gym tonight. I am rather excited. It feels like an old friend that I am going to go see after a long hiatus. I went yesterday to the gym and got set up and got Justice enrolled to be at the kids club while I work out. I was always worried about picking him up from daycare and taking him straight to another place where I am dropping off my kid, but yesterday he had a blast. He even cried when he had to tell his friends bye. So, this feels good. I am doing this for both of us. He will get to be around new kids and I get to work on my outside to help it catch up with my inside!  
First night back at the gym! Still smiling!
I pray that this will one day help someone else along the way. I pray that my journey will help someone else on theirs. 
     Thursday 6/7/12. I went to my post op follow-up at Dr. Hollis's office. It was way out 45 South near Ellington Field. It was interesting to be a work day and be driving around. I don't get to do that much. I was tempted to keep on driving down 45 South all the way to Galveston! The visit went fine. I didn't get to see Dr. Hollis. I saw his RN Beth. She checked out the incision sites and told me why I was tender near the biggest site. Duh, it is where the port is! Figures! I told her about my hunger, the lack of energy .. the HUNGER! She let me try their banana flavored shake. It was decent enough. I still think I need a B12 shot or something. I can't seem to keep my eyes open on most days. I am getting enough sleep without and with the CPAP machine. I just think that the not eating enough protein is what is making me weak. I am struggling to find my strength to go to the gym after work. I have about 15 minutes left at work and I am really trying to psych myself up to going. It is about to pour down. I still have to go get Justice from daycare, but I had such a good time working out yesterday that I feel like I want to go again today and would rather not NOT go. 
     Friday 6/8. I didn't get to the gym yesterday. The weather was crazy! It stormed on and off the rest of the night. There was a significant wind storm that passed down Tidwell. I just decided that Justice and I needed to get dinner and head home. Better to be off the roads. I decided to go to the gym tonight. The day was full of sitting at my desk and pushing papers around. I need the gym to give me that little bit of excitement. I decided to sign up for a trainer. I need that little bit of help to get in a good routine so that I am doing things to help my progress. While I love doing the elliptical machine, I need more structure and guidance to get me to a place where I feel comfortable doing the workouts on my own and still continue to see progress. I got measured and weighed. I have gained a pound since the surgery. I have been eating my ass off. Nothing that was fattening per se, but eating without a lot of restriction. I can't get bread down and pasta isn't a craving that I have anymore. I have been craving fish and green veggies. I really have been craving going to PF Changs and getting the seared Ahi Tuna and the stir fried Buddha's Feast. Anyway, I am looking forward to seeing changes in my outer and inner self as this all progresses!
     Saturday and Sunday 6/9-6/10. I am finding it harder to get on the internet at home. I am trying to make sure that my weekend is full of time with Justice. We got up and went to get Justice's haircut at the barbershop then came home and took a nap. We went over to our Godmother's house and he got to play with his cousins. By the time we got home, we were both exhausted. Sunday we got up and I made breakfast. I washed clothes and then let Justice play in the pool for a while. I ended up having to go to the laundry mat to dry the clothes since our boiler at the apartments has been on the fritz and we don't have the heat to dry the clothes. Sucks that I used $3 in quarters before I saw the sign that said that there was a gas leak and the boiler had been turned off. I still don't get why there wasn't a notice sent out to all the residents letting us know that there wasn't going to be hot water for the weekend. I also don't understand why they didn't get the problem fixed before the weekend since they knew there was a problem last week. Thank God I have better coping skills, because this little problem would have been a big problem for them with my state of mind before now! LOL! 
     Monday 6/11. I am back at work and feeling okay. I have started taking my thyroid medicine again. I am noticing the headaches are starting to ease and the tiredness isn't as bad. Go figure! I still need to find a way to stomach these vitamins and supplements. Having nausea all day is NOT what is hot! I have my first training session today. It is only a 25 minute session, but I know this dude is going to work the sweat out of me! I am so ready though. I feel like I never had the surgery. My mind is telling me to be cautious when eating, my stomach is telling me that I am hungry and my mind is telling me that I am tired of it all. I wish they would all get on the same page. I am eagerly waiting for the 25th when I get my first fill. I am ready to fill satisfied with the little I eat. I am ready to start losing weight and seeing the work I am putting in showing true results. (no pun intended)
Tilapia .. It's what's for dinner.
The amount I really ate. The rest was lunch and dinner for the next day or two
      Tuesday 6/12. So, last night the trainer, honestly I can't remember his name so we will call him "D", he worked the mess outta me! His name really does begin with a D .. I wasn't just pulling that out the air! I took Justice yesterday at the end of my work day to Tae Kwon Do to see if the director thought he would be able to handle it. The director that Justice would like it and that he could handle following instructions as well as the structure of listening! I so have a momma's boy on my hands! He is really something else! I digress. I got to the gym about a hour early so I decided to get to the elliptical machine. I did about 15 min and the head trainer told me not to do more than 30 minutes cardio, so I got off there and went to do the rest of my 30 minutes on the treadmill. I am not a lover of the treadmill. It seems mundane to me. Anywho, I did the cardio with just enough time to go downstairs and put my cell phone and ipod in the little locker and get ready for the workout from hell. OMG! Whoever invented the stair step really needs their ass beat! D put three height adjustments under it and I had to do reps of too many. My thunder thighs, knees and ankles aren't ready for this. I need to build them up to doing this. Oh and since there were certain things that it is too soon to do, he got running up and down the staircase. I was all WTF. I just did cardio man. "For the next 30 minutes I am not your friend". I didn't pay for a friend. I paid to learn how to work out again. I need to work out with purpose. I need to work out with a goal in mind so that the end result is an educated woman who can do this on her own the right way. I could go to the gym and do however many reps of whatever machine and call it a work out, but I need structure. I'll be glad when I can go to a boot camp class and when I can get to work out with my old trainer Justin again. Eye candy and still works the dogshit outta me! Loving the burn, just not in the moment I am sweating in places that shouldn't be mentioned. I didn't know you could sweat from your knees! LOL. Well, I am sore, but a good sore. I will go and do cardio again tonight. I might try a few machines, but I really just want to get a good routine down so that I can go to the gym with purpose. Getting myself to the gym was the hardest part. No, take it back, getting my fat ass out of the car was the hardest part. Now that my kid loves the gym and I am wanting to go... man look out. I am going to be one bad momma! 
    I was just reading back over some of my older posts. I am still waiting for this to be amazeballs! Patience is a virtue and I am certainly making sure that I go at the pace my body has set. Another part of me is ready and receptive to feel wanted/needed/desired again. I keep telling myself to just work on Amber, but part of Amber is always going to want companionship. NOT sex. Companionship! Ugh. So need to work on this!
Whew! Zumba was hard, but good!
     Wednesday 06/13/12. So, I got to the gym last night and was on the elliptical and saw the instructor for the night's class walk in. There was this lady that went in and talked for a minute then came out to warm up on the bike. I normally don't go up to people and talk to people, but I went up to her and asked what the class was tonight. She said Zumba and I asked if it was really hard. She wasn't a skinny girl, but not as big as me, so I figured she would be honest about it. She said it was a great class and this was going to be her second time. I decided to warm up a little more and consider the class. I didn't want to be the only newbie in there and I surely didn't want to be the fattest one in there trying to keep up. Class starts at 545pm. It was about 530 and I went in there to talk to the instructor to ask about the degree of difficulty. He was really nice and then suddenly I wasn't the only chunky monkey in there! There was a few nice girls that came and stood near me and there was this one that was like "just keep moving. even if you don't do the steps, just keep moving" I took the initiative to ask the girl about the class and then again to go in there and talk to the instructor. I also decided to stay. GLORY BE, I have grown up some! I am coming out of my shell! So, I started out good, but then he got to skipping and jumping. My calf was still sore from yesterday's workout with the trainer so I just kept moving. I looked over and the girl was all "you can do this!" wow. A girl that didn't know me was giving me motivation and pats on the back! This was so awesome! Zumba kicked my butt! So worth it though. I am glad that I got up the nerve to do it. My hesitations before was I didn't want people looking at me and I didn't want to be judged. Now that I am in a different place and doing this for real .. I honestly don't care what other people think. Let them look. If they don't like it, they can look away. If they judge me, then they need help in their own life! 
   I was sitting at my desk today at work and was listening to music and I started bouncing in my chair. This is a happy I haven't felt in a long long time! I asked my trainer to get me a set of exercises that I could do on my own while I wasn't with him. He took that as let me mini train her again. :\ I just did all this grinding, step ups, bouncing and lunges in Zumba and now this man wants me to do what?!?! Oh lawd, I really need to watch what I ask for! It was a good workout for such a short time. They sure know how to push me. I didn't realize how much I say "I can't do that". It wasn't until my trainer said, 'if you keep saying you can't you won't. Just do it and you can say you CAN.'  that I realized that can't is a word that needs to leave my vocabulary. I am only limiting myself. Thanks to the trainer (I can't remember his name either .. don't even know what it starts with, but he reminds me of Justin so I just call him honeydip in my head) that believes enough in me to not give in to my whines and "no" and "i don't like you" because my insides are screaming "thank you for taking the time that day to talk with him and let him become part of our journey!"  
     Thursday 06/14/12. Well, last night went good. I am sore sore sore! My thighs are sore, but on an up note my calf isn't sore anymore! LOL! So, did the mini training last night, some cardio and then sat in the sauna for a good 20-30 minutes. Not sure how much time is on that timer in there, but whatever the sand timer is well that is what I did. I was sweating in places that I didn't know could sweat. It felt great. I got Justice and we got in the car to go home and something told me to stop at the park and let Justice play. There is this cute park on Silber close to Long Point that is pretty much for kids. There is a dirt track there that circles the playground and it small enough that if I walk it I can still keep my eye on Justice. The sun was just starting to go down and there was a great breeze! I was sitting down on the bench and then I noticed a butterfly that was bouncing around. It was fluttering about and ever since my mom and sister passed, I've taken butterflies as a sign they are sending me love. This butterfly was intriguing. It landed on my leg! It was like a kiss from heaven! I didn't get a picture, but it made me start to cry. In a good way of course. Then, by golly, it did it again! This time I had my camera ready. It did it three times! I looked up and there were two butterflies fluttering about. They were too fast for me to get a picture, but it was like they were playing in the air right about where Justice and I were. My mommy and sister sure now how to make me cry happy tears! I miss them so much and am so blessed to see these signs from above. Justice even saw them and smiled so big when they came close to him. Gosh, I just got teary eyed again just talking about the butterflies. Ashley posted on my Facebook page about how far I have come. I used to be terrified about butterflies. I had a dream once that a huge butterfly landed on my shoulder and wouldn't leave. When my Godson was little, my cousin and I took him to the butterfly exhibit at the museum and a butterfly landed on my finger. I was freaking out and my cousin said "Amber, hold it for your Godson. This is for your Godson!" I sucked it up and did it. It wasn't so bad. It wasn't that I was scared, I just had an aversion to flying insects. Hello! Flying roaches and I will NEVER be friends. You can bet that! So, when the butterfly landed on my leg and I actually wanted it, it was so precious. I have come leaps and bounds from where I was years ago. Blessed be! Tonight is my night off from the gym. I am going to Star Pizza to meet up with Melissa! I haven't seen her in forever and am so glad that we have recently reconnected. We were friends in middle school and a little in high school. I can still remember my birthday in middle school when the first to fall asleep got vaseline and baby oil in their hair. I looked greasy for almost a week! Thank goodness for the peppermint hair scrub from Visible Changes! Good times I tell you. And to think, she didn't care how fat I was, am or will be! God will return those friends to your life when the time is right! So blessed I truly am!
Star Pizza! His Cheese Pizza .. my Caprese
     Justice and I had a great time at Star Pizza. That was my first time there although I have had the pizza from there before. OMG the Caprese Salad was the bomb! I have been craving it and actually was going to seek out the mozzarella balls for it. I've not seen the plain balls, just the ones in oil and lord knows I don't need anymore oil or fat added to my life. It was so nice to catch up with Melissa and meet her fiance. They are just too cute together! I can't wait for her baby shower! In other news, I am super sore in my thighs and walking around like a penguin. Walking fast isn't an option right now. I don't know if I need to stretch more or at this point what I can do to make the hurt not as bad. I brought my clothes so I can go work out after work, but if it is going to make the hurt worse, I am not sure this is what I need to do. I'll have to ask my trainer friend for advice. I actually got stuck in the chair at home. It is an over sized chair that is so comfortable, but my thigh muscles got so tight I had a hard time getting up. I am still sore in my arms too, but my legs have gotten the brunt of the workouts as of lately. I don't want to fall back in to my ways of it hurts so I am going to stop until it doesn't hurt. I want to continue on and I will succeed at this! 
Just hanging around the park after the gym!
My boy likes to take pictures of momma
Laying around in the slide. Tired 
Before the haircut!

     Friday 06/15/12. So, I am walking around really slow because my thigh muscles are so tight that they feel like I am ripping them when I sit down and then get back up. I am trying not to sit still too much though, because that seems to make it worse. I am riding the fine line of wanting to go the gym to at least get in my 30 minutes of cardio, but I am concerned that I will just be more sore after all is said and done. I've been talking myself into it all day. It actually is harder to talk myself out of it than in to it. I asked for a few opinions and some said to rest the muscles while other said that I needed to work them. I took off yesterday, so I figure I better get my booty in that gym if for nothing more than cardio. I've got a super busy weekend lined up and this is the first time in a long time that I am really excited about it. 

     Saturday 6/16/12.  I ended up going to the gym. I got on the elliptical machine and did my mile (16 min), then got on the treadmill for a mile (10 min) and finished up on the bike for a mile and 1/2 for the final 10ish minutes. I am trying to keep cardio within that 30 minute window that my trainer told me to stick to, but there are some times where I just want to keep going. Weird. I am perplexed at why my muscles didn't hurt while I was on the elliptical and on the bike, but when I was on the treadmill trying to walk my thighs felt like they were going to give out on me. I then felt like I sprained my cookie. The bike makes you use different leg muscles. The inside of my thighs near my "cookie" were feeling strained/sprained. I was all "oh great .. now I broke something else!" I really am trying to be positive about the situation and not complain all the time. Sometimes I think I just need to hear that I am doing it right and to just keep on keeping on.  I got in the sauna and let my body relax. I felt good. I took Justice to the park down the road from the gym and I laid in the slide and he played around me. It was such a great early evening. The wind was blowing and the sun was out. The butterfly that seems to like me and Justice was there. It is so sweet that Justice sees the butterfly as a gift from "mimi and aunt boobies" that is the most beautiful thing to me. My son knows their faces and I know he still feels their love even though he was so young when they left us. I went to get Ashley from Huntsville and then made it home to shower and crash. I got up early this morning and got the laundry together and headed out while Justice was asleep with Ash. I had a hair appointment to make by 1pm, so I knew I need to get done all that I could before I needed to head that way. We got invited over to my friend Heather's house for a crawfish/pool/birthday party for her husband Nate. 
     I got up and was at the laundry mat when I got a text from baby daddy asking if Justice was ready. This was somewhere around 10 or 11 am and well, I wasn't home and Justice was still asleep. I still have reservations when it comes to sending Justice over there. Baby daddy doesn't keep in contact with me unless it is to ask me something that pertains to helping him out. Last week he asked if I would consider settling the back child support amount for 1700 less than what he owes. I hadn't heard from him since he called me to ask that. Of course, I said no, so if I don't give him the answer he wants to hear, then I don't hear from him. Since I hadn't heard from him and had told him several times that my days aren't planned around waiting on him to come or not come to get Justice, I told him that we weren't home. He said "oh ok" and didn't other texting me again later or even calling to ask when we would be home so that he could come get Justice. It doesn't surprise me at all. I was taken back by my emotions about it. I felt like a total cunt and bitch for not letting Justice go with his father. I knew the answer that was in my gut and the answer that I was going to give, but I called Justice's Godmother to help me talk this out because I was feeling like I was keeping Justice from something. Overall, I know that Justice is safe and well taken care of in my care. I know that I might need a break every now and then, but what mother doesn't!?!? I felt like sending him over there wasn't about it being his weekend or even the fact that Father's day was Sunday. If baby daddy wanted to come get Justice, spend time with Justice, or let him spend time with his brothers it wouldn't be a matter of whether or not it was his weekend. EVERYDAY is Father's Day regardless. You don't just get to decide you want to be a father one day out of the year. I don't get to decide that I want to be a mom one day out of the year on Mother's Day! I digress. So, after a few tears I realized that I was reflecting my past hurt on to my child. I was remembering my mom trying to get me to go with my cousins because she didn't want me to have that disappointment of waiting on my dad to come get me. I remember sitting on my grandmother's couch with the blinds pulled up waiting on my dad to pull up. There was more than a hand full of occasions that I know that he didn't show. I was NOT going to let my child feel that hurt. I try and protect Justice all that I can. I know that I know that I know that I can't protect him from everything, but my past experience has led me to be the strong independent woman that I am now and the strong willed protecting single mom as well. I know what I felt and I will NOT let my child be hurt by this man any more than he probably has been. Justice can and will see his brothers any time he wants when they get older. I just pray that Justice doesn't resent me later in life for not pushing to get him over there. I tried for a year to get those people to accept my son. After a year, I was exhausted and disappointed. My expectations turned to disappointment. I just had to realize that not all families work the same way. My family shows love in hugs and kisses. We now verbalize our feelings. We are a work in progress. We didn't always. I think not hearing it while I was growing up while I knew it was there, but it wasn't verbalized back then has led me to be the affectionate mother that I am now. I try to make sure that Justice knows that he is loved each and every day. I tell him when he wakes up, when I drop him off, when I pick him up and before he goes to bed. Anyway, that was how that situation went. After laundry I went home and got Justice ready then I gathered what I would need for Justice and then showered and headed out to get my hair did! I ho-hummed for a while about whether or not to cut it off or if I should just get layers and then deal with it. It is time for a change. I am changing inside and out. It is time that Amber does something for herself and by golly I did! (see inset picture) :D

 I got done with Bernie and called Heather to find out if the party was still going on. It had been raining on and off and I wasn't sure if I should still try and head over. Heather didn't answer! I figured it was a good excuse to just go home. I had already told Justice that we were going to a party, so I decided to be a mommy that keeps her word. Honestly, I don't know why I kept myself from going and being around the people I went to high school with. At first, I felt like a fish out of water. Justice wanted to get in the pool, so I got him in. There were people on opposite sides of the pool talking and having a good time. I sat in the middle near Justice while he played in the pool. I had a moment where in my head I went back to that uncomfortable girl in high school wondering why I was trying to fit in with the popular kids. I felt like the fat girl again. The unpretty fat girl at a party full of popular skinny girls. I felt like an outcast. That was all in my head. I was invited to this gathering and I was in my head half the time. Once Justice was out of the pool and I was gearing up to leave was when I saw more people I knew that remembered me. How awesome is that!??! I ended up not leaving for another 3 hours after that! I am not a youngin anymore, so staying out late isn't in me like it used to be, but catching up with Heather was awesome. It was nice to be around generally nice people. There was no negativity. There was no down talking or talking about other people as I had been surrounded by as of lately. I have started to see that a change in surroundings really is best sometimes. 
Love Love Love my color and cut!

I might just be feeling myself a little too much now!

Love this candid!
     Sunday 06/17/12. Father's Day!  I got up sluggishly, but knew that there were things that needed to be done so that I could head over and take my daddy fishing. I went to Walmart and picked up some sunscreen, OFF since my kid and I are so yummy, a few new toys, some fridge essentials and some snacks for the day. Got home and woke up the boy and we were on our way. He was so excited to go see Grandpa Al and go fishing. A calm came over me as I realized that while he wasn't with his father on Father's Day, my son was still enjoying his day with my daddy and his mommy and that the smiles, laughs and temper tantrums that would be throughout today were all worth it. He caught two fish. Okay, so I caught two small fish, but I reeled them in as if they were Justice's fish! I love this little guy to the moon and back. After fishing we went to my dad's and he grilled some chicken, sausage and hot dogs. I ate two drumsticks and a spoon full of potato salad. It took a little while, but I got it down. I even got in a mini nap while my dad was doing the bbq. Good times! I love my daddy. After all of that we came home. Justice fell asleep on the way home. No nap, sun and full belly. There was NO way he was going to not fall asleep. While I have something else on my mind, I am choosing not to post about it since the more attention I give to it, the more pissed I get about not communicating in the first place. So, all in all it was a busy and great weekend. Family, friends and good food. Time well spent. 
     Monday 6/18. Whew! After that weekend I need another weekend or day off to just sit and do nothing. I have next weekend booked already too! Nice to be a social butterfly since I never really was. Funny how being fat and insure can hold you back from enjoying life. I also realized that I needed to take my friends with a grain of salt. You know, the ones that are always there but aren't the uplifting ones. I am finding my own way and finding my footing again. It is such a great thing to feel good about myself and not have the tolerance for the negativity and doubtfulness that is often fed by your very best of friends. When you have friends like that, who the hell needs enemies!?!?! Friends shouldn't have to come with a warning tag or a need to wear a life jacket. Lessons learned. I am gearing up for my training today. I hope that we have a great workout, but that I am not too sore and hurting tomorrow that I steer away from tomorrow night's Zumba! I want to keep doing it so that eventually I can do it without stopping, gasping for air, and maybe just maybe I can gather some coordination! Today is going to be a great day! I feel it in my core! 
Blueberry Muffin ~ can be hazardous to your banded health!
This morning I didn't have a shake ready, so I grabbed this blueberry muffin to eat. Blueberry muffin 1 .. Amber 0! Well played Mr. Muffin .. well played!
   Tuesday 6/19/12. So last night I went to the gym. And I totally thought that my training was on Monday night like the previous week. I get there and do my cardio on the elliptical machine and then go downstairs to get ready for the trainer and by golly my training isn't until tonight. Figures! I was ready and had already psyched myself up to work out with him. I was ready for the pain. Not so much tonight. So I decided to try a few machines on my own. I still think that it has been so long since I've done the machines that I would like a good run through of the machines that would benefit me and how much weight and how many reps to do. Not to much to ask I don't believe. While I appreciate that I get to work out with a trainer and we aren't just going through the machines, I would like to know how to do it when I am not with him. I've noticed a pattern of what I am looking for in this. Next step, to get them to actually show me what to use and when and how. Teach me how to fish! I am going to tell my trainer this. I think I am really ready for this first fill/adjustment. I am ready to start losing weight already. I know that I need to get back on my protein shakes and I will. Now that I have found a shake that I actually like, I need to invest in a few boxes. I don't get to Sam's that often, but at least I know where to get it. I am also considering ordering from Dr. Hollis's website. They have this banana shake mix that is freaking awesome! Totally recommend. 
     Wednesday 6/20/12. So, I didn't get to do my elliptical machine last night. I got to the gym and went straight to Zumba. I wanted to stay! Demonte "D" wouldn't let me reschedule my training so I only got to do 15 minutes of Zumba. I appreciate him not letting me back out and I also appreciate him pushing me. He sees that I have a lot of potential and can do more than I think I can. I still seem to be getting in my own way when it comes to working out. While I'd like to think I was past the point of care when it comes to other people watching or looking at me at the gym, I have to admit that I am not. I was doing this step up machine and since I have thunder thighs and muscles that aren't used to being used in that way, it takes time and a lot of effort to get the step up and step downs done. I feel uneasy and struggle with the strain I feel in my left leg and ankle when I do these step ups. The right leg I seem to handle like a pro. When I was working out with Justin at 24 Hr Fitness, I was doing a step up and down thing back in the weight lifting section of the gym. I stepped down just so and twisted my ankle and fell flat on my butt. My ankle and foot were bruised badly and I couldn't work out for a while. I would go to the gym with my foot wrapped and just do the bike so that I wasn't putting pressure on my ankle and foot. I would do the machines for the arms and thighs, but in the end I think I still have that fear in the back of my head that I am going to step down incorrectly with that left foot again and get hurt. MAN, I just had another epiphany! This self therapy, also known as blogging, seems to be helping more than I could have ever thought! 
     The weather is bad again. I called and cancelled my therapy session for today. I am going to reschedule, because ultimately I know there are things that I need to talk through with someone who isn't in my immediate circle and can give me a different view of my thoughts and feelings towards situations. I haven't yet encountered feelings of regret from having the surgery. I do seem to have feelings of disappointment. Not that I had high expectations from the beginning about the surgery, but I had put in my head that this surgery was going to help me more than it has already. I keep telling myself that I just need to keep taking the baby steps and that I built this on belief and prayer and that I need to continue to support that belief and prayer in order to continue to see positive actions come from this. I have noticed that I am a lot more happy. This could also be because I am going to the gym and getting the good endorphins from working out. I smile a lot more than I have in a long time. Getting my hair cut and colored helped me to shed that frumpy girl look. While I haven't bought any new clothes and I wear the same thing to work every day, I have found that I walk with my head held up a little higher than it was before. God is Good I tell ya. I appreciate all the well wishes and pats on the back for all that has been accomplished thus far. It brings tears to my eyes to have all this support and to feel so much love from everyone. I haven't felt this way in a long time. It almost feels funny to hear someone say that I am pretty or that I am looking great. It all is so new to me and I am accepting with a grain of salt. I wish I had it in me to really feel what they are saying. I've not felt the love of another in such a long time, that I am not sure I would know how to handle it. I am sort of scared to let my heart love again. I question motives. Why do you want to be in my life now? You didn't want to be in it before, so why do you want to be in it now? I realized that I shut the door before I even let someone in. It is a defense mechanism. It is easier to not let someone in and not get hurt, than it is to be open and receptive just to end up hurt. 34 years of disappointment and hurt will do that to you. Now, if only I could get this out of my way so that I am able to let my love flow freely. Goals.

     Thursday 06/21/12. Well, the gym felt good last night. I didn't get to go to the gym tonight. Justice was crying when I picked him up from Tae Qwon Do. It took me the entire ride home to get him to calm down. I am not sure what happened at the Dojo, but he was crying so much that he wouldn't even acknowledge me talking to him asking what was wrong and what happened. There was a test going on when I went to pick him up, so I didn't get to ask the owner guy what happened, but it ticked me off that they didn't call me to tell me that Justice was crying almost the entire 30 minute class. Why not call me and tell me that I need to come get him. They had told us to not stay so that he would focus on class, otherwise I would have been there already. Grrr! So, instead I went to get a few movies, dinner and some cough medicine for Justice. He  has been coughing for a week or two now and the over the counter stuff works during the day only. I am struggling to sleep with Justice in my bed and under me coughing all night. Momma needs her rest too! I have lots to do tomorrow so I am not sure if I will make it to the gym again. My social life is interfering with my workout life! I need to find a happy medium. I also need to get some things done at the apartment, so I've just got to better prioritize!
     Friday 06/22/12. So, I took Justice to the pediatrician and he has a virus. Just something that will have to go away on its own. She also told me that I need to restart giving him breathing treatments at night before bed. This should help with his congestion and cough. She didn't necessarily tell me that he has asthma, but she didn't not say it either. :\ I am gearing up for a busy busy weekend. I have to get up and get Justice's hair cut tomorrow. I have a baby shower on Sunday to go to! I am super excited to go visit and celebrate with Melissa and Haap! So excited for their first baby! I am going to sneak in the gym!!! I have my first fill/adjustment at 8am on Monday. This should be interesting. I am going to go to Sam's and stock up on protein shakes again. I should have been drinking them still, but couldn't stomach the thought of making the whey protein isolate shake again. The thought of it makes me gag! I know that I would see better numbers on the scale if I was doing nothing but the shakes. I have found that I need the extra nutrients and calories since I am working out. Otherwise, I feel like I am light headed and going to pass out when I am working out. Not sure I like either of those feelings.  I will catch up on the weekend's posts on Monday since I will be swamped with things to get done.
     Saturday and Sunday 6/23-6/24/12.  Well it was a weekend full of activity and then again not. Saturday's plans for family dinner night got changed. So instead we went over and visited with my Aunt Carrie. Good times. Gearing up for the baby shower for my nephew and his girlfriend and great nephew Brayden! OMG, now I AM old. I digress. I didn't get to the gym on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. I feel sluggish and ready to get back at it. I took Justice to the pool on Saturday afternoon. That is always fun. Sunday we had a baby shower to go to. Justice was one of three kids, but he was the  entertainer for sure. I loved being out and around other people. Oh wait, the baby shower was in a conference room at Lifetime Fitness. So, I sort of DID go to the gym, just not to work out and just not MY gym. They embraced my loud and rambunctious son and laughed at his antics. Good times. I was so worn out that we went home and we both took a nap. The nap was at 5 something, but so needed. 
     Monday 6/25/12. After that much needed nap yesterday we still managed to get to bed at a decent hour. I woke up early and got ready and headed out for my first fill/adjustment today. I was a bit anxious since it was my first time and I wasn't sure what to expect. The waiting was more tedious and bothersome than the actual fill. I answered some questions. I filled out some paperwork and then went and sat back down to wait some more, except that this time the waiting was super short. I got called back. Weighed in. Today's weight 340lbs. This was with jeans and shoes on. So, hard to say if the weight would have adjusted any less, but I am hoping that it would have been slightly lower. It is sort of making me sad that on surgery day I was 342.8. So I have only lost 2 lbs. Mind you, I have lost inches. Blood pressure was great. I went into a room and sat down just long enough to look in this cute lunch bag they gave me as a welcome and congrats on your lap-band gift. It came with a measuring cup, one minute timer and a dvd. This should be interesting to watch. I like the measuring cup though. I laid down on the table and she put the needle in and pulled back to see how much fluid was in the band before she gave me a fill. All that was in there was .8cc .. so she added that back and then added 1cc on top of that. The first thought in my mind was "that's it?" Rome wasn't built in one day AMBER! I thought for sure I would get more of a fill than that. Don't know why, but figured that something more significant would be added. She told me to go in the waiting area and get a glass of water and sip on it until it is all gone to make sure that the band isn't too tight. I had a sensation of the water coming back up after a few sips. This was because I had gotten used to being able to drink like I was before. I tried to gulp it down so I could leave and head to work. Not so much! I was concerned for all of 2 seconds then finished the water. I had forgotten my letter of release from Dr. Hollis, so I had to go to the car to get it and then I got a glass of hot tea. I sipped that down and things seem to be fine. Guess what? I AM HUNGRY! I am hungry because I couldn't eat before the fill. I drank a protein shake, so I know that I am not starving. I have got to learn what is hunger and what is thirst pains. I am thirsty now. I just hope that I have enough energy to get through my workout later tonight with "D".  
     Tuesday 6/26/12. Last night before I went to workout I started to deal with a bout of nausea. Not sure if it was because the office had gotten hot or because of the protein shake that I drank 30 minutes prior to it getting hot in the office. Either way, I was struggling, but I didn't let it take me down. I decided that I was going to follow through and make it to the gym. I got there a hour early since I couldn't remember what time I was suppose to do training. Grrr! I went upstairs and did the elliptical machine for about 20 minutes then remembered that I hadn't logged in downstairs, so I went down to scan in and while I was there I asked about my training session time. Yup, 7pm. So I headed back upstairs and got back on the elliptical machine and by golly .. I knocked my mile time down to 14:30! When I started back at the gym my time was 16+ minutes for an elliptical mile. I hadn't noticed that I had knocked it down under 15 minutes until I looked and if I hadn't been Facebook posting while on the machine, my time would have been even less! 
Best time yet on my elliptical mile!
1 month post op scars
1 month post op scars

 Surprisingly, the fill wasn't that bad at all. I went in a little anxious, but I didn't see the needle until after she took it out. So glad too, because I think if I had seen it before the fill I would have passed out! The needle was about as long as my finger so 3 inches I would guess. The sensation when she took out the fluid to see how much was still in there from the surgery was interesting. I didn't know that I would feel it, but WOAH! 

Finger pointing at the FILL site
     Wednesday 6/27/12. Well, it was a rough night at my house. I was trying to get Justice to sleep in his own bed and so I didn't get much sleep. He kept getting up and coming in to my room every other hour. He would come and be almost in the bed when I would wake up to tell him to go to his bed like a big boy. The mommy in me wants to just let him sleep with me because I love having him next to me, but the other part to that is that he stays right under me all night. I feel his little feet in my back, pushing on my butt, under my thigh or in my stomach. NOT cool! So, I put forth the effort to get him to stay in his bed. I put the night light on and the lullaby music. He still got up. :( At one point, I believe it was around 332am, I told him that he could watch television in his room, but that he was NOT going to sleep in my bed. I put on Wonder Pets and headed back to bed. He fell asleep within 10 min. By then, I was struggling to sleep. I got up and turned off his tv, only for him to come try and get in my bed again around 5am. I took off my shirt and gave him my sheet thinking that it might work like when he was a baby. Thinking that my smell was all that he needed. :\ I know that this will be worth it, but gosh I am EXHAUSTED! I went to the gym after work and got in some good cardio. I was just about to go down and start looking at the machines when I got a call that Justice was being a little turd and I needed to come tend to him. I decided that was my queue to get myself and my child and go home. We were both tired and needed sleep, so why the heck not. I stopped at the smoothie bar in the gym and got a shot of wheat grass and a meal replacement smoothie. The wheat grass made me gag and the smoothie wasn't as good as the one that the girl made me last week. I was disappointed, but full. I actually got a bout of nausea. I started to gag like I was going to throw up but all that came up was a lot of burping along with almost peeing myself. Graphic I know, but once the burping was done I was good. Off to bed I go! 
Here's the timer I got in my little lunch kit from True Results on Monday. We are frenemies! Thankfully, it HAS helped me to slow down and thus eat less and not have to fight with nausea because of over eating.
 Thursday 6/28/12.  Justice played around enough that he didn't go to bed at a decent hour, but he did manage to sleep half the night in his bed without waking me. I don't know what time he got in my bed (which worries me a little because that means I was THAT tired when normally I am a light sleeper and can hear him if he wakes), but it wasn't until my alarm went off at 7am that I figured out he was in my bed. I really was that tired or he was that slick at getting in my bed. Touche little boy... touche! So, we will try again tonight. The weather is a little iffy so I might skip the gym tonight. I actually don't feel bad about it either. Weird! I got to chat via email with the head of the support group. I love her! Her smile is infectious and her words are always heart felt and full of inspiration. Love to you Betrice! 
     Friday 6/29/12. I didn't make it to the gym last night. I was exhausted and hungry. I didn't get enough protein in and was feeling icky. I tried to talk myself into it, but knew that if I went I wasn't going to do it right. Part of me thinks I should have just gone and done the cardio. The other part of me knows that I needed that night off with nothing more to do than to be at home. I've checked the scale in the morning and again at night since my weigh in on Monday ... I am officially 337. The scale may go up and down a few ounces, but by golly I am down to 337. I am actually excited. Not sure where the weight is coming off from, but that doesn't matter. It is coming off. It is nice that the scale is a reflection of the work I am putting in. Tonight IS a gym night. I really need to get some cardio in as I feel my body yearning for it. I texted BD last night to ask if he was going to get Justice this weekend and he said "I sure am" so not that THAT means a lot since he doesn't follow through, but here's to hoping that Justice gets that time with his brothers. He has been missing them. I can tell when it is time for a hit of brotherly love. 
     Saturday 6/30/12. Well, it was a long night last night. Got Justice's hair cut at the barber then decided to head over to Tiffany's apt. We hung out with all of them until after 11pm and by then we both were exhausted! We got up at a decent time this morning and it was time to gather the laundry and head out. I had to make a few store trips before heading to the laundromat. I put on some capri work out pants I got to, well, workout and they were too loose! Yay for that, but dang it I just bought them like 2 weeks ago! So, I managed to get 3 more capri pants from the store and here's to hoping that these fit for a little longer than a week and well .. here's to hoping that they don't! I decided that since Justice went with his father that I would get everything accomplished that needed to be done. I hadn't really been feeling up to doing the heavy duty cleaning that needed to be done, so I finally wanted to tackle the big stuff. I got all the laundry done and then washed the bath mats. I cleaned the kitchen and started the dishwasher. I got in my room and swept and mopped. I paced between my room and Justice's room (figured that was some exercise) and decided that I was too tired/exhausted mentally and emotionally to do anything more today so, until tomorrow, good night!
     Sunday 7/1/12. OMG! I can't believe it is already July! I miss my baby so much right now. I think the break from him is nice,but then I spend my time wondering what he is doing and well that is counter productive. :( 
I got up bushy tailed and bright eyed this morning and decided to get to work. I started with Justice's closet and then put away the clothes from yesterday's laundry. I decided that I needed to clean out Justice's toys. I then decided that I needed the white shelving out of my closet to go in to his room because the wire cubes weren't cutting it anymore. They are good for the books, but can't really hold the heavy stuff like his light and radio. This, of course, meant that I was going to have to tackle my closet! So I paced some more between the rooms trying to talk myself into this chore. I finally got in my closet and ended up finding things that it was time to get rid of. NICE! I got the shelving unit and cleaned it off and then headed back in to Justice's room. I got rid of the toys that were piece together kind of stuff and then of course the toys that came from meals. I got him organized and got the room ready for a good sweep and mop. Sweeping is already a chore, but gosh mopping isn't for the weak!  I moved everything and it was nice to get that done! I tackled the living room next. Then on to the kitchen and BAM! it was done! It was a tough job. I've got to give it to the stay at home moms. I don't know how you do this! I didn't make it to the gym, but with all the other things I had done, I figured I had burned some calories and stretched quite a bit. I even walked around in my heels for a while. Great calf exercise! 
     Monday 7/2/12.  I feel so rested and ready for the gym today. My baby slept in his new big boy bed all night. Spiderman kept him held down all night! :P (I got him new sheets and a comforter for his new bed while he was at his father's this weekend)Well, I thought I had a session with the trainer today, but it turns out I didn't. I don't believe I would have scheduled the training for tomorrow since it is Zumba day and I am really trying to get in to something other than just going to the gym and getting on the elliptical machine. Grrr! I did, however, get in two really good feeling miles on the elliptical machine and then lounged in the sauna for a bit. It is nice to get to just be in a quiet place and still be there with purpose. 
     Tuesday 7/3/12. Last night was lack luster in the sleep department. Justice woke up at 1am and then 2am and well I laid in his bed for a while then got up and got on the couch and he climbed on top of me like a blanket. We slept there until 5am. I love my kid, but this waking up and having to be right under me is wearing me thin. My temper gets shorter as the days get longer without the right amount of sleep. I feel like I might be burning the stick from both ends right now. I didn't want to go to the gym last night, but made myself go. It felt good once I was there, but I was thinking of a million other things I could be doing instead. Which is why I made myself go. I guess I will be talking myself in to it again today. :(
     Wednesday 7/4/12. All the taking in the world couldn't get me to the gym yesterday. I just wasn't feeling it. Justice and I went to the store then went home. It was nice to be home early. I got us fed and then I was able to start on my DIY shag rug made from t-shirt rags. I didn't get much of anything done today either. I worked on my DIY rug some more and it is going to be awesometastic! No gym again today, but we did get in the pool for a about a hour and 1/2. Hopefully, that will count as something. :|
     Thursday 7/5/12. I am so ready to get back to my elliptical machine. I feel like I have cheated on it by not going to it for two days. I can tell when I haven't worked out, because my body gets achy and I feel sluggish. No matter how tired I am, it is that extra jolt of energy and adrenaline that helps me to push through and get it done. I think it really does help me overall mentally and physically to go to the gym. So, NO MORE EXCUSES. If I start making them now, I will find some reason not to go and then end up just paying the "fat tax" (membership dues) for nothing again. I surely don't want that. Here's to hoping that the rest of today goes smooth and I get that 440pm jolt of energy that I need to get up and get out to the gym!
     Friday 7/6/12.  I made it to the gym last night. Whew! I needed it! I can tell when I get on my beloved elliptical after not doing it for two days. A pain in my rear .. LITERALLY! I did two different elliptical machines and then some cool down on the treadmill. Got in the sauna and was able to chill out before heading home. LOL at that oxymoron. I just made myself snort. Silly me.  I have a few errands to run today, so no gym tonight, but up and at it in the morning so that I make sure I get my workout in! 
     Saturday and Sunday 7/7-7/8/12. Lazy days. No gym. :(  I really couldn't get my stuff together to get to the gym. I got up early and made Justice pancakes and made me eggs and bacon. I cleaned the kitchen and got us up and out of the house. We went over to Tiffany's pretty much all day. Got home and we were done for the night. Sunday we got up and I had a headache and a case of the don'ts. Don't want to go anywhere. Don't want to do anything. We even took a late nap. I am not sure I am good at doing nothing. 
     Monday 7/9/12. I got up early and we were headed out the door by 630. I had my second adjustment today. It was a little more uncomfortable than the first fill. Only because, of course, she asked me if I wanted numbing medicine and I said no. Then, she couldn't get the center of the port until she was moving the needle a little more than my liking. Finally, the needle hit the rubbery part of the port and I got filled to 3.0. It doesn't really seem like a lot, but I can certainly tell the difference. I started 1.0 and when I went for my first fill there was only .8 in there. So my first fill only got me to 1.8cc. She went ahead and gave me 1.2 on the second fill so that I could be an even 3.0cc. I am trying to pay attention to see how often I am getting hungry. It was every other hour and then after the first fill every 2-3 hours. Now, I just have to see how it is going. I am seeing results and that is what is most important.  Oh yeah, and I got on their scale and it said 333.8 lbs. I was all "WOAH!" because my scale says a higher number. AND I had on my 2# of jeans! So, now that I can see the number on the scale going down, it is a little more confirmation that things are headed in the right direction. I knew, of course, that I was losing weight since I can't fit in my loose jeans anymore and my tight jeans aren't tight anymore. Gosh this feels so good! I am absolutely glowing! Tonight is gym night. NO excuses. I need that boost of endorphins. 
    Tuesday 7/10/12. Gym was good. Sauna was even better. Having a case of the don'ts this week. I've also had a bit of gas and not sure if this is because I am swallowing more air and because of the band it is luck of the draw on whether or not I can burp. The pressure of the gas is like having pms cramps. I don't make it a habit of farting in public so I know it can't be good that I just hold it in. Graphic I know, but this is new for me too. :(  Tonight is gym again, but my back is starting to hurt and I don't know if it is from the new shoes I just got or what. I can't imagine that new shoes would be the cause, but my back wasn't hurting before I started wearing them. My feet on the other hand were hurting. Ugh. I feel like I am falling apart. 
     Wed-Thurs. 7/11-7/12/12. I've been having back pain for two days. I don't get it. Between the back ache and the gas cramps I am one miserable girl. I've tried stretching and walking and more stretching. I took off these two days to try and give my back some off time. I feel like I am in a slump right now. I am so ready to start feeling like perky happy again! 
     Friday 7/13/12. Today is my baby sister's birthday! Happy Birthday Ash! I went this morning to Justice's last swim lesson for the session and it was too cute. I can't believe all the stuff I miss when I am at work. The kids were really cute doing their lesson. I won't be going to the gym yet again tonight. I want to spend some time with my sister before she goes out tonight with her friends. It IS her birthday after all! Maybe just maybe I'll get my second wind and just change clothes when I get home and then head on to the gym and get my cardio in. Tomorrow is a busy day for us. A baby shower, benefit and family dinner are all packed in to my day tomorrow. Don't know how I am going to get it done, but it sounds like an awful lot of pretending to eat at these functions. I will behave! 
     Sat and Sun 7/14-7/15/12. With Ashley home on Saturday morning, I was able to get up early and head to the gym. I was there at 730. It doesn't open until 8am. :\ Lesson learned. I went to Babies R Us for a gift for a friend. Her baby shower is all the way in Webster, but we will make that trip since I've not seen her in so long. I got home and my aunt showed up with some plates from the benefit that my other aunt was throwing. So here goes some more food. I went to the baby shower and it was at a restaurant. Food again. Thankfully, I know better! One slice from a quesadilla and I was stuffed. Justice started acting unruly, so it was time to leave. He hadn't had his nap and that always puts me in mommy mode to save us both from frustration. He took a nap on the way home for the 45 minute ride. It was quite peaceful and it was just enough nap to gear him up for the next thing. We met up with my aunt at Los Cucos. MORE FOOD! I see this is truly a test of my will here. I ordered nachos. I tried to eat with them, but found myself in an overfull and not chewing enough place. Again,lesson learned. I made it through my first outings with food since the surgery and while I did overdo it a bit at the last function, I was proud of myself for taking the challenges of the day head on. Food used to be a good way to make it through a function, now good conversation is the way. It is nice to have the change up! Sunday was our lazy day until we went to meet up with Tiffany. We didn't get home until way late which made for grumpy mommy and boy for Monday.
     Monday 7/16/12. Just call us the grumps! We didn't get home until 1045 and in bed by 11pm. Rough stuff! I didn't sleep well at all. I tossed and turned and woke up all through the night. Not good. Gym was in the forecast, but then again so was rain and well the rain won. I decided not to go to the gym and not feel bad about it. Tomorrow will be a better day and I WILL get back it again. I fear I might be getting burned out on the gym. Too much of a good thing can be bad? I think I just need to reassess my motivation. I am lacking. UGH!
     Tuesday 7/17/12. Well, you didn't have to tell me and Justice to go to bed twice last night. We were in the bed and out by 9pm. I love nights like that! I feel like there is so much to get done, but in the end, if I don't take the time to rest well then I will be too tired to get the next day's objectives accomplished. I made it to the gym! WOOHOO! It felt good to get back at it. I was going to just do my cardio on the elliptical machine, but then realized that it was Zumba night. YES! I hadn't done a complete Zumba class, so I was going to get it done tonight. I did a warm up on the elliptical and then headed in to the room to stretch. The last time I tried to do the Zumba I was so sore from working with Demonte that I was hurting doing all the thigh movements. I bowed out. This time I stayed. I almost gave up a few times. I even told myself "I can't do this", but then I stayed and adjusted and did it anyway. The point was that I just needed to get out of my own head and just get it done. It didn't matter what I looked like or if I was doing it just like the instructor. What mattered was the fact that I didn't give up. As long as I kept moving and tried, I won the battle against myself. YAY!

     Wednesday 07/18/12. Looking forward to the gym again tonight. I am going to set up to work with another trainer. A girl this time. She works out with you. I want to see if this is the way to go. While I like working out with Demonte, I think changing it up a bit would benefit me. I want to look forward to working out. I want to work the machines and do it with purpose. This will happen! 
     Thursday 07/19/12. Best laid plans just don't work out do they? I haven't been feeling like going to the gym. I don't know why I have a case of the don'ts. It really is frustrating because here I am again being my own worst enemy. Mind you, now food isn't the problem since I can't feed myself that much anymore, but still I find myself slacking. Well, honestly, what is slacking? I am getting in the gym a few times a week. I am working my tail off when I am there and I know that I am working it. Yet, when I don't get to the gym, I feel like I am letting myself down. I feel like my own expectations on myself are higher than anyone could have ever put on me and I am lacking in the motivation department. No gym tonight. But, will get in the pool with Justice. 
     Friday 07/20/12. Pool was fun. Justice has learned to float and some what swim under water. So I guess swimming lessons were a success. I have training tonight with Demonte, so I am geared up for that. I know that slacking off will have me sore working out with him, but I was so ready for today to be here. :D
     Saturday and Sunday 07/21-07/22/12. The weekend was lackluster. Saturday was spent crafting. The baby shower for my nephew is next weekend and I have been a busy little bee making things for it. I stayed up way too late Friday night cutting out the pieces and then Saturday morning early gluing the pieces. Sunday was spent washing and drying and then we went swimming again. I am finding it harder and harder to get to the gym on Saturday with Justice home. I suppose we could get there when they open or shortly thereafter, but he wouldn't really have anyone to play with at 8am. This finding balance in my life with all that we have going on is a real pain in the butt. :\
     Monday 07/23/12. I went for my 3rd fill this morning. I was hoping to get Ida, but instead I got the girl that did my first fill. She doesn't really like to give a full 1cc so I am less than thrilled about that. I was looking forward to being closer to the green zone so that I don't have the hunger. Not that I want to starve, but I don't want to have the hunger between meals like I am still having. I do notice that when I eat, I am eating less, but the time that the food lasts still isn't that long. Last weigh in I was 333.8. This time I was 330.8. A little disappointing since the previous weigh in was a 7 lb loss. This time only 3. I have to look at it again and realize that you know what .. it was 3 lbs. This is good and any loss is better than no loss. I didn't do the work, so I couldn't expect the results to just happen.  I am not feeling defeated, but I am a little weary. Not sure why I have the up and down feelings with the emotions. Not sure why I still have this love/hate relationship with food. I haven't been in contact with my friends either in the last week or so, so I know that is an underlying reason for my woe is me feeling. :( I'd love to say that I am this perky happy person all the time, but nope. Not so much. I say that with a tired smile today. Maybe I just need a hug. 
     Tuesday 07/24/12. I, yet again, won't be going to the gym. Frustrating to say the least. I have some more things to do for the baby shower tonight with my aunt, so no gym. Zumba is tonight and while I don't quite make it the entire time, I didn't give up last time. It would be nice to get in there and work it out. I know that shaking my jelly and being sore from working out always makes me feel better. I am considering trying another group workout. Maybe the stair step, just that my ankle still isn't 100 since I sprained it really badly. I am ready for motivation to find me again!! Hello?? Where are you?? Please find me.. k thx. 

     Wednesday 07/25/12-Friday 07/27/12. Nothing really spectacular happening. I am not sure I like this feeling of everything getting stuck. This is the first time in my fills that I feel the food in my throat after I have eaten. I feel pressure. I feel .. ugh.  I think I got used to being able to eat and drink at the same time and to re-train myself has been a chore. Getting to the gym these days are far and few between. I have a baby shower that I am helping to throw for my nephew and his girlfriend on Saturday and crafting has been the chore daily. I have been able to get in the pool with Justice so that I am getting some exercise,but nothing like I have been used to getting. I fear that the next fill and weigh in won't be all that great. I am ready for the negative Nelly feelings to leave, because I was getting fond of perky Amber. 
     Saturday 07/28/12. So today was the baby shower. It went great. Everyone loved the decorations that I made. I ate two cupcakes. OMG the icing was soooo good. But, struggling to get the cupcake down wasn't fun. Still working on the getting food down thing. I really don't want to go back to soups and what they call "easy" foods. They aren't really nutritional and well, I am still in my funk :( 
     Sunday 07/29/12. My baby came home from his dad's house this morning and that is always good. I am working on this control freak problem I have. It seems that if I don't have control over all my situations, then I feel out of control. I haven't yet figured out if the depression meds are working against me or not. My therapist told me that the one that I switched to after being on Zoloft is okay, but that it could increase my appetite. Just what I need huh?!?! Grrr. Still, I want to be able to feel again. It was rough on me being in a drug induced fog of Zoloft and feeling like crying because I miss my mom and my sister. The feeling hasn't gone away, but I think as time goes on, I handle it better. I miss them each and every day. I wish I could hear my mom's voice, feel her hand as she rubs my hair and scratches my head to make me feel better. I wish I could hear my sister's laugh and have her hug my son. I missed her at the baby shower yesterday. Her presence was missed, but I know that she was there. I felt them both there. I know that the funk I have been in has been me swallowing my emotions leading up to the baby shower. My sister would have been the bestest grandmother ever. This baby will never know her and that makes me sad. My mom would be a great grandmother. Woah, she would be a great mimi. LOL. I would have told her "dang, mom. you are getting old!" She probably would have slapped me upside the head for that. My sister is my best friend and my mom, well she is my hero. I love and miss them both so much. It is days like this that I wish I could curl up on the couch with a plate full of mexican food and just eat until I felt better. :( Now if I do that, food can and will hurt me. Maybe, then I just need a hug. 
     Monday 07/30/12. Yesterday was rough. It is hard because I don't often let myself feel those emotions. I feel like a cry baby and wonder if I am ever going to grow up. Yet, why isn't it okay to cry when you miss someone. When your heart is broken by the loss of loved ones, when is it not okay to let yourself grieve? Let me tell you. It is always okay. If I was curled up in a ball on my bed, then it wouldn't be okay. If I was still crying every day without being able to do anything but cry, then it wouldn't be okay. Okay is a relative term. What is okay for one person might not be for another. Another thing, no one and I MEAN no one grieves like another. And gosh darn it, if I want to remember my mom and sister instead of trying to remember one day down the road what they did or how they acted, how they sound and how they made me feel, then that is my right. Man, I really want something that will make me feel better right now. No food or drink is going to make me feel better. I think this is just one of those days that letting the feelings out is going to have to be the right choice. No gym tonight. Justice had his first day at the new daycare today. We will go swimming and head to bed early so we can get in a good rhythm. 
     Tuedsay 07/31/12. Tonight is the monthly meeting for True Results. I am actually looking forward to tonight. Tiffany is supposed to come with me and Alberto said he would be coming as well. To be surrounded by like minded people with the same goal to get healthy is a great thing. So, yup, you guessed it ... No gym tonight because the meeting is from 6pm til. This not getting to the gym is becoming a trend that I am going to fix fast and in a hurry. I have started a rewards and punishment program with Justice. I might just have to start implementing it on myself. I will set a punishment of no tv time if I don't get to the gym and reward myself with a manicure or pedicure if I can go to the gym 3 times a week for two weeks. Both if I can make it 5 times a week for two weeks. Goals! I've got to turn this frown upside down and get back at it!
This was at a birthday party on Saturday 08/4/12

     Monday, August 6th.   I took off some days from writing and going to the gym. I felt it mundane to write when I wasn't motivating myself or anyone else to get to the gym or to move and shake that booty! The meeting on Tuesday night was great. While I didn't get to the gym, I did get to be around like minded people and I got to voice some concerns and see where others were and just catch up. It is a bond that only other banded women would have with me I think. No judgments or feelings of not being worthy among women who have been there and done that. We even had a few new girls at the meeting. A few that hadn't even had the surgery yet, so I am in hopes that they will come back to the meetings and that the group will grow. I am lacking in my feeling of purpose right now. I don't know why I am struggling with the lack of motivation. It has been an emotional couple of weeks and it seems as the closer it comes to my great nephew being here, I am struggling with my emotions about it. I am missing my sister and my mom. I have been having dreams where I see their faces and it just reminds me that they are still with me. Still, the void is there and the hurt is less but not gone.  I didn't go to the gym at all last week. On Saturday we got up early and picked up my dad and headed out for the lake. We went fishing (caught one non-keeper catfish) and then headed home. I got Justice down for a nap and then got our stuff together to head to a birthday party. I thought I was doing good with my eating, but I got to the party and I had nachos and a hot dog. I had a cupcake and then later I had some chips and soda. Sunday I got up and got the laundry together and then Justice and I headed to wash clothes and the bed linens. By the time we were done, it was time for lunch. We went to Mi Sombrero and I got the taco plate and a horchata drink. I was so thirsty and I finished all the drink. Ate two tacos and an ice cream cone. That was the most I'd been able to eat in two weeks. I took the other taco and the rice and beans home. I gave Justice the rice, beans and left over queso for dinner with nacho chips. I had my last taco. I had a feeling that I wasn't going to like the scale this morning. I got on and I was at 331.6 lbs. Two weeks ago I was 330.6lbs.  I gained a pound. WTF! Being that I didn't lose any weight on my own with just watching what I was eating, she decided I should come back in two weeks for another fill. I am back to the gym starting today. I feel like I got stuck in cement and it is time to get moving again. I think I made gym like a chore and then it became unappealing. I really want to do the work and see the benefits. I am ready for the changes that are to come. It is time to get out of my own way again!!!!!
     Tuesday, 08/07/12. So, no gym last night. I got my fill and was "sore" so to speak. Not to mention that I have been exhausted lately. I am not sure what is giving me the funk, but I am betting it is this blasted thyroid funking over me. Gym tonight. Zumba! Seems I get excited when all I have to do is follow along and a hour later I have done my cardio and strength training all in one! Seems I may need to evaluate this again! 
After Zumba! Whew it was so worth it!
     Wednesday, 08/08/12. Zumba was great. I actually have gotten more comfortable, thus doing more of the jumping and pushing myself to do more of the movements. I totally feel better after I have been in class and then go sit in the sauna for about 20 minutes. I have noticed that if I don't go do my sitting in the sauna, then I am really really sore the next day. So, at least I am learning what helps and what works. I am sore today. Tired. Shakey. I think it is because I am not eating right. Not hungry then suddenly starving, but when I eat, if I don't chew the bite to mush, then I am slimeing for a good 30 minutes. This is NOT what I signed up for. :( Work in progress Amber .. work in progress. 

     Thursday, 08/09/12. No gym last night. I said I wanted to go to the gym then didn't feel up to it. I said I wanted to go swimming, but it was bloody hot. I said I wanted to clean the apartment, but all I actually got done was cooking dinner. Then Justice didn't want to eat it. I cried. I cried a lot. Not because he didn't want to eat the food, but because I feel very frustrated. I don't feel like me anymore. I am not sure why I feel lost. I feel like I am having an outer body experience and I feel like I am just this being looking out through my eyes. While I am making these changes to the outside, I have been trying to continue to work on my inside and self worth. My defense mechanism is to push everyone away. To withdraw and to be alone. Yet, I am lonely. Sex doesn't have the same appeal. I should feel sexier, yet I think I am more self conscious now than I was 30lbs ago. I miss companionship. Not sex. Just someone to listen or just be there. Not try to "fix" my emotions or change me physically. Just someone to be there. I am not sure that I have evolved with the outer changes and it makes me sad. I feel like a prisoner to my body due to my emotions and mentality surrounding the weight and the food that I can no longer look to for comfort. Eating my emotions is no longer possible as it hurts. PHYSICALLY hurts. Can't make me feel better if it hurts me literally. :( So, what is a fat girl to do? Cry. Just. That. Simple. Cry. I must have needed that cry, because all I could do last night was sit on the chair and watch tv and cry. Nothing sad on tv. Just cry. Not that deep hurting cry that was surrounding the grieving for my mom and sister. Just a good old fashion, I need a hug and I feel lonely kind of cry. Then I just want an ice cream to make me feel better because I am craving something sweet kind of cry. The I feel hungry, but I could be thirsty, but I don't have any more crystal light and there is no more juice in the house kind of cry. I cry that might have come from a feeling of hopelessness, but then I realized that all that I am feeling is tiny. In the big picture of it all, all that I am feeling is nothing compared to what I have had to endure and to overcome to get to where I am now. This will not break me. The regret is simply an emotion wrapped around me having to deal with my emotions instead of swallowing them. The regret will not be me giving up, but me finding a renewal of motivation and asking for help. Pride has too long been my foe and asking for help isn't admitting weakness, but showing strength and courage to show vulnerability and accept that you need help. I don't ask for a hand out, but I ask for a hand up. Lift me up when I am down. Encourage don't enable. Motivate don't beat down. Listen. Just listen. Don't try to fix. Just be there. 

one day ... SOON!

most recent full body shot .. 25 lbs down
after zumba and still smiling!

sweat does this body good!

trainer + zumba + sauna = tired but feeling great!

Me and my Momo

me and the boy and the park .. silly boy .. he gets it from his momma honestly

great work out .. still smiling while at the park lounging in the slide

Zumba .. where even your knees will sweat!
Monday August 20, 2012. So, I haven't been writing as you can tell. I have been struggling a little and I think it is due to my overzealousness and need to "get to the green zone fast" mentality. For the non-banded person, "green zone" is the optimum fill on the lap-band without it being too much or too less. You fill full longer with less food and you don't struggle with the food that you are eating. I thought I was doing good, but for the last week I have hurled. Some things go down better than others, but for the most part I have struggled to eat solid food for the last week. I have managed to get sick and my hope dreams of never being a bulimic are now gone. At first, I couldn't hurl. I could only burp and spit up spit. For the last three days, I have managed to hurl all solid food that I have put in my mouth. Last week I ate some cereal and I got too full and that is when the bad days started. I projectile hurled and it wasn't good. Then for two days I was sore where my band and my port are. I then eased back into food on Friday and it seemed fine. But, after breakfast it all went down hill. I walked around IKEA with napkins in my hand as I was spitting up for damn near 3 hours while we were there. I wasn't going to let this beat me. So I did go to the bathroom to see if I could get whatever was making me have the nausea up, but no such luck. I was spitting up thick saliva and foam. It was gross. I apologize that I have now grossed you out too. This isn't the pretty side of the lap-band experience. :( 
I went to the gym on Monday of last week and tried the Step Class and it was hard. I lasted all of 15 minutes, but I gave it the good ole college try. I then decided that I would just do my cardio and sauna time. Tuesday I went to the gym and did Zumba. OMG I am in love with Mr. B and his Zumba class. I have fun and I get lost in the hour I am in there.  Wednesday was my gym day off and I went to my friend's apartment complex and we went swimming with the kids. Thursday I worked out with Kendall (a new trainer for me) and he worked me pretty good. I have noticed that working out is getting easier. I guess I am building up endurance against the madness they are calling my training. I finished with Kendall and then tried the other Zumba class and stayed for a few songs. It wasn't the same as Mr. B's class, so I opted to just go and do some more cardio and then sauna. Friday was workout with Demont day. :D It felt good to get back to the "routine" of working with someone I know and I noticed that my griping and arguing and trying to get out of doing certain exercises was lessened. That is always a good sign. I even ran the stairs before he told me to. It was nice to be able to get up and down those stairs without losing my breath like I was when I first started working with Demont. It is the little things that I am so grateful for. The hard part is not eating well or right (whichever you want to word it) and not having the energy to put in 110% while working out. I get my second wind when I am there at the gym, but then the next day while at work I am completely zonked! Something has got to give and hopefully soon so it isn't my sanity!!!!!  I got light headed while I was working out with Demont on Friday and I know it was because I wasn't able to eat much on Friday. I have been trying to get in more water, but that seems laborous. Not that it won't go down, but it seems more of a chore than something that is doing my body good. This might just be mind over matter. I mind so it matters.  

I tried to eat a tortilla with cheese on it on Saturday and that is what made my world sad. I was hocking up tortilla for 3 hours. Between the tortilla and the spit, I just wanted to lay down and die. Yesterday, I thought I was doing better so I wanted an artichoke. There isn't much to an artichoke for those that don't know. I ate a few bites off the outer leaves and I was done for. I started to gag and hurl and it wasn't good. Made me sad actually. Not like I was trying to eat pizza or something else that wasn't good for me. I was trying to eat a GREEN VEGGIE! GRRRR!!! So today, all I have had is coffee. 1 1/2 cups of coffee and I feel it in my chest. I would say throat, but it is a little deeper than that. I feel like there is something there and it doesn't feel good. I've been able to burp, but it still feels like something is in there making me have some nausea. GROSS! Lord give me the strength to hold out until 2pm so I can head to True Results and get this fixed! It is already 1230pm, so not much longer.  
I am sad. It is hurtful that food isn't good to me anymore. I don't want to eat what I am not supposed to. Honestly, I don't. I just want to be able to eat PERIOD!  :( Will update later! 
So, it is later. I was weak and the nausea was still in place when I talked to the nurse. Took an xray with the nasty chalk drink and stuff was moving through the band find. I apparently had just pissed off my stomach and said band. So, to help me eat and help the band/stomach get better, she took out .5cc. I am back at 3.5cc. I cried like a baby in anticipation. I feel depressed about it a little. I lost another 4lbs, but at what cost? I am starving, working hard at the gym and yet starving and feeling weak like I want to pass out when I get light headed from lack of sustenance in my body. No fuel = bad for working out and well actually functioning. In the big picture I get that I needed this step back in order to move forward, but it still hurt my core. I am emotional over the addition of my great nephew today. I miss my sister today as well. Today makes 2 year and 5 months since my sister passed. Today I mourn her and yet smile when I get to see that precious sweet baby boy that is my great nephew. He will never know his grandma Katherine. She would probably kick my butt for calling her grandma, but in my defense she taught my kid to call her "auntie boobies" .. i'm just saying. It is days like today that I miss my sister and my mom so very much. I yearn for their words and their understanding. I was struggling with being okay with having to have some fluid removed from my band, and my sister would have pep talked me through it. I am working through emotions of my bosses retiring. The boss lady cleaned out her office over the weekend. I cried on Friday when we got the letter stating that the boss man was going to finally really retire. I know change is good and this is harder for them than me, but I feel like I keep losing the people I love. My heart doesn't differentiate the closeness, but just feels loss. My sister just told me that her MeMaw might have cancer. I am uncertain how to feel about this. I was 12 when I met her and she welcomed me into the family like I was her grandchild too. This makes me sad. I know that loss and additions are the way of life, but that doesn't make it any easier for me. As a comfort eater, this makes me want to get some comfort food. Not certain what I would get, but seeing as I am afraid to eat anything that could hurt me, I stick with "sliders". Ice cream seems to be my poison. Well, that and Sunny Delight. OMG. I used to loathe sunny d and now I am addicted. It should come with a warning label. NO LIE! The biggest part of me just wants to be held and told it is going to be okay and that I am not alone. My son is in his bed and I am up writing and playing Farm Town on Facebook. Priorities people! Eh, I was able to drink a Gladiator smoothie from Smoothie King today and eat some air popped popcorn. Yay for that! I finally don't have that "frog in your throat" sensation that has been making me sick for days now. THANK GOD! I go back in a month for a fill. I have an appointment for the nutritionist on Thursday. Apparently, they thought it was a good idea that I get in there to see the nutritionist since I am working out and what not and not really eating or drinking right. Now that I think about it, I am probably my own worst enemy right now. Damn, why does clarity have to come so late after the pain??!?!!!???
   Tuesday 08/21/12. Things are so much better today since I can eat and not be sick. I am feeling more myself and perky even! I still am not eating like I should. I didn't eat breakfast (wasn't hungry) and then for lunch I had a salad from Jason's Deli. I really need to get where I am cooking at night or cooking for a few days so that I have food here at the office and I don't skip eating! I got a Refresh Tea from Starbucks. Makes my heart feel super happy! I am gearing up for Zumba tonight! I am actually stoked about getting in there. I think Zumba might be in my blood! Well, this class with this teacher at least. Good times! Yay for feeling better and feeling motivated to get moving! 

   Friday 08/24/12. So, I've decided that when I have nothing new to add to my story, I find the best pictures that say it all! Motivation and laughter. The best medicine out there.  In other news, I went to the gym last night for training and wow I am sore today. I ran the stairs thinking that he was going to have me warming up doing that and well .. nope. He had me go get on the treadmill for "sprints". I gave him this look like wth and he was all "just do it" and I was all "I can't make this thing move" and he was all "if you use less energy griping and more energy just trying then you will get it done" and I was all "I don't like you" and he was all "I know. You love me!" .. true story. UGH!
   Sat-Sun 08/25-08/26/12. I got to meet the most handsome boy ever! My great nephew Brayden. 
He is the newest addition to the family and I love him! 
    Monday 08/27/12. I have been in a little bit of a funk lately. Too much change messes with my perk and functionality it appears. 
    Tuesday - Thursday 08/28-08/30/12. I wish I could say that I have been doing all these wonderful things in my progress in my lap-band journey, but I haven't. I have hit a lull and it is really starting to get to me. I went to get a fill since they took out .5cc last visit. I was hungry every hour on the hour. I gained 4lbs back! WTF!?!? So, they reluctantly put back in .5cc (only reluctant because they really want you to wait 2 weeks and it had only been 10 days). The nurse was giving me the blues the entire visit. She couldn't find the port and finally decided to let someone else try. She came in and finally got it, but it wasn't fun. Can't say that I want to go back before 4 weeks is up if the visits are going to be like this one. It was a long visit in the middle of the day and it seemed like everything took longer. Grrr. Then, the very next day I started feeling crappy. I woke up not really feeling well, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Thursday, I woke up with a sore throat and felt a little under the weather. By 1pm I was ready to bolt and I went home and went to bed. I woke up and called the doctor's office and headed out the door. Strep throat folks! Figures. My kid has only been in daycare for 3 wks and I am the one that got sick. Better me than him in this case. They didn't have the shot, so I got stuck with liquid penicillian because of the band. It was gross and it was to be taken every 12 hours. 
   Friday 08/31/12. I took Justice to the pediatrician since I was confirmed with strep and he was acting like he didn't really feel good either. So hard to gauge with kiddos when they truly have virus or an illness that requires medicine. So, we get there and it is the same old "he has a virus and it will pass in a week or two. no need for medicine." While I appreciate the fact that my kid didn't have strep, it was sort of redundant to go and pay the copay and then have Justice for the rest of the day while I was suffering sick with fever. I love my kid, but when I am THAT sick, boy oh boy I need Calgon to come and take me away. My throat was starting to hurt more and the fever STILL hadn't broke!
     Saturday 09/01/12. I woke up feeling worse than ever. Justice fought me until midnight because I wanted him in his own bed so he wasn't around my germs. I was exhausted. Not really sleeping because of the pain of swallowing and the tonsils being so swollen. Justice woke up and started wanting to be clingy right away. Mind you, he had managed to get in my bed at some point in the night at which point I got up and moved to the couch. I digress. I was sitting on the chair sipping on hot tea with honey and he was just trying to hug me and I started crying. He started crying. I was a weary mommy. I called my aunt and she came right over. It was then that my other aunt was called and it was decided that I needed to go to an urgent care center since the tonsils were touching and I was having problems breathing when I was trying to rest. Justice ended up at my aunts house and I went to urgent care. Yup, still strep :\, but this time I got the penicillin shot and a liquid pain medicine. I got gatorade, sprite, tea, soup, broth and ice all while I was out so that I could rest for the next day or so. Justice stayed with my aunt and the next day went to my other aunt's house for 1/2 the day and then my dad's house for the other 1/2 and to spend the night. First time he got to spend the night with my dad. First time I have let Justice away from me since my surgery at the end of May and that was the first time that he had spent that many days away from me. I missed my baby. I can't see my life without my child. He makes my heart swoon. 
    Sunday 9/2 thru Tuesday 09/4/12. I spent these two days sleeping. Nothing more and nothing less. I did make a paper rose wreath. I will post pictures later. I decided that too much television was too much for me, besides it was causing me to get a headache so just a little crafting was in order. I am kind of sad that I didn't get to celebrate Labor Day and really have a great 3 day weekend with my son. Life sure has a way of telling you to just STOP and rest. 
Justice is gearing up for Pre-K and Ashley (baby sister) is starting her FINAL semester at college. I can't believe my baby sister is a senior and going to be graduating! This truly is bittersweet.  I am so happy and then part of me is so sad that my mom and older sister aren't here for these milestones. It makes me really really sad actually. I've spent quite a bit of time reflecting back. I know that they both would want me to be happy and keep pushing forward, but that doesn't take away the feeling of necessity to stop and cry. It seems like time is just flying by now and what do I have to show for it? I write and here lately I have felt a void. It was the gearing up of the arrival of Brayden that had me on edge. Now with my babies going to school it is hitting home again. My mom's birthday is coming up and that is causing my heart some hurt. While I remember her happily, I miss her terribly.
    Wednesday 09/05/12. Happy Birthday to my mommy! RIP Patricia Schoen Smith. 
This is a bittersweet time for me today. I am missing her, yet so happy that she is no longer in pain. I still struggle with the fact that I was the one that had to make the decision to take her off life support. I know that I did all that I could to make the right decisions for her, but that doesn't take away from the void that is now left in my heart. I miss her voice. I miss her singing. I miss the way she used to rub my head when I didn't feel good. I miss the way that she loved my son. I miss it all and hope that I never forget as the time passes. 
    Justice came home with homework. I was all, "and so it begins" ... man! 
His homework folder

we don't have pets, but he drew a fish anyway 

his two different tennis shoes, grapes, football, basketball, baseball 

he drew these on the back of the page, but his black shoes with orange bottoms and some grapes are his favorite things
grapes, carrots, cherries
I am such a proud momma. He did all his homework by himself. We just discussed what he was going to draw and he did the rest! 
     Thursday 09/06/12. In other news, I am still on the mend. I haven't wanted to go and put myself in the germs of the gym, but I so want to get in there and work out. I am finally starting to feel physically capable of doing some working out. I am hoping that tomorrow will be the day that I can get back in that bad boy and do some damage! I am still maintaining the same weight loss at 30lbs, but I am so ready for the scale to budge and go down more. I know that once I get back in the gym and back on the protein shakes and vitamins that things will pan out. It has just taken me a few days, oh shit, who am I kidding, it has taken me a damn month, to get back into the stage of want to. I am my own worst enemy, but this funk has got to lift! 
     Friday 09/07/12. Well, still the same old same old. Work has been busy and I have been just as equally busy trying to get my stuff in order for me to start my last two classes for my associates degree. It seems like a long time coming, but with all the breaks I took, I will be glad to have this first degree accomplished and finally say that I finished something since high school. This is for me and so that I can show Justice down the road. I will then take a look at what all is in order to get a bachelor's degree, but at this point, I need to keep the goals more manageable and feasible.  I will start back at the gym next week. I can't even wrap my head around getting there right now. I really loathe that it seems like I don't want to go, I just don't have the energy to do it. :(  
"Mi Sombrero" is what he was saying here as he was enjoying his queso and chips!

Chicken nuggets, rice and beans, queso .. this is the life!

Tommy's Tacos .. just 1 taco and I am done, but it is so good!

We went to Fiesta after dinner and he decided to read the ad and tell me what we needed. 

     Saturday and Sunday 09/08-09/10/12. So, Justice and I got up early and we went to get my hair done. I needed to get my highlights refreshed and get a trim. I am really digging the newest look and since I don't do much else for me, I decided not to feel bad about spending the money on me and my hair. We went to Chuck E Cheese after that and had a blast. It was a just because kind of trip. Justice had a great week at school and I was glad he was a good boy while I got my hair done. So it was a treat for us both! 
Here is the touch up picture .. lack of makeup but I am loving the hair!
He decided to have fun with the perm curlers. My silly boy was quite entertaining!

Our trip to Chuck E Cheese. All smiles and silliness! 
It was rather quiet in the back seat .. I turned around to see him like this. LOL
After a much needed long nap, we were supposed to go to a birthday party. We slept 4 hours and missed the party, so when we got up, I decided we would go and visit with my great nephew Brayden, his momma Hallie and my nephew Michael.  We had a great time and I got to hold that sweet baby boy the entire time I was there!
Brayden - 3 weeks old!

    Monday 09/10/12. I got to work and had a little bit of a headache. I am not sure why exactly. We had a pretty good day yesterday. We went to Walmart so I could get a food scale, Sam's Club so I could get the protein shakes and protein bars so I could get back on the preoperative diet as per the nutritionist's instructions and then we headed to go see my Momo for grandparent's day.  I got her some flowers and a card from me and one from Justice. She enjoyed them. We were going to go by my dad's house and drop him off a card and let Justice visit, but alas it was yet again time for Justice to have a nap. I can tell at the point of melt down that it is time for that boy to get in a snooze. We went back home and I got the laundry in the dryer (I washed the clothes before we left for the stores.) I got Justice to lay down and then after I got the clothes out of the dryer, I laid down with him for a hour. It was nice to just lay there and rest. I got a phone call and it was time to get up and head over to a birthday party for my friend Tiffany's daughter. We got there and Tiffany had made crawfish bisque. OMG it was so good. Justice had rice with cut up hot dog in it. I was able to eat the crawfish bisque and rice without hesitation and after a bowl I was full and happy. We had a good time visiting. We went home and ended our night like most nights where we get ready for the next day of school. So, maybe it was a little too much action for me and that is why I had a headache. I actually had to take something for the headache and I haven't had to do that in a while. I ate a cobb salad from Antoine's for lunch and then did a protein bar later towards the time to head to get Justice and head home. I made hamburger meat patties, fresh green beans and mashed potatoes for dinner. I got in a few bites of meat and two bites of mashed potatoes and I was done. It is interesting to say the least when it comes to seeing what I can and can't eat. How much of this works for me while how much of that doesn't!  I am learning and that is what is most important. This is a process and the curve, well there isn't a learning curve really. It just comes down to measuring your food and listening to your body. 

Tuesday 09/11/12.  Day 2 of drinking the protein shakes and eating the protein bars. I am not sure that I have enough "fill" in the band in order to be successful at this. I feel hungry and I am not sure if it is mind over matter when it comes to this sensation of hunger. When I think I am hungry the first thing I do is drink some water or gatorade. Then I look at the clock. I start to do the math and figure out if I should be hungry. What kind of mess is that?!!? At some point, I hope this becomes second nature to me and I am able to function without the second guessing of myself and my hunger. Part of me still doesn't understand how I am supposed to function much less work out when I am not eating but once a day. I am getting the protein from the protein bar and the protein shake. 30 grams of protein per shake and per bar. So, you figure that should be enough. Part of me wants to chew on something. Maybe I need to invest in some beef jerky. That would give me protein and give me something to naw on for a while. I don't know what the answer is, but you best believe I will be asking when I go back to the doctor on the 20th for my next adjustment. 
        Wednesday 09/12/12. So, last night was Zumba and I was less than excited to be at the gym. It is hard to get back in the groove when you have been out of it for a couple of weeks. Now I know why I struggle with keeping at it. Taking a break, while it sounds good because of sheer exhaustion, it really isn't what is best. I seem to lose my way and get lost in my mundane when I don't include that hour or two of time to myself to work on my mind, body and soul at the gym. I have to remember that this is for me and it helps me. Even when I don't feel like going, I really need to push through the lack luster thoughts and just go. Once I was in there for the Zumba class my attitude changed. I was excited to be in there. The teacher, Mr. B, asked how I was doing and where I had been for a couple of weeks. It was nice to know that he remembered me and was concerned since I had made myself a regular in his Tuesday night class. While I still can't quite keep up with ALL of the dances and movements, I have found that the more I do it, the better stamina I gain and the more I am able to keep up and move along.  I tend to go a little low key when it comes to the bouncing and jumping in the class, but as long as I keep moving and do most of the steps and movements, I seem to do just fine. I feel so revived and refreshed after the class. You would think that it would be the total opposite, but even being tired from working out is different than being tired from just being.  Not sure that I explained that very well, but I do so try to make it sound good huh?!?!  No gym tonight. Last night during class I felt a tightness in my chest. One that I haven't felt in a long time. It was my asthma acting up. I started coughing towards the end of class and then couldn't stop until I got to the car and took a few puffs off my inhaler. I hadn't had to do that in so long that it felt weird and scared me a little bit. It was an annoyingly constant cough that was just from breathing. It sucks when you can't just breathe. It really sucked because Mr. B was asked to teach a class at 7pm right after the normal 545pm Zumba class. I so wanted to do another hour of Zumba, but that coughing just wouldn't quiet. Figured it was a sign that I needed to NOT over do my first night back at the gym since having Strep for a week and a half. Oh well, I hope that I can get back in the groove of going to the gym at least 3 days a week. 
     Thursday 09/13/12 - Wednesday 09/19/12. Recap! I haven't been blogging like I was and honestly I think it is because I haven't been doing much of anything like I was. Not sure that what I was doing before was "right", but this doesn't really feel "right" either. Still trying to find that balance and get in the groove of things. No one said it was going to be easy. No one said the Lap-Band was a fix. Actually, I was told that this was just a tool and that I was going to have to put in the work to get to where I wanted/needed/desired to be in my weight loss journey. It really is just that ... a journey. Nothing given and everything not to be taken for granted. I am blessed that I am no longer diabetic, but I say that with caution as I still have the predisposition for it and well, once you are diabetic, you are always a diabetic, just, well in remission I suppose. I recently gave a metaphor to a friend of mine. He didn't understand when I was explaining about fat cells. So, I explained to give him the visual. When you lose weight, the fat cell merely looses its volume, but it doesn't go away. So, think of a fat cell as a large marshmellow. If you hold a marshmellow in your hand and squeeze it down, that in essence is like losing the volume in a fat cell. The marshmellow is still a marshmellow, just smaller. The same is true for a fat cell. You lose the weight by losing the volume in the fat cell. The fat cell is still there just condensed in size.  Best visual I could come up with on the fly, but it sounded good. LOL. 
I struggled a bit for a few days with the asthma. Not sure what was going on, but it seems to be better now. I went and got Ashley from Sam Houston on Friday after work. We went to the museum district day and got into the Science museum for free. Heck yes! I got to meet Deborah Duncan from KHOU channel 11 and then took a picture with the card board Ellen that was there. I <3 her! The dinos were awesome, but the butterfly exhibit (it wasn't free) was even more awesome. I walked in and a butterfly immediately landed on my open hand. It made me tear up for a second and was inspiring.  I didn't get a picture as I wasn't expecting that to happen and we had JUST walked in the exhibit. We then went to get raspas and then home for a nap before a birthday party. We got up and went to this awesome cowbay themed birthday party for my friend's great nephew. This party was beyond cute. Ponies, petting zoo, cutouts for picture taking. Too much for words. It was a really busy and exhausting day, but I figured the 3 hours of walking around the museum was good exercise.  Sunday was more mellow. I had to wash clothes, take Ashley back to school, dry the clothes and gear up for the next week. We got invited to Sunday dinner over at Tiffany's dad's new apartment. It was fun. We sat and played dominoes. The kids played and we just got to relax and have good laughs.  Monday, I was lagging quite a bit. The weekend was so fun packed that resting wasn't in the schedule much and coming back to work and sitting here made the day longer and tired me. I got a headache towards the end of the day, I am still not sure if it is from hunger, lack of sleep or stress, but I need the headaches to go away.  Tuesday I thought I was going to go to the gym, but I stayed up too late the night before and was exhausted. I just don't get why I can't get enough sleep. I am thinking that the sleep apnea problem I had prior to surgery hasn't completely corrected itself and that I might need to go back and rent the machine just so I can make sure that I am sleeping soundly again. Justice and I went to bed early last night. We both didn't get out of bed this morning until 730! That, of course, makes us both late out the door, but it felt good to get some rest. I am struggling to find an apartment or house to rent as my lease is up at the end of October, but I am hopeful and prayerful that things will work out and we will be happy in our new home, wherever that may be. 
He woke up and told me it was 7-5-5 and time to get up and go to the museum

I met Deborah Duncan!

Me and Ellen :D

wore out after 3 hours at the museum!

Raspa Time!

Pony rides, pettings zoo, cut outs oh my!

Cheese momma!

My little cowboy!

Monday morning and he wasn't ready! 

well, hello there! 

How I feel about feeling hungry but not really being hungry

Feeling and looking smart

I got my cards last night!

This is how I look and feel on any given day. Blessed and Thankful
Tuesday 10/2/12. It wasn't until someone pointed out that I hadn't posted in more than a week that I was all WOAH! So, let's catch up!  Last Monday, 9/24/12, I had a training session with a new trainer. My first time with a woman trainer. She didn't do anything hard, but since I am not eating a lot, I was light headed and then she was working my thunder thighs, so walking afterwards was challenging. Working out on Monday put me out of commission for the rest of the week. It wasn't until Friday that I was feeling like I could walk without feeling like I was a toddler just learning to walk again! SMDH! Lunges are NOT my friend. I know the more I do them the less it will hurt, but gosh .. how am I supposed to function if I can't walk without pain or sit and stand without pain caused by those aching thunder thighs?!?!? Tuesday was the premiere of Private Practice and I was beside myself. They killed off a main character and I so wasn't ready for that. Thursday was premiere night for Grey's Anatomy. It was a tear jerk the entire hour! They killed off another major cast member. This time it was more personal for me.  He was on life support and had a directive that said that he didn't want to be on life support more than 30 days. So they went through all the motions of talking about what they were doing and then the other people just sat and waited for him to die.  They left the machines on and so the beeping was going and he was breathing but shallow. This brought me back to where I was 2 years ago standing next to my mom's hospital bed in the ICU and the nurse looked at me for the okay to turn off the machines and then she explained what she was doing. I remember exactly what she said, I remember exactly how I felt and I remember looking up at her with a questioning look on my face as if "is she gone now" and the nurse shook her head in a nod. It was fast. She was taken off life support and didn't take one breath. :( No child should ever have to make that decision. I know I was 32, but damn. I was still HER child! Then to have a television show play back that scene for me was like woah!  I felt every emotion all over again.   
Reason for sharing? Because in the end, I sought out food for comfort. I ate a sandwich and an ice cream. I wasn't hungry I don't think. I just needed some comfort and food used to be it. Not so much anymore. I was harder on myself since I ate the food. I didn't gain anything, but I felt like I lost some progression towards this battle I have with my emotional eating. I've had plenty of time to be emotional. 355 lbs of emotion to be exact. I am ready to move forward and not be pulled back by this want/need/desire of food to soothe my hurt. LORD give me strength! 
Last Tuesday was supposed to be the support meeting. I got a sitter for Justice, got off work 10 minutes early, and made my way in traffic all the way on the other side of town. I got there only to see a note on the door that the meeting had been cancelled. I was bummed and a little hurt at first. Then I went downstairs and there was this woman struggling with her parking ticket and not knowing what to do since it was her first time there for a support meeting. 

I wrote the two people that are over the support meetings in an email. 

Yesterday was quite interesting and I would like to share with you and Ida.

I didn’t make it to the clothing swap last month as I was at home sick with Strep, so I was feeling like I really need a boost of motivation and just overall support from my banded sisters.  I was so looking forward to the meeting. I was even giving up Zumba with my favorite teacher!  I called and got a sitter for Justice so he wouldn’t be a distraction and I set myself to leave work 10 minutes early so I could be there by 6pm with traffic. 
All was set and I was out the door at 450pm.  The traffic was heavy, but not terribly bad as it has been all the other times I’ve travelled to True Results in the afternoon or even morning.  I got on that side of town by 530pm and even had time to stop and get myself something to eat and some water.  I got to the garage and sat in the car talking on the phone to my bestie Tiffany (she came to the meeting when Alberto was there) and I ate and drank my water. It turned out to be a good 25 minute meal and great conversation.  So, I wrapped up the conversation as I headed in to head upstairs. I got upstairs to see the note on the door that the meeting was cancelled.  My first thought was that it would have been nice to get an email since I have been to a few meetings and I thought by now we would have some sort of email notification system in place.  My next thought was being bummed that I wasn’t going to get to see my lovely banded sisters. Lastly, it was the fact that I was going to have to pay parking for a “wasted” trip. 

I called my bestie back and started with “girl, the meeting was cancelled and now I have to pay parking… oh heck no!”  I was waiting at the machine to pay for parking, while still talking on  the phone, and there was this lady that was unsure of how to work the machine and she was upset. She seemed discouraged.  I don’t like to assume anything of anyone, so I didn’t ask her anything until she said “man, this really sucks. THIS is my first time coming to a meeting and just my luck it isn’t happening!!” 
Something in me said to talk to her. She went on to start saying how she had had a few bad experiences of dealing with people and didn’t know about the meetings or she would have come sooner. She went on to talk about how she was feeling really down and discouraged and wanting/needing to talk because she just knew she wasn’t the only one feeling this way.  I felt like she really wanted/needed to talk so I said, “well, we are already here and I have a sitter for my son, do you want to go down to the starbucks and talk?”  I went on to tell her a little of my story and how I had been to a couple of meetings since being banded.  She was so leery of going somewhere there would be food because fast food is her trigger that we just stayed in the parking garage and talked for a hour. She told me her story and I just listened. In the end it was helpful for her to feel like someone was willing to listen and she wasn’t alone. She helped me by getting out of my own story for a while.  

I called Tiffany back once I got on the road and told her how I just felt like I was supposed to talk to this woman.  Tiffany said, “you know that you were meant to talk to that lady tonight  right? That you didn’t go to Zumba and traffic wasn’t that bad and things worked out just so you and that lady could run into each other and talk”  I just shrugged it off, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.

There was one more thing I wanted to share.  This woman said that if it weren’t for Ida, that she would have just quit and not come back. She said that she came in a week ago or so and Ida spent upwards of 30 minutes listening to her and how she completely broke down because she feels unmotivated and often defeated.  I have been there. I was THERE last week. This is a daily battle of my will to push forward and to move forward. I struggle every day with wondering if I am doing this right, within guidelines and why I am working out and feeling lightheaded. Why it feels like I don’t have the energy to do anything more than go to work and go home and sleep.  The lack of motivation is really bringing me down and so when this woman was talking, I empathized with her. I felt exactly where she was and I just offered kind and uplifting words. I gave her my email address and phone number.  I told her how Ida has lifted me up as well along the way and just last week she was encouraging.

THIS is why I wanted to join the True Results team, to be there for someone else.  In case you didn’t know, I joined on as an associate in the Forward Circle program. I just got my business cards, welcome packet and got my email set up.  I have yet to complete a few more steps, but helping that woman yesterday made it feel real and right on time. 

I understand that things happen and that we all have things we have to do on any given night, so my email isn’t about the meeting being cancelled. It is more because I wanted to share so you know how invaluable the meetings are to our success as banded individuals. 

I would like to bounce ideas off anyone who will listen about meeting ideas and content.  I don’t want to step on any toes, I just know what I long for and I see this aftercare program as a vital part of my own journey. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read. 

Best regards,

Then I sent another email after getting a response that there won't be any more cancelled meetings.

I hope that you didn’t take offense to the email. I was just so moved by talking with this woman yesterday and she spoke so nicely of Ida that I wanted to share with the two of you.  It wasn’t a “wasted” trip after all, since I ended up connecting with this woman. I will email her when I get home and make sure to touch base with her regularly because I really feel like we both needed that talk last night.  I fully intend to keep coming to the meetings and I hope that we can get more people in there. 

Just touching one person with kindness helped me to get out of my own story and realize that my life's mission really is to help others. I am so hopeful and prayerful that I continue to be blessed with situations where I am able to be there for others.

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Because sometimes we all need to be reminded to say it out loud

     Tuesday 10/9/12.  So this once a week writing isn't really working for me. Trying to remember what I did the previous week is tedious and not really fun.  I DO, however, remember last week because it was awesome!  Tuesday 10/2 was the launch party and kick off for the month of October for the Where The Girls Are events that are happening at a local restaurant/hang out and the proceeds are for a good cause. Can't beat that!  I got a sitter for Justice and went and had a great time. I've noticed that I am able to eat a good amount still though. I ordered the guacamole tacos. It was basically a taco shell with avocado, lettuce, tomato and cheese. It was really really good though!!! I also had a few margaritas. It was my first time out as a grown up post surgery and without my kid!  I got to see some girls I went to middle school and high school with and it was just overall a great night. I didn't get to the gym at all any of last week. 

Friday I went to a make up mixer. I got to learn different make up techniques and be out again sans kid and it was good. Who doesn't love make up, girl time and wine?!?!?!!??

This was the last look 
Saturday we got up and went to the Diabetes walk kick off party. It isn't until mid-November, but it was nice to get out and get some more information. Sunday was laundry and rest day.  Monday I had best of intentions of going to the gym. I even brought my gym clothes to work, but alas I didn't go. Instead, I talked myself into putting the clothes on and going to the park. I gave Justice the choice between going to the gym and playing with the kids, or going to the park and walking the trail with momma and then playing with the kids after. He chose the park. Things were going good. We were walking and he would every now and then break off in a sprint and then start walking backwards so he could see me. I figured I could jog. Sounded good in my head. I should have left that thought IN MY HEAD! I broke off in a nice jog and then my calve muscle decided to knot up. I decided to walk it out. I did a few more mini jolts of jogging, but to my dismay all it did was cause pain in my left calve muscle. GRRR! WTF? I started feeling like I pulled something somewhere too, because I started getting tingling in my left arm. My hand tingles and my arm between my elbow and my wrist gets numb or tingles. This sucks. In my adjusting my walking to compensate for the hurt calve, I managed to start hurting around my left ovary and uterus area. This is really starting to suck. I don't really hurt myself at the gym, but the minute I go to be out in nature and get my walk on, I hurt myself. I am going to beat this! I am at work and my left arm/hand have moments of tingle, so I adjust in my seat or get up and walk a bit. I don't want to get stiff. Tonight is another "Where The Girls Are" event. Justice and I will be going. We won't, of course, be staying late, but it should be a good time regardless. 

Never more true and poignant

Monday 10/22/12. I can't believe it has been so long since I've written. Time certainly flies by when you are having fun, or in my case, when you have a 3 1/2 year old! So, I suppose I will recap the highs and lows of the last two weeks. Tuesday 10/9, Justice and I went to the Where The Girls Are event, and had fun. It was a little more tedious having Justice there, because I wasn't able to really just sit back and relax, or walk around to the vendors and see what they had going on. I pinched a nerve or have a tight muscle in my shoulder, so it has been hard to really enjoy much with an arm that gets tingles and my fingers do the same. It is a weird sensation and I am not sure that I like it one little bit! I didn't go to the gym at all this week. Between the calve muscle that hates me and the tingling in the fingers intermittently, I am really struggling to keep my happy thoughts. Saturday we didn't do anything super spectacular and Sunday Justice went with his father. It wasn't his weekend, but he gave me some crap story about he was going out of town next weekend, so he wanted to come and get Justice for the day. Like ONE day makes up for a weekend. I am starting to question if this man ever got his high school diploma or if his math teacher ever cared to teach him addition and subtraction. I digress. I just relaxed and got laundry done and took a much needed nap while Justice was with his dad. Monday 10/15/12, I went to the gym and talked with the girl that works at the front desk. I have seen her working out with people, although she isn't a trainer. I asked her to work out with her, but she just talked to me and got me signed up to work out with a new trainer. The switching trainers is giving me the blues. I'd rather just have ONE person to help motivate me and guide me correctly towards my goal. I want safe exercises that aren't going to overwhelm my body and make me sore for days upon end, so much so that I can't get to the gym again for a couple of days because of said soreness and non-ability to walk or move my arms because the trainer pushed me too hard. I am feeling the funk of lack of motivation start to creep up again. Le Sigh. Tuesday 10/16 was another Where The Girls Are event, but it was cool and raining and I didn't have a sitter for Justice, so I just went home with my main squeeze and hung out with him. I couldn't take the chance of him getting sick or me getting sick from being put in a cold wet weather situation. Wednesday 10/17 was work out with a new trainer day. Monique was pretty cool. She listened and she pushed me, but she didn't push me to the point that I was not wanting to see her again. I set up another session for 10/26, but then realized that is the homecoming game night for my high school and I am supposed to go to that. I am not sure which I will make it to. I want to try for both, but that would mean that I would have to shower at the gym and well, I don't do that. So, by Wednesday I will decide what to do. Thursday I was a little bit sore in the arms since that was the area that we worked at the training session. It was a good sore feeling, but at the same time, since I still have that tight muscle or pinched something in my shoulder area, it sucked having to work the arms. Friday 10/19, we went to eat at Mi Sombrero with my Aunt Anna. She got Justice the Madagascar 3 movie and as a surprise, we went to eat and then watched the movie when we got home. Saturday we got up and went to Old McDonald's Farm with my aunt and her daughters and their kids. It was fun, but exhausting. Straight from the outing, we went to the store and got a birthday present for my aunt's dog. She decided to have a 1st birthday party for her dog, Bella. We sat around there and had a blast. Sunday 10/21/12 morning, we got up and went to Zoo Boo with Tiffany and her girls. I was tired from all the walking we had done the day before, but I knew Justice would love it. We had a great time. We went back to Tiffany's apartment and hung out, then went home to shower and then watch Halloween Wars before bedtime.  Such a busy two weeks. It went by faster than ever. Tomorrow is check in day at True Results. Weigh in and check in should be interesting. I don't feel like I have lost any weight. I can't tell. I am tired, sore and exhausted. But, I AM blessed. I AM so much more than the numbers on the scale. 

Tuesday 10/23/12.  Went for my monthly weigh in/check up at True Results. I woke up early and was there early. I thought it was a good morning. As soon as the NP came in, she sat down and the disappointment must have been all over my face, because as soon as she said that I look like I am distressed I started to cry. :( I was feeling defeated. I wasn't surprised when the scale only showed a 2 lb loss. My scale at home has a 5 lb difference than theirs and I was naked! But, it still feels a little defeating to get on the scale and not see something more. I have to be thankful and remember that some loss is better than no loss. I am working out with a trainer, so I am gaining muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat. It sounds good when I say it, but I still can't help feel a little sad that this process isn't going a little faster. I am longing to find that illusive "green zone" and that happy place where the weight is coming off and I am not feeling deprived. I am so ready for the outside to reflect the love, energy, beauty that I have inside of me. I am so ready to love and be loved. Divine timing. I just keep telling myself DIVINE TIMING. 
Back to the visit. So, the NP decided to take me to the x-ray room and check the port position and then check the fluid amount. It wasn't that bad. They had it written that I had 6.5cc in my band. She only pulled out 5.2cc. I asked her to put in .8cc so I could be at 6cc. She put it in, but when I did the barium drink the fluid sort of puddled, so she pulled out .4cc and that left me with 5.6cc in my band. I did the barium drink again and bingo. When I was upfront, the girl didn't want to get me in before Thanksgiving. I told the NP that I didn't want to wait a month and then some to come back. I wasn't sure what this fill was going to do for me, but I would rather come in before Thanksgiving than to go through the holiday needing a fill. I got the 20th. I felt better when she agreed with me. Getting a fill before Thanksgiving means that I wouldn't really be able to eat. I would be on mushy food by then. While this seems a little off to the normal person, being a person that has emotional eating experiences, this is better for me. I am not cooking this year, so I should be able to find something I can eat while out and about with family. I just have to keep reminding myself that I have limitations now. This will be my first holiday with the band and my third since losing my mom and sister. I am already feeling emotions about the impending holidays. I am learning to relax and not stress about it. I guess I just miss them still so much. :( 
Up note, I was RIGHT!! I KNEW there wasn't 6.5cc in that band. It is just confirmation that I know my stuff and while I am still new at this, I knew something wasn't right about that number. 
Tonight is Where The Girls Are at The Last Concert Cafe. Justice and I will be there for a bit. I feel a need to get out of the house and decompress. He loves to go and play with the other kids and I love to go and just be around my friends. 

Tuesday 10/30/12. So, it has been another week. I didn't actually make it to Where The Girls Are last week. It was cold and I was in a broke funk. There is another one tonight, but tonight is the meeting at True Results. I have missed them and well, I feel like I need the vamp up. 
Monday 11/12/12. I can't believe that 2 weeks has flown by again! So, let's catch up. I really do feel like I let myself down when I don't blog. 
I DID make it to the True Results meeting. There was a plastic surgeon there for a little while talking through some procedures, but after that we all just sat around and talked. It was good for us all, I think. I surely needed that gathering of like minded people. I don't get to get out much, and just that little bit of time with other people that are experiencing similar things made all the difference. 
I have been struggling with this tingling in my arm and hand still. I went on my bday to the doctor; she told me that I have a pinched nerve and gave me a cortizone steroid pill pack and told me to stretch it as much as possible and take tylenol for it. I was less than impressed with her giving me tylenol as the pain reliever, but now that I have been on the steroid pack for 4 days, I can tell the difference. The pain has gotten lessened and the area that was sensitive to the touch has minimized. I haven't been to the gym in these 3 weeks and I can tell that I need to get moving. I have really missed going to Zumba on Tuesday nights with Mr. B. Now that the new gym has opened up, I am in hopes that I can get into a class there and maybe even get a new trainer to work out with. I need help. Guidance and well a cheerleader to push me. I can admit that my personal will isn't as strong as it was, but I am holding steady and haven't given up, so I think we are doing pretty good. We, being me. 

Monday 11/19/12. I have come to a few realizations lately. Perhaps the reason that I haven't been writing lately. I suddenly realized that this is the first time in 4 years that I am having a holiday without depression medicine. I was on them after Justice was born in December 2008 until May 2012. The first two years really weren't bad. It was the PPD that I was working through, but I had a new baby with a gorgeous smile that made it all better. After my sister and mom died I was in a fog. Now I am feeling EVERYTHING! The feelings of loss, true grief, loneliness, hurt, and anger. I have been really angry at everyone and everything for the last couple of weeks. Just after my birthday. I didn't associate or make the connection until this weekend. Sort of a weekend with mini epiphanies. I wish that my feelings would be at more convenient times, like not while I am sitting at work. Hard to explain my sudden overwhelming emotions that lead me to sit at my desk and cry. I almost started crying at church. I fought it back. Tiffany, the kids and I went to Lakewood Church on Sunday. It was nice. I felt welcomed. I am so used to the stand up, sit down, kneel of the Catholic church that it felt a little weird, but the message was good. The music was good. Justice seemed to have a good time in the kids room. I was able to relate to the word since Joel Osteen made the sermon full of stories that we could all relate to. I think that was my problem with understanding the word in Catholic church. I would follow along in the book, but the homily wasn't always put in a way that I could relate. I had shied away from church for a long while. It felt good to go back. It felt good and right. I didn't wear the right shoes,so I have a blister on each of my pinky toes to remind me not to wear those again, but otherwise it was a great day. I did some crafting. I made a wreath. 

I am gearing up to make a few more. They seem to help me focus on something else for a bit. 
The other realization I had was this, I can't fill a void with food. I have gained 5 lbs. I have been eating my butt off. Mind you, I can't eat much at a setting, but I can go back and go back for something. Ice and juice. Ice pops. Frozen yogurt. Sliced cheese. Beans. I can't say that I was hungry per say. There was this nagging sensation, but not sure how to explain it. Now that I know that I am doing it, I have made myself stop. I pray and then I pray some more. I pray that I can accept these feelings and let them be what they are and then move past them. I pray that missing my mom and sister won't overwhelm me. I pray that I continue to be strong and not give in to the weakness of finding something to put in my mouth to help me try and swallow these emotions. I pray that I find understanding. I pray that I find peace. I just pray. 
Here is my church look 

Here is the first wreath I made this year
Monday 11/26/12. I was really struggling with my emotions last Monday. I was crying on and off all day long. I finally talked myself into going to the grief meeting at Lakewood. I was able to get something off my chest and I feel better now. I am going to start attending the classes once a week. I may not have answers, but I am getting the support I need now and finally hearing that it is okay to be angry, but it took admitting that I was angry for me to move past it. My baby sister came in to town and it was relieving. While we didn't do anything extra spectacular, I did need her there with me. I was struggling with eating because I was missing my mom and sister. Justice went with his father Wednesday night and didn't come back until Saturday at noon. Two days and three nights is a long time to be without my baby. I just am not the same when I don't have him with me. I went over to my aunt's house for Thanksgiving. It wasn't as bad as I anticipated. I was anxious about how I would feel not being able to eat with the family, but I was all anxious about nothing. I just put a spoonful of each of the things I wanted to taste and by the end I was fully and didn't feel overly full. I think sometimes I need to just take a step back and ask myself why I am feeling anxious. Fear of the unknown is disabling if we let it be. It was almost that way for me. I was afraid that I would bust out crying and have to deal with the nagging of my aunts telling me that it was time to move on and that my mom and sister wouldn't want me to be unhappy. I am happy. I have a right to get sad. I lost two of the most important and influential women in my life. I have the right to mourn their death. I have the right to miss them yesterday, today, tomorrow or whenever I feel it. I think the anxiety of how it was going to affect me was worse than going through the day and realizing that it was okay. I missed my baby and was bummed when everyone would ask me where Justice was, but it was okay because he would be there for the festivities on Saturday. Thursday night my friends and I decided to go to the Black Friday sale at Walmart. It had been some years since I had done it, and I was just going as a space filler so that we could take potty breaks and what not. Well, it was an adventure to say the least. The first Walmart we went to was packed and it was horrid. The second was just as bad. The third already had a line for the sale that was to be at 5am. In the mean time, we had sent Tiffany to another Walmart. She was first in line! Yay! So, we drove to the last Walmart to meet up with Tiffany. It was 11ish by the time we got there. First in line! Shortly after we got there the line really started forming. It was the line for the 50" Emerson TV for $298. A pretty good deal if you ask me. I wasn't going to get it, but the longer I was there, the more it sounded like a good idea. We got tickets for the tv around 4am. We got the tvs promptly at 5am. One per person. We wanted to put the tvs in layaway and there wasn't anything in the paper or online that said that we couldn't. However, the layaway didn't open until 9am. Needless to say, we sat in layaway with the tvs until 9am. We got told several times that we couldn't put those in layaway or that the price wouldn't be the same or couldn't be guaranteed. My response each time was, "I will wait until 9am and take my chances." Come 9am, no problems. :D We had faith that the price was going to be the same. We believed in ourselves and our mission and thus we put them in layaway. I haven't decided fully what to do with it. I don't need it. I have a few people who want to buy it. It might be what I do since I really can't afford it and don't need it. I have Justice's birthday coming up and then Christmas. I'd rather use that money to pay for Justice's presents and party. To recap Thanksgiving day, we got up at 9am and went to the parade in downtown Houston. I got home with enough time to use the bathroom and then get out the door to my aunt's house for lunch. Once I got home, I showered and then Tiffany called and we went to the lighting of Post Oak. It was pretty cool! The fireworks were awesome. I felt bad that my baby was missing out on this though. We will most definitely have to go next year! Once I got home, Leslie came to pick me up and head out to the first Walmart. So, by the time I got home from Black Friday it was almost noon. I took a shower and passed out on the couch. I didn't get up late afternoon on Friday. I got up and went to Tiffany's around 830pm and we put together her entertainment center and hung her new 50" tv. It is gorgeous. We then set up the new xbox she got her kids for Christmas. We play a round of Last Dance 4 and then I made it home by 3am. I got home feeling my nasal area. This turned into a cold. Yay me. Enter more sarcasm here. Justice came home at noon. I got him to lay down with me and then we woke up to head over to Momo's birthday party. It was cold outside and silly me, I didn't wear a hoodie or jacket. I did however remember to bring my kid's jacket. By the time I got home, my sinuses were killing. I was runny nose and then congested. It was like my nose couldn't make up its mind! Sunday I was really struggling to keep my eyes open. My aunt came to take Ashley back to school and because I was feeling so crappy, she took Justice with her. I was able to rest some more, so when Justice got home I wasn't passing out on him. Today I am feeling so so. I am in hopes that this means that this head cold is going to leave me soon. The cold/hot weather that Houston provides surely isn't helping my cause, but it is what it is.  Tonight is another grief support meeting. Tomorrow is the lap-band support meeting. Somewhere in here I need to write a paper and do some homework. I am trying not to give up on my classes. There are only a few weeks left. I CAN DO THIS!

Wednesday 12/5/12. So, it has been an interesting two weeks. I have been struggling with this cold that started as purely sinus stuff. OTC stuff seems to be working I guess. Now Justice has the same crap. I feel so bad for him. Hopefully he will spring back from this fast. From my mouth to God's ears! 
I finished my paper and got it turned in. I really do my best papers at the last minute although I like to be more prepared. Being sick and dealing with emotions put me at a disadvantage, but I think it came out pretty okay. I went yesterday to my appointment to get remeasured. Two weeks ago she put in 4.8 cc. She got out 4.8 cc! Praise the lord! I still have a few concerns, but will go back in two weeks and get a mini fill before Christmas. We will remeasure in January. I think if there is a leak, it is around the pressure of the 5.2+ cc mark. We shall see. Up note: I lost 8 lbs in two weeks. Thanks to my not feeling hungry due to the congestion sitting on my band, I was able to lose 8 lbs. Not the way I would have wanted to lose it, but it is lost! I have taken a step back so that I can move forward. Going to the classes on Mondays really is helping. I haven't always felt like going, but my core tells me to go. Week before last, I didn't speak, but got something out of it. This week I spoke and someone else got something out of it and I got to release some more hurt feelings. I started reading "I Declare" by Joel Osteen. It is a 31 day declaration sort of book. 31 promises to speak over your life. I think it is helping. In this week's class, the lady started with a visual to help us understand the lesson we would be viewing. She showed a candle in a holder. She lit the candle and then talked about how our faith is like that flame. It was a representation of our love and openness to our family, friends and God.  She said that sometimes when we lose someone, we put a lid on ourselves. She put the lid on the glass container and the flame slowly went out. That is exactly how I felt. When my mom first got sick and the amputation started, I was in RCIA classes. I still went and remained prayerful and faithful. When my sister and mom died, I closed my lid. I was angry with God. I didn't understand why all this had happened. Then the question was raised, if I knew the answer, would I feel better or worse? Would knowing why decrease my pain? Honestly, I can't say that knowing would make it easier. I still would miss my mom and my sister. I would still feel that void in my heart and life where those two wonderful beautiful spirits lived. They are still in my heart, mind and spirit. I just miss their voices and beings. I will always miss them and pray that I never forget them and am able to rejoice in who they were. Over time the pain will subside. For now, I just will take each 24 hrs at a time. 

Tuesday December 11, 2012. Happy Birthday to my baby boy Justice! 4 years ago today at 10:54 am, I gave birth to the most amazing, handsome and smart little boy ever! (yes I am partial since he is my kid) 

he was modeling while i was trying to figure out which to get him for his Christmas gala the next week. LOL!

Thursday December 20, 2012. It has been a little while since I have posted. I have been taking time to regroup. At last visit to the doctor I lost 8 lbs and was still holding 4.8cc in my band. I go back again today and will get measured again I think. I haven't decided if I should just get .4cc added to bring me to 5.2cc or get measured and hope that I can up to 5.2cc. I really want to know if I have a leak. I just don't know and the uncertainty is bothersome.  At last post I was going to Lakewood for the Grief Share, that is still happening thank goodness. It really does seem to help. I feel like a crybaby, but releasing that hurt and those feelings to people who have lost and feel some of the same emotions and aren't judging me is very helpful. Most of all, the people in the group aren't trying to fix me. It is a safe place to come and just be. Justice loves going to church. This momma loves that! Here are some pictures from the Christmas Gala at the daycare Friday of last week.

Tomorrow is the Christmas party at work. I am getting adjusted today, so that means that I won't be able to enjoy and food tomorrow. It seems and feels like a double edged sword, however, it feels right. Not that I would be eating a lot of the food anyway, but it will be Pappacitos and man how I do LOVE their fajitas! I am just trying to stay with the forward motion and not letting food and emotional eating get me down or hold me back. It is time to move forward and do this!  
These are my holiday jammies I just pulled out of the hold since they didn't fit... guess what?  THEY FIT NOW!