Friday, April 18, 2014

4 Months Post SARPE Surgery

Wow, those 4 months went by fast!

I just wanted to give an update because I had an orthodontist appointment the other day. Besides usually being the only adult patient in there, the assistants are always interested in how things are going with me. I haven't taken any photos lately but my smile already looks better than it did pre-surgery. I already feel more confident when I smile, it's hard to believe that some day in the not-so-distant future, I'll have even straighter teeth. Amazing! So glad I did this.

My appointment with my orthodontist was to talk about getting the expander removed. WOOOOOOOOO.

I was so excited that it seemed like my orthodontist was talking as slowly as possible. Honestly, he was, because he was reading or writing notes or something while talking.

Dr. M: Okay so it looks like we can...remove the appliance...hmm...let's remove it, let's see...

Me: ?!!?!!?!?!??!?!

Dr: M: In uh...4...

Me: [[FOUR WHAT?!]]

Dr M: ...to 6 weeks.

I was little disappointed I had/have to wait another month, but I knew it was going to be 4-6 months and I've just been telling myself to expect it out as late as June, so I can live with May.

May 13th is the big day. I do have to get the smaller retaining wire thing across the roof of my mouth, but apparently it's nowhere near as annoying as the RPE. I will at least have the roof of my mouth back.

One week later I'll get my braces. That puts us at May 20 but I said no way because that's my birthday! It's also the second soccer game of the season and I don't want to be in pain for that. I want to enjoy my birthday as the last day for awhile when I can eat what I want, so I'm getting my braces first thing on May 21st.

Anyway, if it's of any interest, my front teeth are still tender. I still can't bite into anything except for very soft foods. My upper gums are still mostly numb though I do think a tiny bit of feeling has come back since I last wrote about it in March.

Although this has nothing to do with SARPE, it looks like I may need a root canal next week. I had a cavity filled in one of my molars last week and my tooth has been in agony ever since. I can't function without about 400mg of ibuprofen in me, and it wears off so quickly. I really hope it settles down this weekend but I have a feeling it's not going to. This shit is painful. As painful, if not more painful than the SARPE surgery. Whenever I tell people about SARPE, their first response is to cringe and ask how painful it was. I'd rather get SARPE again than deal with this tooth ache, I'll tell you that much. At least  with surgery, I was justified in staying home from work and whining!

Alright, so expect another mouth update on May 13th or 14th! 25 more days with the expander until I'm freeeeeeeee!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Thoughts on Weight Loss #1, featuring Kara

It's no joke that losing weight is a big lifestyle change. It tends to consume my thoughts regularly, to the point of pushing out other stuff (I think I used to have a sewing hobby...). I thought it might be interesting if I wrote regulary about some of the thoughts I have on weight loss, running, getting fit, dieting, etc.

The first topic I want to talk about is how losing weight does not magically fix your problems.

Last week, I had an experience that made me realize I still have things about myself I don't like, things weight loss and getting healthy haven't magically fixed. I tend to get wrapped up in positive thoughts about myself and my progress, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes it can be easy to forget that I still have issues to work through.

Basically what happened was that a complete stranger was rude to me for reasons I'm sure seemed justified to them, but in actuality, came from a lack of information about the situation. I'm not going to repeat the story (mostly because it's a boring parking lot story), but basically, yet again, I totally lacked the ability to stand up for myself when it happened. Instead of properly explaining myself like I should have, I proverbially slunk away defeated and moved my car (which is what they wanted me to do, despite it not being necessary).

Afterwards, I was really mad at myself for being such a pushover. I know that I'm a confident person, I know that I can achieve amazing things, but why can't I tell a rude stranger to shove it? Aren't I supposed to be happier and more confident now that I've lost weight? What's wrong with me? Why would some idiot get me so upset and embarrassed? I've come so far, why do I still struggle to speak my voice?

The thing is, the number on the scale hasn't changed that I still let people boss me around, I still freeze up in conflict situations. It's very easy to fall into the trap of, "If I fix x, then y will improve."

The thing is, as far as most emotional stuff is concerned, y will never improve unless you specifically work on y. You can insert any optimistic ideal into y: eating healthier, being more confident, being less of a procrastinator, making friends, going out in public.

Coincidentally, at work we just had a 1.5 day workshop on informal conflict resolution, and it came in very handy for analyzing the situation in the parking lot last week. I realized that my default reaction to bad situations is freeze up, or just accommodate the other person.

Other things about me that haven't changed that I hoped would, 30lbs later:
-I still struggle to eat healthily. I was raised on junk food and every day is a struggle, though it is getting easier. I am slowly getting to a point where I honestly prefer healthy food over junk. I am trying to treat my body like a garden,  not a garbage can. You have to nourish your body in order for it to give back; you can't just fill it with junk and expect something other than decay and disease in response.

-I still battle with feeling lazy and unmotivated. Many people have told me that just hearing about the stuff I do in my free time makes them tired, but to me I still feel like I do relatively nothing with my time.

-I still feel self-conscious in public, like people look at me and instantly judge me negatively.

My long-time good online friend Kara recently lost 130lbs. Kara has written about her weight loss pretty extensively and has always been great at "keeping it real" when it comes to the fact that weight loss doesn't magically solve your life's problems. Since I plan to write more about my thoughts on weight loss, I thought Kara would be the perfect co-contributor for this series of entries. Here's what Kara had to say on this topic:

***
A little introduction! My name is Kara and I live in the Yukon. Two and a half years ago at 320lbs I underwent bariatric surgery (most of my stomach was removed and my stomach now only holds 1 cup of food at a time or less depending on how dense the food is) and very successfully lost 130lbs. Then five months ago I had reconstructive skin surgery to remove the excess skin from my abdomen and lower body. It has been far from easy, but still worth every bit of it.

I thought I would be better at not feeling left out of social situations because I lost weight, but nope, I still feel left out.

I have always felt self conscious about being left out of anything that is going on. I am a social butterfly (only until 7pm) and I knew I was being left out of fun events growing up and as an adult too because of my weight. Or I would go and still feel left out or awkward. Well now I am average size and I still struggle with feeling left out. If people get together without me, I wonder if they did it on purpose. By losing all this weight I was hoping that feeling would go away, but I learning it is more part of my personality type and has nothing to do with anyone leaving me out on purpose!

***

Thanks to Kara for her story. Kara's thoughts on weight loss will continue to be a part of my entries since I think it's great to have another person's perspective along with my own. Kara's journey has been quite a bit different from mine for numerous reasons, so it's interesting to see some similarities in our stories, as well.
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