Friday, November 27, 2009

Stress & the band

This is my mom and her best friend's granddaughter. A photo taken many years ago (the granddaughter is grown and married now).

Seeing Mom's smile is especially important to me tonight, because she passed away today.

It's probably been said before, but:

Stress can make your band tight.

Driving home from work tonight, I was so hungry I could have eaten my own arm.

My husband greeted me with the news that my mom (age 90) had passed away this morning.

Not really a surprise - I think she was ready to go - but later when I sat down to eat supper, two small bites of very mushy eggplant parmesan got stuck.

But no big deal. I have maybe 30-35 more years to eat eggplant parmesan. What matters is that when I saw Mom yesterday, I got her to eat two bites of chocolate cookie. Yeah, it was Thanksgiving, but she'd rather eat one bite of something chocolate than 10 lbs of pumpkin pie.
So, eat a bite of something chocolate tonight, and say, "This is for Betty."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tilted Port

So, here's the latest in the never-ending story of my tilted port.

On October 27th, I had my 3rd re-fill, done by my surgeon in the hospital radiology department because my port can no longer be accessed without visuals (x-rays). My port was fine for the first 18 months, but now it is tilted severely towards my right side. It could be the result of - um, indifferent surgical technique during my original surgery (I had to think for a minute there to come up with a non-libelous adjective), or a suture that failed due to dumb luck or exercise.

My surgeon was able to do the fill with only 2 sticks, but the whole thing was a huge chore - taking time off work, driving to Memphis (a 2-1/2 hour drive became 3-1/2 hours in the pouring rain), waiting 2-1/2 hours past my appointment time for my surgeon to finish surgery, driving home again. Dr. Weaver said we can go on doing fills in radiology, or we can fix my port - an easy, 15-minute procedure. I told her I want it fixed. I'm going to live with this band and its port for the rest of my life. I want it easily accessed. But there's no way I can find the time to have even a quick surgical procedure during the holiday shopping season, so I'm going to call Dr. Weaver's office in December to ask them to submit the repair to my insurance company for approval so I can have it done in January 2010.

In the meantime, this last fill is making a noticeable difference in my eating. It's taken 2 weeks to kick in (who knows why?), and I feel I could use another small fill to get back to optimal restriction, but I'm very happy to be hearing from my band again!

A Creature of Habit

I have a lot of excuses for my recent blog inactivity - a new(ish) job in retail (at the start of the holiday shopping season), 19 dogs, 2 cats, medical problems (not band-related), and a tilted port. I don't mind being so busy, and when I worked as a VCASA (volunteer court-appointed special advocate) in child-abuse cases years ago, my supervisor told me, "If you want to get something done, ask a busy person to do it." What I mind about it is the unpredictability. I think part of the reason for my weight loss success with my band is that when I had surgery, I was self-employed and in complete control of my schedule, so I could attend to everything from medical appointments to planning nutritious meals to exercise according to my own preference. Working for someone else sure has put a spanner in my works (to paraphrase PG Wodehouse). I pride myself on my flexibility, but maybe I'm not as flexible as I thought I was.

(Note: a spanner in the works = ruining a running engine by throwing a wrench into it.)

When I was growing up in New England, the makers of Prince Spaghetti ran a series of TV commercials on the theme, "Wednesday is Prince Spaghetti Day." An Italian mama would lean out her tenement window calling her son Anthony to supper. Anthony ran home through the streets of North Boston, happily anticipating his Wednesday Prince Spaghetti supper.

As much as I like spaghetti (it's food, isn't it?), I've never been a Wednesday is Spaghetti Day kind of girl. Or a Meatloaf Monday girl. I've known women who swear by the ease of day-of-the-week meal planning, but I crave variety too much to eat that way.

On the other hand, I am certainly a creature of habit and I love the safety and ritual of my routines (and I'm Episcopalian, too). Laundry on Monday, meal planning on Thursday, grocery shopping on Saturday, and so on. When I was hired at JC Penney this fall, the store manager told me she couldn't promise me a predictable work schedule, and I assured her that was no problem. No, it's not a problem. But it sure is a challenge!