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Tuesday, October 30

Keeping Score

This weekend I celebrated many things.  As I go through each celebration they are becoming known as, “the last __________ before I’m banded.”

Friday night was the last Husband’s Birthday party before I’m banded.  It would be the last time I sat at the table for a whole hour eating a first pasta course that really is more than enough food for a human to eat in one sitting, and then going on to eat a second course of meat and potatoes that really has no business in my overstuffed stomach. It also would be the last time that I will have to hide behind my family in the obligatory birthday cake photo, sticking my neck out so that I don’t have a turkey gobble, and hiding my true size behind everyone else.  I have become such an expert at doing this that a friend of mine who hadn’t seen me in person in a long time confessed that she didn’t know I had gained my weight back because my pictures are so deceiving.  Um…thank you? I feel so goddamned proud.

Saturday was the last college Homecoming before I’m banded. It would be the last time I graze all day on popcorn and hotdogs, drinking glass after glass of alcoholic drinks. It would also be the last time I would have to wear a MAN’s XL size t-shirt and jacket instead of the cute ladies spirit wear they sell at the field.  Most importantly, it will be the last time I am embarrassed that I have let myself go when my husband is every bit as dreamy as he was ten years ago at graduation. (FYI, he get’s pissed when I tell him this like a true gentleman would.)

Sunday we took the kids to the last pumpkin farm trip before I’m banded.  It would be the last time I indulged in the traditional corndog, curly fries, and big sugary fried elephant ear.  It would also be the last time that I would have to sit by the sidelines while my family went up the big curvy slide because my fat ass gets  tired of walking up the hundred stairs to the top (and let’s be real, those fucking stairs are so narrow the sides of my ass are rubbing along the rails while I climb up) and then has to maneuver itself to be able to sit at the top and slide down on a burlap sack with a child in my lap.

Long story short….what I am realizing (and reaffirming) as I continue to have these last moments before I’m banded,  is really the only things I am giving up are the amount of food I will be able to have, and sometimes the type of food.  What I will be gaining is priceless in experiences, confidence, laughter, companionship, and being able to be truly PRESENT for my family. Anyone can keep score here and see where I’m going with this.

So to end the first of many weekends here in the next two months of “lasts” ….I had my last head shrinker appointment before I’m banded and I passed!! I am not crazy and I am cleared for surgery and I paid my $50 for the letter saying so!! WHOO HOO!

My reward was my sweatshirt from a previous post =) Hubs said to hang it in the closet like the girl in the Yoplait commercial who is trying to fit into a bikini.

It’s the little things.

Tuesday, October 23

Last Dance

This past weekend, I attended a family wedding. I was very excited because it’s not every day that I get to dress up and pay a babysitter to watch my kids while I dance the night away with my husband.  When I’m getting ready, I curl and tease my hair into a big poof and I start taking “artsy” pics of myself in the mirror with my smartphone. I am careful to make sure that my chin isn’t double. Because I have what I call massive Jersey Shore hair, my face actually resembles the face that I remember, the face that is me.  I have big, long black hair and dark eyes and lucky for me my husband is a big Kardashian fan.  I am taking pics of my big hair because I am stalling putting my dress on.

It is always stressful when I put my dress on because there is that moment for fat girls where in the back of your mind you are just hoping it zips. My dress does zip but because of the empire waist, I feel like I look pregnant. I’m not, of course, and my family and friends know too well that it’s not a possibility, but I LOOK pregnant and that pisses me off. I am past the point of being embarrassed by it and I’m just pissed.  What is pissing me off is that I now have a difficult choice to make. I can either wear my spanx and shrink down my belly but be left with a major muffin top and back boobs….or, I can wear some ginormous slenderizing underwear to smooth out what I have and just try to ignore my 7-month faux baby bump. I opt for the smoother because quite honestly, I would rather someone I don’t know across the room mistake me for being pregnant than think my back needs a bra.

When I see my husband after he has dressed, I am reminded of a few things.

1.       I am damn lucky to be with such a hot man (as you know not many men don’t look hot in a suit and tie)

2.       Even though my husband can stand to lose a few himself, the fashion industry allows him to wear pants and a coat that could make jaba the hut look studley.

3.       He looks hot and I don’t.

I am frustrated, pissed at myself, and crabby about the whole situation. And then, then as we are driving to the wedding, my glittery heels in my lap because my feet are like stuffed sausages in them, I remember something very important….

This is my LAST wedding pre-lapband.

The next wedding on my calendar is in May, it’s the one that my daughter and I are standing up in together. Assuming everything continues to go as planned, I should be having surgery in January which means that I will have four months to adjust, recoup, get back on my feet, and LOOSE WEIGHT.   No matter what I weigh at the next wedding, if it’s less than this one, I will feel like a boss.

After that realization hit me I didn’t give a shit anymore. I danced my ass off the whole night.  I slow danced with my husband and enjoyed the scent of his aftershave. I fist pumped with my family and “got low”. I enjoyed the wedding cake and high-cal cocktails and I decided to have a great time.  Because after all,  at the end of the night when the dress is hung back up and the heels are back in their box and my husband’s suit is on the way to the drycleaners the fact still remains… today I am HERE.

Monday, October 15

New Title...Still Me!!



1. A very noisy place

When I first decided try my hand at blogging, I knew I wanted a title for my blog that was a play on words, and that was both academic and ridiculous. Although nothing came to mind, not even after Googling  idioms with the word “band” in them, I settled on “Band With Me.” It was short and sweet, and I thought maybe could reflect my need for camaraderie during this crazy time.
Recently I was reading Jean McMillan’s book “Bandwagon” and she had used the word “pandemonium.” It hit me like a Red Bull…HOT DAMN!! It was the title I had been looking for!!
Here is where you will hear my voice, loud and ringing in your ear.
Here is where I can be myself, sometimes bitchy, wannabe sexy, mostly an emotional mess… but real.
I’m only at the beginning of my journey and the pandemonium has just begun.

My Bandemonium.

Saturday, October 13


Can’t wait to feel like me again…

Unlike many weight loss bloggers, I am not someone who has always been overweight. In fact I have been 6 different sizes in my adult life…from 10-20 and so I not only know how it feels to be fat, I also know how it feels to be thin. Don’t get me wrong, by “thin” I mean “thin for me” which is still curvy in the right places with a soft stomach and the ghetto booty my husband first fell in love with 14 years ago. Like Heinz ketchup, when I’m “thin for me” I am still thick and zesty.

What I don’t know shit about is how to just be “thin for me”, how to just eat standard amounts of food to maintain a healthy size. I am always dieting or gaining with nothing in between. In fact, I have never even hit a plateau while on my hundreds of dieting days in my life, which has become an urban legend to me.

After I had my daughter in 2007, I suffered from post-partum depression. If you are reading this Tom Cruise just go ahead and leave my blog because it is a real thing with real side effects. I wasn’t working, had a newborn, my husband had just been let go from one job and (God bless) just started a new job, and I had a rambunctious two year old to take care in the meantime who’s idea of a nap was staying in one place for a while 5 minutes. Between our lack o f money and my lack of sleep I was in a fog most days. Because I am not an emotional eater (one blessing for me) I actually LOST weight during this time. In fact, my weight was the only thing I could be in control of and so it was therapeutic for me to measure meals and follow up with weekly weigh-ins.

As things got better, so did I, I finally got the courage to speak up at my doctor’s office and get the help I needed. I was feeling like ME again, happy, sexy, fun, a spirited mom with lots of energy and small pants.  What sucks is that because things were better, and so was I, I slacked on my diet, I took my kids for Happy Meals, and filled the freezer with goodies from Costco that was now once again in the budget.

The weight that had taken me two years to loose was back in about 6 months, with 15 pounds more a year later, and 15 pounds more a year after that.

So here we are today. I am not ME again. I am trapped in this body that I hate, that makes me uncomfortable and sick, that I have no energy in, which makes me feel like a failure.

I went into Victoria’s Secret to pay my bill (don’t get excited, it’s mostly make-up and clearance bras; even while plus-size I still can fit into their now extended sizes) and  no I wasn’t jealous of the bins of lacy butt  floss but I saw the CUTEST  Chicago Bears sweatshirt with the bear head all blinged out in blue and orange sequence from their hipper PINK line. I almost cried when I saw that sweatshirt. The ME inside can fit in the sweatshirt and roll around in the leaves with my kids on a fall day. The ME inside can sit on my husband’s lap in the recliner during a Bears game and not break the fucking thing. The ME inside can walk my dog in that sweatshirt and have neighbors secretly admire how cute it looks on me, the sequence and my smile shining in the sun.

But the ME outside has to walk past. The ME outside always misses out. The ME outside is FED THE FUCK UP.

Next Tuesday is the Psych, November 1 is the Pulmonary, then my blood tests and letter saying I’m good to go from my Primary doc and BCBS IL should have my file in their hands by the Holidays. And then, it should be a happy new year, with the new/old ME fighting her way back out of the darkness.

Thursday, October 11

Ten Things Thursday

(Apparently in Blogger World this is what all the cool kids are doing…)

1.       Today a Kindergarten student looked at my school ID and said, “Who is that?”…  “It’s me!” I said back… “Oh, well the person in the picture is skinny.”  Well said, Kindergartener.

2.       I have decided that since I was able to basically stop altogether my acid reflux but not eating crap at night before bedtime,  that is just one more reason I can trust myself to eat right with the band, because I will not want to have to become a PB aficionado.

3.       I am sitting here watching Cong. Ryan get schooled by VP Biden and I have to say, regardless of what side you are on, it’s quite the comedy show. Malarkey!

4.       Even more fun than watching the debate is watching the status updates that go up on Facebook during the debate.

5.       Found on Pinterst…


6.       My love/hate relationship with McDonald’s continues to grow. Why does it have to be so convenient? Why does it have to have new pumpkin milkshakes?? Why does it have to have MONOPOLY?? I feel like shit after I eat it and then I think, hot damn I just won a medium fry!!

7.       Next Tuesday I have my psychiatric appointment. I guess my appointment is covered by my insurance by its $50 for them to write the letter saying I am sane enough to have surgery. Really? How about I write the letter and you just sign it? How about you just type up the notes and e-mail them over? How much is the fax being sent? 50 cents? I would go apeshit over this BS but then I won’t look sane enough for surgery.

8.       I just added “apeshit” to my spell check.

9.       My back is killing me and my husband is working late so he can’t facilitate the back massager for me. =(

10.    This list was harder to come up with than I thought.

Saturday, October 6

Meeting the Surgeon

I finally did it. I did it. This week I met with the SURGEON!

And I can’t lie, it scared me shitless.

My hand was shaking as I filled out my paperwork while sitting in a double wide seat out in the waiting room of the Bariatric Center. They had put a Hospital bracelet on my wrist and a second bracelet that was scarlet red and said "allergy". Right away I asked, "I'm just talking today, right?" Yes they assured me, I would get bracelets every time. Our Bariatric Center is located in our nearby Hospital which is one of the best in the Chicagoland area, thank God. When they finally called my name, my Husband and I followed the nurse and I was weighed on a ginormous scale right out of an episode of “The Biggest Loser.” I realize my overweight self still represents only a fraction of what some of the overweight patients weigh who come in, but even so I felt like a cow being weighed for slaughter. The scale only weighed in kilograms and my weight then had to be converted and my BMI documented.

After this I sat with the registration nurse and she asked me some basic questions and took my blood pressure which was a towering 183/something I can’t remember. It is an understatement to say that I was nervous as hell. I kept grabbing my Husband’s hand with my sweaty palm and he kept smiling his just-chill-the-fuck-out smile which instead of making me feel better kinda started to really piss me off. This was no laughing matter; this was weight-loss surgery!!

The next part of the appointment took place in an examination room but I just sat in yet another double wide chair while my Husband made himself comfortable in a double wide recliner. I gave him that if-you-take-out-your-phone-and-send-an-email-I-will-gouge-out-your-eye look and thankfully he obliged. The first person to enter was the Nurse Practitioner who oversees the whole operation. We went over my entire 13-page health summary and she gave us the basic lowdown of what we would need to accomplish after the appointment. The Nurse was able to answer basic questions about our insurance coverage and what to expect in a broad sense, I felt comfortable talking to her and I was finally starting to breath normally again.

After she left, the surgeon came in. Dr. Vallina was a thin man who was in his mid-fifties. He was very casual and personable and talked a lot about his family and interests. He told us about some of his patients and then went into his tell-all mode about the surgery options. I know that he had to be real with us, no other way to do it, but I started to feel confused and scared again. My husband in his recliner with his shit-eating-grin on his face was adding insult to injury. Even though the surgeon knew I was there for gastric banding, he still took liberties talking about the other procedures which are the Sleeve Gastrectomy and Gastric Bypass. He gave us statistics and percentages, outcomes and complications. He told us that from this initial consult to surgery was a three month process assuming I can get in to see the psychologist and pulmonary specialist in decent time, and then he left after telling me to “look into my heart on which surgery to have.” Please, I need to lose weight, not invest in a romantic partner!

When the surgeon left, I started to cry. As my eyes swelled with tears, my Husband cut the crap and started to talk me through what had just happened. He reminded me of why I was here, that of course it is going to be clinical and scary and that the doctor’s JOB is to remind me of the pros and cons. Once I got it back together, the third and final person came into the exam room.

This Nutritionist was very different than the one I did my 6-month supervised diet with. She was young and dark haired and very beautiful. She asked me what my typical day of eating looked like and then told me the good news is that since I am a “volume eater” (industry term) and not a “grazer” or “emotional eater” I could expect a good outcome with the gastric band option. She also told me that she would help me through my pre and post-op diets, and see me at every appointment there after once the band was in place for Nutritional counseling. As difficult as it is to make a drastic decision like this one, I wasn’t going to be alone, the staff was going to be with me every step of the way.

Needless to say, it was a roller-coaster of an appointment.

When I got home I posted a note on my favorite online forum about my experience feeling like getting cold feet before a wedding (which incidentally didn’t happen to me). This is a lifelong commitment to my health and wellbeing and as much of a no-brainer it seems like it should be to improve my quality of life, it’s still incredibly nerve-wracking. My “friends” on the forum all gave me support and encouragement and calmed my fears. Long story short, yes there could be complications, yes there will be a lot of maintenance, but YES it is the right choice for me.

I also started reading Jean McMillan’s book “Bandwagon.” Her no nonsense approach to gastric banding answers many of my questions and puts the ups and downs into great perspective. I wish I would have read it before my surgery consult so maybe I could have sat in there like a boss instead of like a toddler going in for pre-K shots.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…I am still on the track running circles, but I am STILL RUNNING. The finish line is not in sight yet but the starting mark is now far enough behind me that I can’t quit now.