Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Prep

We are all ready for Halloween tomorrow!  The boys even did a practice trick or treating round when they were visiting with their grandparents.

Yesterday we carved pumpkins and did a little bit of decorating.  Poor Cavan fell off the table in the middle of our carving fun and really hurt his arm.  He screamed for a while, refused to let us touch it, and then fell asleep for 12 hours!  Today he is using it and there is only a small bit of bruising, so we think he is okay.

They are mighty excited to head out around the town tomorrow collecting loot.  Both boys will be dressed as pirates.  We have a children's book about a little mouse who falls asleep beside an old metal kettle and he dreams that he becomes a pirate.  The book is called, "Kettleship Pirates" and the little mouse at one points says, "Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of milk!"  Now whenever we ask the boys what a pirate says they respond with that.  It is adorable!

Cavan claiming his pumpkin.

Hunter was brave enough this year to help with scooping the guts!

The puking pumpkins at our entrance way.

A rather menacing looking pirate!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Made it Home- Updates Galore!

The six days have been a bit of a blur!  Most of that blur was narcotic induced....

After the surgery I had a lot of problems with nausea, dizziness and grogginess.  I had been taking a fairly heavy duty pain killer called Roxacet- it is oxycodone mixed with tylenol.  The side effects from that drug were worse than any of the surgery pain.  I couldn't focus longer than a facebook update, couldn't read a book or watch a movie.  I was in a fog for days!  After talking with the surgeon on my Monday appointment I stopped taking it and went to chewable children's tylenol.  It was like night and day!  Once the drugs were out of my system I felt alert and rather chipper!  I have no clue how people get hooked on those type of drugs- definitely not my type of high.  Since Thursday I haven't even had to take the chewable tylenol.

My appointment on Monday went great.  I am healing just fine and the weight is definitely coming off.  As of this morning I had lost 13lbs since my surgery and 24lbs since the beginning of October (pre-surgery diet for a few weeks).  Mighty successful month! 

We started the travel home on Wednesday and got to Edmonton that day to meet up with the boys.  My mother had taken them to Galaxy Land in West Edmonton Mall right before seeing us.  I am pretty sure they were more excited about going on those rides than they were about seeing us!  They had a fantastic couple of weeks with their grandparents- of course they were spoiled rotten.

Thursday we made it to Whitehorse.  I have to say I am in love with the play area in the Edmonton airport.  The boys spent over 2 hours on it and were sad to leave it and the little girl they had made friends with while playing there.  We didn't get in until early evening, so we spent the night in Whitehorse.

Friday we hit up the dentist for all of the guys.  Hunter looks great while Cavan has two huge cavities and he will probably have to be knocked out to have them dealt with.  How is it with two boys who eat the same and have their teeth brushed the same can turn out so different??  Nothing like feeling like a crappy parent when the dentist is telling you about those nasty cavities!  So we will have to take him in again soon to figure out what we will be doing with that.  We did a rather large grocery shop since the pantries were empty and then made for home.

Now we keep telling everyone how amazing it is to live in Faro.  Most people think we are absolutely insane to live out here.  But here you go- another reason why this town is the perfect home....   Two of my friends had snuck into my house and cleaned it the day before we arrived (washed out my fridge, bathrooms, swept the floors, folded some laundry), then at 6pm there is a knock at the door and a friend is there delivering supper and she also mentions that suppers have been arranged for us for the next week.  Woweee!  Neighbours have been phoning to check in on us and see if we need anything at all.  We are absolutely spoiled here in this town.  Thank you Faroites!!

I have progressed from the liquid diet onto purees.  Thank goodness!  If I had to have another chicken flavoured protein drink I am pretty sure I would have barfed.  My first pureed meal was chili from a can and it tasted heavenly to me.  I will be on purees for the next 10 days or so and then onto soft foods.  I can still only eat about 1/2 a cup of puree at a sitting and it is only taking me about half an hour to eat that.  I have three meals a day and two snacks.  I have to eat meals that are really high in protein and I am trying to get my calories up to around 800 a day.  It is really hard to do when I consume so little.  Today I only hit 600.  I still don't really feel hungry, but my head keeps telling me that I want to consume everything in sight.  Damn you brain!  Leave my poor stomach alone!

So I am loving being home and looking forward to getting into our winter schedule- lots of visiting, playing in the snow, crafting and hot chocolate!  Hurray for winter!

Thank you to everyone who has been sending me messages of encouragement.  The last two weeks were definitely tough, but I think the rewards are going to be well worth it!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Asking for Help

I am not good at asking for help.  Well unless I am being lazy on the sofa and want my husband to refill my water.  Then I am all for asking (read: whining) for help.

I am good at offering help though.  Helping others is how I enjoying contributing good to the world around me.  Cooking meals, offering to watch a friend's kid, watching over a house while someone is away, providing helpful moving information to a potential Faroite..... I love being helpful in someway or another. 

But when it is my turn to ask for help... well I cannot help but feel like a pain.  Not that I am striving to be that Super Mom that does everything!  That is definitely not me.  I just know that other people have busy lives and busy schedules and I hate to interrupt their lives.

Today though, I had to ask for help.  I needed to arrange childcare for the week after I arrive in Faro.  We just recently had a dayhome open up in town and I am taking advantage of that.  However, having both kids in it all week was going to get expensive.  So I asked some friends for help to fill in the gaps.  Of course they are amazing and I have a few offers in already.

Perhaps it was the crazy drugs I am on, but when a friend offered to take them for a large portion of the week, I started to cry!  I am so thankful that we live in a small community where people look out for each other.  A couple of friends have offered to cook a couple of meals for Matt and boys once we get back as well.  I am blessed to be surrounded by such amazing friends.

How beautiful a day can be
When kindness touches it!
~George Elliston

The Bad Day

Yesterday I had my first bad day. 

I was sore from probably overdoing it physically the day prior, my head was telling me I needed food, and I felt like a wuss for needing the pain medication.  It was not a pleasant day.

All day long I wanted real food.  Not my protein shakes or watered down yogurt.  I wanted fries, burgers, chocolate.... all the crappy comfort foods.  It didn't help that every single commercial on tv was telling me about all of the food I could not have.  My stomach wasn't hungry, just my head.

I had a lot of pain in my sternum and I could not get comfortable in any position.  I could not walk very far without feeling tired.  It was just a crappy day overall.

But I made it through.  I distracted myself by reading, surfing the net, humour, and movies.  I turned to friends for support online.  And I rested.

Today I am not feeling much better physically, but I am mentally.  I know I am going to have many more days like this and it is just going to get harder.  But I made it through the first hard day so I am off to a good start.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Full Liquid Diet

I have had a number of friends ask questions about what I can eat after surgery.  It isn't exciting, that is for sure!

Right now I am on a full liquid diet.  It is giving my stomach a chance to heal from the surgery, keeping pressure in my stomach low, and keeping hydrated to avoid nausea.  The goals I am trying to hit during the day are:
- 60-80grams of protein
- 6-8 cups of fluids
- multivitamins

So what can I eat?
- protein drinks
- fat free or 1% milk
- reduced fat cream soups that are blended or strained so they have no particles
- light or greek yogurt
- pudding and jello
- broth
- apple juice

It takes me a very long time to drink anything.  I take tiny sips at a rate of about 2oz every 15 minutes.  I am constantly sipping on something!

In the morning and evening I take a liquid multi-vitamin.  I will be adding in calcium, vitamin D and B12 in a couple of weeks once I move past the full liquid diet.

If I drink something too quickly or take too large of a sip I feel like someone has punched me in the sternum.  It is a pretty miserable feeling.  I get the same feeling when I am outside walking around.  It is just going to take a while to heal.

So a typical day on the full liquid diet looks like this:
breakfast: 8oz protein drink
snack: 1/2 cup sugar free pudding
lunch: 1/2 cup chicken broth
snack: 1/2 cup thinned yogurt
supper: 8oz protein drink

In between each of those meal times I am sipping water or a small bit of juice.  I am taking in about 500 calories a day right now.  Right now my favorite is a chicken protein drink and the chocolate protein drink.  I mix the chocolate protein power with milk and it tastes just like chocolate milk.

I will be on liquids until I get home to Faro.  Stay tuned in a week or so to find out about the pureed food stage.  Yippeee!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Two Days Post-Op

**Caution- graphic photos of my guts at the end of this post- not for the faint of heart!**

I had my surgery on Wednesday and am on the mend!

My surgery was started around 9:30am on Wednesday and the last thing I remember once in the operating room was Craig, the anesthesiologist, saying things will get a bit fuzzy!  And wham I was out!  I woke up in a bed feeling like I had been run over by a truck.  The surgeon said my surgery was text book and my guts looked lovely.

I have had been under anesthesia once before about 10 years ago and I had a horrible reaction to it.  When I woke up after that surgery I could not stop throwing up and had to stay in the hospital overnight.  Same thing this time around!  I was full of anti-nausea drugs when I went into the surgery and they gave me more afterwards, but it didn't do much.  I was dry heaving constantly.  The six incision sites on my tummy were in agony, but the back and sternum pain were the worst.  We could not get the nausea and pain under control, so I had to stay overnight in the clinic.  I spent the night being pumped full of pain medication and fluids.  It was not a pleasant night.

All of the staff at Puget Sound Surgical Center were amazing.  The care was second to none.  My nurse even gave me her cell phone at one point so I could call Matt and chat.  He had gone back to the hotel room to get some sleep.  All of the surgeons checked in on me before they went home for the night as did the day shift nurses.  All lovely people!

By the next morning, about 20 hours after my surgery, we finally had the nausea and pain under control and I was set free!  I came back to the hotel and spent most of the day sleeping or sipping on water and apple juice.  The pain medication is definitely my friend.  I was exhausted just going from the chair to the bathroom and back.

I had a good sleep last night and today I even got out for a short walk.  I get dizzy easily; I almost feel as though I am hung over.  Definitely a sign of dehydration.  So I am sipping on fluids constantly.  Today I got to add a bit more to my food choices.  I had 125ml of yogurt this morning and it took me over an hour to eat it.  Tonight I am sipping on a chocolate protein drink made with milk.  It tastes great!  I have no real desire to eat and I have to force myself to drink.  It takes me at least two hours to get through 8oz of liquid.  If I take a sip that is too big I get a horrible pain in my sternum.  And if there is already too much liquid in my stomach, I get that same pain.  It is so uncomfortable!

My husband has been so wonderful.  I cannot even bend over to tie my own shoes.  He has been getting me everything I need.  I just have to put up with shows on the tv about snipers and gator killers! ahahahha

I am so glad that I brought my computer with me.  All I do during the day is surf the net or sit and read books.  Life is not that exciting, but it is relaxing.  The boys are having a fabulous time visiting my family and will only talk to us on the phone for about 30 seconds.  So we know they are having fun!

I go back to the clinic on Monday for a check up and weigh in and then we start heading home next Wednesday.

Now for the photos!  Yes, I asked the surgeon to take photos during the surgery.  I got about 12 photos of my guts and it is really neat!

My stomach after the surgery.  There are six incision sites covered with bandages.

I was allowed to take the bandages off this morning.  My tummy is wicked itchy!

The part of my stomach that was taken off!  I was thinking it would be a lot bigger.

Well hello there stomach!  Nice to meet you!

Cutting the stomach off.

Thank you everyone for the heaps of messages and well wishes that have arrived via email or facebook.  I definitely feel loved!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Matt and I have been down in Edmunds, Washington for the last few days.  It is about 20 minutes outside of Seattle and at 40 000 people it is considered a small town.  Today we actually found someone who knew where the Yukon was and had even canoed the Yukon River in his younger days!  Most folks have no clue where we live, but are shocked when we say there is snow there already.  We are walking around in t-shirts when everyone else is wearing winter jackets and mittens!  Of course, we are getting odd looks.

Again, the reason we are down here is so I can undergo weight loss surgery.  Tomorrow morning at 8am I will be at the clinic and I should be back at the hotel by noon.  I have gone through all of my pre-op appointments and I think I am ready to go.  My stomach is full of butterflies, so good thing it is getting cut out tomorrow!   :)

This is going to be life changing for me.  I honestly don't think anyone who isn't obese can understand what it is like and how it will change my life.   I was 100lbs when I was 9 and 200lbs by the time I was 15 and 300lbs by my late twenties.  Go ahead, strap 100lbs onto your body and try carrying it around for a day and see how you do.  It is exhausting, but it is all that I know.  I do not know what it is like to be an age appropriate weight.  I need to lose nearly 160lbs to get to a proper body weight.

I am not doing this as an easy way out.  It definitely isn't, for anyone who has that thought in the back of their mind.  This is going to be hard work.  I have failed at dieting, and it is not because I am lazy or lack motivation.  It is because I have an addiction and having this surgery is going to give me a tool to help me manage my eating in the future.  This is a great website that is very informative on all forms of weight loss surgery if any of you readers want to educate yourself more on the matter.

The support I have received from friends has been phenomenal.  I don't think many of our family members are on board yet, but hopefully as I go through this process they will come around. 

I have been reading a couple of books about life after weight loss surgery.  It is going to be hard for sure.  It says that people who have been obese their entire lives go through a lot of identity issues once they have lost a lot of weight.  Also anxiety, depression, loneliness rear their ugly heads once you can no longer turn to food for comfort or to hide from life.  I will be outside of my comfort zone and I just hope I don't turn into a complete wreck!!  I have done a lot of work to ensure I have the help needed to get me through after my surgery.

Tomorrow is the start of a new life for me.  Not that I don't love my life right now, but it will be a life that is much healthier.

Riding a ferry just for shits and giggles!  We went across the bay and right back again.
Boat, boats and more boats!  Our hotel is just a block away from the water front and we have been enjoying walks along the pier.

Thank you Matt for being such an strong support for me to lean on!

Flowers left in my room from the Faro Girls!  Thank you Michelle, Heather, Brittany, Sarah, Erica, Nicole, Tina and Lorraine!

More flowers for me!  These are from a dear friend that I met while living in Kugluktuk who now lives in the Vancouver Area.  Thank you Tarama, Jason, Garrett and Tanner!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Getting a little stressed!

I have so much to do, plan and pack in the next four days and it just sort of hit me tonight.

The kids will be going to my parents house for a week and a half, so I have to get them ready.  This time of year means a lot of extra gear gets packed (snow gear along with fall gear).  I need to pack Matt and I for two weeks of travel.  The house needs to be cleaned so there is no mess to arrive home to.  House sitters need to be arranged, aquarium needs to be cleaned, laundry needs to be done.... oh the list is long.

Tuesday and Wednesday are going to be extra busy because I am watching a toddler those days.  And Thursday I will watching the news like an addict.  Air Canada flight attendants are threatening to strike and that would screw us over royally.  I am all for the government putting them back to work asap.  Sorry flight attendants, but I need to travel!

Saturday morning we will get up early and drive to Whitehorse.  Our flight isn't until early afternoon, so we do not have go in a day early.

Chaos is about to start and I am not feeling ready for it!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Two weeks to go

Only two weeks now to go until I have my weight loss surgery.  If I think about it too long I feel like I am going to yak from the nerves!  Good thing I have two rambunctious boys to keep me distracted (and who gave them the bright idea that the floor lamp would make a good fireman pole??).

I am on the fifth day of my pre-surgery diet plan and it is going very well.  I am down 8lbs as of this morning, however in the evenings I have been having a big spoonful of peanut butter.  I know, there are worse things that I could be shoving down my gob, but I still shouldn't be doing it at all.  The whining of an emotional eater....  I know, suck it up princess and get with the program.

I still find it hard to explain to people why I am doing this.  While my family and friends are supportive I know some of them are still thinking (and saying) why not just diet and just get over it.  I don't have a good answer.  Do you really think telling an alcoholic to just stop drinking will work?  No, probably  not.  Or a drug addict to just walk away from that life?  Nope.  Addicts of any sort need help and many some kind of intervention.  I see this surgery as a self-imposed intervention in my life.

There are a number of drugs available for alcoholics to help them not feel pleasure from their drinking, or reduce their cravings.  There isn't really anything like that for people who are addicted to food.  Addicts turn to their drug of choice in order to avoid something.  For me it was to avoid negative feelings, bullying, and a number of other situations in my youth.  It has been going on so long that it has now become a habit or addiction.  This surgery is going to change my outlook on food.  For a long time after surgery I will no longer be able to turn to food for comfort or to hide from my emotions.  After a hard day of children destroying my house, sitting down with a bit of pureed moose meat just won't do it like a bowl of ice cream would.  It will break my cycle of addiction by decreasing my dependence on food.  I will be forced to face my emotions and deal with them (hopefully in a positive manner and not by beating anyone with a stick).

I am going to detox.

I don't think I will be much fun to be around.

Run if you see me carrying a stick.

Now something positive!   Thank you to all of the Faroites that read this blog.  I have been getting a lot of support around town.  In passing I will get a "Oh I just read the blog.  Good luck!" or a "I have been following your struggles and we are rooting for you."   How is it we managed to pick such a fabulous community to call home?  I appreciate all of the kindness that Faroites are so willing to offer!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cutting Up Moose: Playdough Version

Mom:  Whatcha up to tonight, Hunter?
Hunter:  I am cutting up my moose!
Mom:  Great job buddy!
Hunter:  I shot it myself.

Nothing like bagging that elusive playdough moose!

The Playdough Hunter

Monday, October 3, 2011

Help Support Young Women in the Yukon!

Please take a few minutes out of your day for the next couple of weeks and cast a vote in support of our local girls group, Girls North.  They are competing in the Aviva Community Fund contest.  Here is the link where you can read about them and what they hope to do with the funds from Aviva if they win.  

Click here to vote!   You can give them up to 15 votes during the first round, but you can only vote for them once each day.  So please visit the site each day and cast your vote!  Please help them get to the next round of voting!

Here is more information about Girls North and the contest:

This is such an amazing group and they would really use your support!  Registration is very easy. 
Girls Night Out started in Faro Yukon in 2005. We are a girl directed support group for girls aged 11-18 in our community. We meet weekly for workshops, discussion, crafting and networking with other women and groups. In our community of 400, we have 28 past and present members of GNO which represents 100% of girls in Faro during the past 6 years.
Northern girls are different . We come from some of the most isolated places on our planet. Our communities are often riddled with substance abuse, sexual assault, suicide and broken families. Girls from Northern communities in Canada are especially vulnerable to relationship abuse, teenage pregnancy, poor self esteem and often feel isolated and alone in their communities. We want to change this.
We have a dream to expand our program and create girl support groups in every Yukon community. We are expanding the acronym GNO, calling our project GNORTH, or Girls North. Eventually we hope to spread throughout Canada's North.
The first phase of our project is to secure a building, a space where we can work to launch GNORTH. We have chosen a space that is close to our school and our recreation centre, that is accesible to the girls in our community. We need funds to secure the space for our use, and to complete renovations to create a space that suits our needs. We need to purchase paint, furniture, computers, and need to install a small kitchen. This will be GNORTH's headquarters for the next several years while we expand throughout the Yukon. Our local girls will be fully involved in the transformation of the space and will work as youth ambassadors in the GNORTH office. We hope to be completed renovations and have a ribbon cutting ceremony to open the space in the spring of 2012.
The second phase of our project is to create GNORTH support groups in all 12 Yukon communities. Our group will travel around to meet women leaders and role models, and to tell girls about GNORTH. We will hold rallys to introduce girls to the concept of girl only support groups. We will explore individual community dynamics and help to find appropriated spaces to hold GNORTH meetings. We will start a website so that we can generate members and create awareness through media.
We will require funds to assist with our travel expenses, for food and supplies for the rallies, for GNORTH jackets to help with our group visibility, and for small start up grants to get community groups going. Alot of this work will be done by commited community volunteers, and through in kind donations by local business. Our goal will be to have each group be self sustainable, participating in fundraising activities and pursuing local funding oppurtunities. We hope to have GNORTH groups established in each Yukon community by the spring of 2013.
The final phase of our project is to host a gathering/retreat/conference to bring all the women and girls of GNORTH together to network, share ideas and learn together how we can create impact not only in the North but across Canada. We will need funds for a facility rental, a facilitator, food and activity expenses. Our goal is to host this retreat during the spring of 2013. We hope to host a similar retreat every year to help our organization expand and grow stronger.
Please vote for our project, you will be contributing the lives of Northern girls, girls who will become strong, powerful Yukon women that will work to create positive change in Northern communities across Canada. Your vote will support our mission to help girls discover their talents and beauty and strength, to lead their communities forward towards healthier futures.