Saturday, August 18, 2012

Wedded Bliss...

The newest Mr and Mrs!

I have never felt so beautiful in my entire life.

The wedding was everything I could have ever dreamed.  I will tell you all about it....right after the honeymoon!  Off to the Bahamas!   ; )

Friday, June 8, 2012

Showered with love...

Where have I been?  Let me explain…

Me and my friend Liz!
#1- As I have said before, I’m not having as many “fat to skinny” epiphanies anymore.  Which leaves me with writers block.  I live my life everyday and the fact that I used to weigh 300lbs isn’t really even a thought.  Weird, but true. 

#2- I am officially declaring my camera lost.  So I haven’t taken “non iPhone” pictures in almost a year.  This lack of pictures make my posts more boring, in my opinion. 

My life is so wonderful.  I wouldn’t want to change a thing.  (Well…unless I could request becoming independently wealthy.  So I could just pay for my wedding in cash…)

My Bridesmaids/man
Cara, Michelle, me, Ang, and Mike.
(Lindsey was in sunny California and
was greatly missed!)
It’s been almost two and a half years since my surgery and I’m doing and feeling great.  At my “2 year check-up”  I found out that I have put on 13lbs this last year.  I blame Chris for brining pizza back into my life, but really there is no one to blame but myself!  My doctor told me it was OK but gave me a stern warning about gaining anymore. 

It was a real eye opener. 

SO, after increasing my workouts a little and watching what I eat (yes…I’m on a DIET)  I’m already down 5 pounds.  Basically, I just stopped eating crap and my personal trainer just shouts “WEDDING DRESS!” at me when I want to give up my workouts. 

Worked like a charm. 

BUT…the REAL reason for this post is that my Bridal shower was last weekend and there were cameras.  Lots of them.  And my dress was beyond fabulous.  So, I snagged some of my friend’s pictures off the lovely Facebook and decided to update the few stragglers that might still be watching here. 

Hello stragglers! : )

My shower was beyond perfection.  Everything a girl could ever want or dream of.  I have never been so happy and felt so loved in my entire life.  I have the best bridesmaids and bridesman in the whole world.  There aren’t enough words to thank them for all their time and hard work.

We had delicious dinner (my choice was the chicken and vegetable pasta…unreal!) but dessert was AH-MAZING.

Me, Mike, and the amazing cake!
I would like to recommend to the brides of the world that you must have a bridesman….because when you have a brideman, you get a wedding shower cake that looks like THIS!!!  I was blown away.  This cake is way nicer than my wedding cake will be…for real.  I still get goosebumps just looking at the picture. 

The centerpieces were adorable and delicious…the best kind of combination, in my opinion.  They were lovingly crafted by my future mother and sister in-law.   People were fighting to take them away!!!

My fantastic group didn’t stop there!  All the little details made this day so special…like the signature sangria drinks (matching the shower colors of course!), the awseome citrus salt and wine stoppers to take home, and our game prizes???  Coach bags.  YES…I SAID COACH BAGS! 

My own special Coach bag.  :: LOVE :: 
This shower was amazing.   And even though it was only a week ago, I still can’t believe it was for me. 

I’m signing off here with the warning that I don’t know when I will be back.  (Probably, after my wedding in August.)  But I always respond to comments and e-mails (Hi Chrissi!) and would be happy to answer questions anytime…

See you after the wedding!!!  (8/17/12)

My mom, me, and my future mother-in-law

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Soooo…I went to yoga with Beth today…for the first time in a loooong time.  For some reason, I continue to believe I am experienced at yoga.   But I’m just not.

In fact, I usually just silently giggle my way through the whole class….just trying to keep up with the yoga teacher….(aka: Speedy Gonzales)…and to not fall on my butt.  By the end, my whole body was sore.  But I like it anyways.  It’s good to change it up every once in a while.   It keeps life interesting.

But today was more than just a yoga day.  It was my dad’s birthday.  And that is just totally awesome.  : )

In the beginning, my family was really concerned about my decision to have this surgery.  It was hard, but I completely understood why.  I went forward with it anyway because I KNEW it was the best move for me.  Regardless of how they felt, they helped me through the stressful times, and agree with my decision now…but most of them still don’t think it would be the right choice for them.   

And I respect that.

My family has always been in a constant state of weight loss.  (Some times more serious than others!)  Different things work for different people, but my dad had been asking me a lot about my surgery and how it worked.  I always encouraged trying diet and exercise first, because it is the less risky option.  But that’s not always what people want to hear. 

So, for Mother’s and Father’s day, I set up a 1:1 session for Beth to go to my parent’s house and set up a program for them.  I was worried about their health (like only a daughter who is a nurse can) and I really just wanted to give them the gift of feeling as good as I did.

Well, the session stirred something up…especially in my dad…and over the summer (after months of me harassing him to come) my dad accepted an invitation to try the TNT boot camp with me.   I was shocked because, to be honest, I never actually thought he ever say yes. 

Well, not only did he come with me…he did AWESOME.  He signed up for 2 months of programs and has been dropping LBs like it’s his JOB!  He’s following a healthy diet and eating the best I have ever seen.  And his diet and exercise regimen has inspired my mom to diet and start her own work out program.  He didn’t even want a birthday cake this year!

I’m SO proud.

It’s also really cool to work out with my dad on Saturday mornings.  We never really had a special “thing” that we did together…just the two of us.  Boot camp has become our special time.  He motivates everyone in the class and totally keeps me on my toes when Beth isn’t looking.  There s nothing like your dad telling you that you’re slacking off to get you going again.

I absolutely LOVE it.

Why am I sharing this?  Well, for one, I think it’s good to see that diet and exercise are great things to try before you consider something more serious, like surgery.   I know I’ve said it before, but I believe surgery isn’t the “be all, end all” solution for weight loss.  It will work for some people, but not for others.  You should really try other things before you settle on surgery.

Secondly, I wanted to tell you how awesome it is to see my family getting healthy.  THEY are inspiring ME to stay on track…and I just feel so happy about it.   


Like, “warm fuzzy feeling” happy!  :: smile ::

I guess I just want there to be A LOT more “happy birthdays” in my family’s future…even if we have to skip the birthdays cake, sometimes!  


Friday, October 21, 2011

Answers for anonymous...

I friggin’ love it when you guys comment on my blog.  

::  big smile  ::

Every time you do, I get a little e-mail and it makes my heart skip a beat.  It reminds me that you guys are really there reading….that I am helping some of you…and each one motivates me to keep writing. 

So the other day I got this little comment from someone who is about to have surgery next week: 

"Hi Kristen,

You look fantastic and I am so happy to see that you are updating your blog again. Like many others I check it several times a week! I am having my surgery on Monday and have found your blog to be more helpful than even what the doctor's, nutritionists, etc have said. I do have a couple questions for you if you have the time.

1. Did you experience a lot or any extra skin after your weight loss? If so, what did you feel worked best for you to help with that. I am worried about that. I am hoping to lose about 100lbs and understand that extra skin is unavoidable but any tips would be appreciated.

2. Looking back on your journey, do you have any advice or anything you wish you knew before going through the surgery?

Again, thank you for your blog!"

I know that having someone to ask questions is important, so I never mind answering as many as I can.   But, since a lot of you don’t send me a personal message with somewhere private to respond to, I always assume it is ok for me to answer them in a post.  And until someone says otherwise, I’m just going to go with it. 

SO…That being said, let me see if I can answer some of these great questions.

Excess skin was my worst fear ever.  I had horrible visions of floppy “bat wing” arms and jiggling belly skin.  In fact, it bothered me so much that I wrote about it in one of my first blog entries here.   I knew I didn’t want to trade the skin for the scars that came with the surgeries, so I did the only other thing I could think of. 

I hit the gym.  Specifically, the weights. 

Currently, do I have excess skin?  Sure I do.   Right now the most noticeable skin on my body is on my belly, but you can’t really tell through my clothes.  At some point, I plan to have an abdominoplasty (AKA: tummy tuck) but I feel that is something I’m not going to pursue until after I have babies. 

I mean…what’s the point of doing that BEFORE having a pregnant belly….right?!? 

There is also a minimal amount of excess skin in my arms, legs, and butt…but you can hardly tell (especially in my arms) because of the fact that I decided to weight train as I lost weight.  Personally, I hired a trainer to teach me how to exercise…which helped a ton…but it is certainly something you could do in a class or on your own!  I understand that having a trainer may not be an option for everyone, but I rationalized it by thinking about all the money I was saving by not having to spend so much on food!  Seriously though, learning how to exercise and sticking with it for almost 2 years is the number one thing that has made this surgery so successful for me. 

No question. 

To answer your second question, I truly wished that before this surgery I had realized how important it was to write down my I was feeling…what I was going through.  Oh, what I would give to have started this blog from day one….or even a few weeks before I went into the hospital.  Because, funny as it sounds to you now, as time goes on…and the weight goes down…you forget what it was like to be fat. 

I frequently go back and read posts from over a year ago.  They remind me of how far I’ve come.  And, through tougher times, they really keep me going forward. 

You don’t have to write in a public forum, like I do.  Buy a journal and just jot things down as they come to you.  Keep track of your weight loss.  And no matter what you think PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, take “before” pictures.   You don’t ever have to show them to anyone, but I promise you will want them for yourself. 

I didn’t take them and I’ve regretted it every day since.

Well, I hope I’ve helped.  Good luck with your surgery on monday!  Keep me posted on how you are doing.  And remember that the first weeks are the toughest mentally, but there is light at the end of the foodless tunnel…promise!

-Kristen   ; )

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wedding dress bliss...

Wedding dress shopping is something I (like every girl) has dreamed about my entire life.  In my frequent job as bridesmaid, I had always helped my friends with the planning of their weddings.  And in the process of doing this important job, I would always find little things I knew I wanted in my own wedding that I would tuck into the back of my mind. 

It was a nice perk. 

One of those things I found and settled on was my dream wedding dress.  It was a Priscilla of Boston.  A-line…silk taffeta…big skirt…HUGE price tag.  But I never really considered it, because…honestly…I never thought I could fit into it. 

Until now. 

Since the wedding was less than a year away, I figured I wasn’t being absolutely nuts if I started looking at dresses.  What the heck, right?  So I made an appointment and took my mom and Chris’s mom to the local David’s bridal store.  And it was just was awesome.    

I remembered the days when I would go with my bride friends to try on bridesmaid dresses and not fit into the samples. The amount of embarrassment at not only the measurements the poor woman had to take, but the actual SIZE dress I had to buy was almost more than I could take.  

I absolutely wanted to D-I-E.  (or eat a pizza….you know…whatever made me feel better at the time)

But last week, I walked around the store and picked up any wedding dress I wanted to try on….and generally…they all zipped right up.  It was the best feeling ever…a real confidence booster.  I felt like an absolute princess the whole time.  But, although I felt beautiful in almost all of the dresses I put on, none of them were “my dress.”  

That dress haunted me the whole time.  I wanted it…needed it...and of course had to see it on my body.  So, I made and appointment at Priscilla's.  And once I finally put the dress on, my heart almost stopped.  

It was perfect. 

Well, thank god for my mother.  Because, with some tears…my mother’s deal wielding skills…and the fact that Pricilla’s of Boston had decided to go out of business a few months ago, I squeezed this dress into the budget and got the most beautiful (and most expensive) dress that I will ever put on my body.    

That’s right…I got my Priscilla.    

It was the best birthday present a girl could ever ask for.  And it literally PAINS me not to put a picture of it on here.  I want to share with you all the gorgeousness that is this dress…but I just don’t trust Chris not to peek.   (yes Chris, I know you read this and I don't trust you!)

So, my lovely readers, you will have to wait for the wedding…just like him.  But, it will be totally worth it.  

I promise.  


Thirty.  Seriously…It’s a huge number. 

You know, its funny…I feel like I was way more worried about turning 30 when I was 26 or 27 than I was on my actual birthday.  To be perfectly honest, I didn’t feel or look much different that I did the day before.   

Yes, I check for wrinkles now.  Don’t judge.

Chris treated me to a delicious birthday dinner in the north end.  I ordered a fantastic brick oven pizza with fresh mozzarella, ricotta, cherry tomatoes, roasted peppers, artichoke hearts, and prosciutto.  (and I luckily got to eat it twice more at home the next day!)  We even stopped for a cannoli on the walk back to the car.  (A little too much sugar?  Sure...but it was my birthday and totally worth the heart racing and dizziness afterwards)  

All in all it was wonderful. 

When we were going to bed Chris asked me if I was happy being 30.  I told him I was.  But it started a discussion about different things I always thought I would have done by this point in my life…like be married…and have children.  Chris reminded me of what I already have accomplished in my life and told me I have plenty of time to still do these other things.  And he is totally right. 

But, I told him one of the real things I really wished I had done earlier in my life was to have had this surgery.  God knows where I could be now if I had this much strength and the confidence in my early 20s.  I mean, I’m shaking my head right now just thinking about it. 

Woulda, coulda, shoulda…eh?  But…Chris is wise…and after my tangent, said something to me in the way only he does.  Simple.  Analytical.  Right to the point. 

“But then we may not have met…so I guess everything worked out in the end.”

This is why I love him.  Growing up, we had been in the same room before and never come together.  There is a reason 29 year-old Kristen met Chris and not 22 year-old Kristen.  Do I know exactly why?…no.  But someday I may.  

Until then, all I know is that all the experiences I have had in the past 30 years have made me who I am and given me the wonderful life I have today.   And I have the whole rest of my life to have different good and bad experiences to make me who I will be. 

A wife?  A mother?  Best selling author?  Sky’s the limit... 

What I do know for sure?  30 is certainly going to be my best year yet...And everything will always work out in the end.  

::wink wink::

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Do you want to be a mermaid...or a whale?

I continue to have insomnia.


So, as I cruise the internet for fantastic wedding ideas, new shopping deals, and try to figure out how to read my newsfeed on "the new Facebook," I came across this post and picture shared by a friend.

The message here really touches me and really puts things in perspective as I continue to fear I am not "thin enough."  There is nothing wrong with who you long as you are happy and healthy!

: )




A while back, at the entrance of a gym, there was a picture of a very thin and beautiful woman. The caption was "This summer, do you want to be a mermaid or a whale?"

The story goes, a woman (of clothing size unknown) answered the following way:

Dear people, 

Whales are always surrounded by friends (dolphins, seals, curious humans), they are sexually active and raise their children with great tenderness.
They entertain like crazy with dolphins and eat lots of prawns. They swim all day and travel to fantastic places like Patagonia, the Barents Sea or the coral reefs of Polynesia.
They sing incredibly well and sometimes even are on cds. They are impressive and dearly loved animals, which everyone defend and admires.

Mermaids do not exist.

But if they existed, they would line up to see a psychologist because of a problem of split personality: woman or fish?
They would have no sex life and could not bear children.
Yes, they would be lovely, but lonely and sad.
And, who wants a girl that smells like fish by his side?

Without a doubt, I'd rather be a whale.

At a time when the media tells us that only thin is beautiful, I prefer to eat ice cream with my kids, to have dinner with my husband, to eat and drink and have fun with my friends.

We women, we gain weight because we accumulate so much wisdom and knowledge that there isn't enough space in our heads, and it spreads all over our bodies.
We are not fat, we are greatly cultivated.
Every time I see my curves in the mirror, I tell myself: "How amazing am I?!?!

(The girl on the picture is French model Tara Lynn) 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pinch me...

In less than 2 weeks, I am going to be 30. 

Somehow, I haven’t been as worried about it as I though I would be.  Maybe it’s because I have Chris in my life now…or maybe it’s because I keep hearing that ”30 is the new 20”…but it’s coming whether I like it or not.  And I feel unexpectedly ready. 

My life…my personality…basically all of who I am has changed for the better since I’ve had this surgery.   I know I’ve said it before, but this was the best decision of my life.   And despite the friends and family I may have lost during this process, if I had the choice, I would do it all again.  No question. 

When I look back of this journey I chose to take, I never could have imagined I would have ended up here.  Honestly, I never thought I would or could ever have been so happy. 

But I am.  And it is just so good. 

I know that who I am and how I live my life has only changed and grown for the better.  But despite all the personal and mental growth I have made, I can honestly say the best thing that has happened to me since my surgery is the fact that I met Chris. 

I didn’t believe there was another person on this earth that could be such a perfect match for me as he is.  I love him so much, but in a different way than I have ever felt about anyone in my entire life.  It’s just so hard to explain.  Having him with me just makes sense.  I can’t even imagine my life without him. 

And, luckily, from now on…I don’t have to. 

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen...last Friday, September 30th, this girl got engaged.  And the kicker?  It happened exactly one year and 4 days after the “Lookin’ for love” post I wrote when I was feeling so alone.   

Goosebumps?  Yeah…me too…

Since this surgery, my life has been like a dream.  Or at least a really cheesy TV movie on “Lifetime.”  Girl loses weight…changes life…grows as a person…meets the man of her dreams…he “puts a ring on it”…and they live happily ever after.   (Book deal?  Screen play?  I’m certainly accepting offers…)

I love who I am now and I feel like starting a life with Chris is where exactly I was supposed to end up.  Knowing that the rest of my life is going to be spent with him by my side just seems like the perfect finale to this chapter in my life.  Just the perfect place to run the credits and leave everyone feeling happy and comfortable. 

But to me, this isn’t the end…it’s just the beginning.   And everything is just perfect.

Pinch me.   

Forget Me Not...

So, Beth had been haunting me for the whole summer about how the TNT fit club‘s running group was running the “Forget Me Not” 5K road race for Alzheimer’s research…and that I should join them.  

I think I tried to come up with every conceivable reason why I shouldn’t run it.  I was working the night before.  I was working the night after.  I hadn’t trained enough.  I would sweat too much.  I was scared that I wouldn’t finish.  I thought I may actually die. 

But, none of it phased her.  Shocking. 

So, when I had the opportunity to switch off work the night before the race, and knew I would at least be able to sleep beforehand, I begrudgingly agreed.  Running a road race is something I have secretly wanted to do my entire life.  So, Beth finally appealed to the tiny sliver of my “inner runner” and when I said yes I almost immediately felt nauseated.

I have been running with Beth for almost a year now.  Sometimes we run for our whole session and sometimes we just run a few miles as a warm up.   I love and hate it all at the same time.  I love that I physically CAN run.  It’s something I have never been able to do…even if I wanted to.   But running is hard.   And "hard" just plain scares me sometimes. 

So, this past Sunday was race day.  I did everything I was supposed to.  I ate my carb-ish breakfast 2 hours before.  I made my playlist for my iPod.  I peed at least 15 times.  And before I knew was race time….and there I was…#22 pinned to my shirt….standing in a group of people looking waaaay less nervous than me. 

As we started, I stuck with Beth for the first 2 miles...afraid to leave her side.  But, trying to keep up with her, I lost my concentration...lost the rhythm to my breathing...and nearly thought I was going die.   Despite all of that, with tears in my eyes, I kept running.  Beth slowed my pace and told me keep going.  She told me I could do it...over and over.  

And just like always, for some crazy reason, I believed her. 

I didn’t have a goal time to beat.  I just wanted to finish the whole race…without stopping…running the whole time.  And somehow, I did that…in 34 minutes and 1 second…with Beth’s hand on my back as I crossed the finish line.  

It was one of the proudest moments of my life.  And one I will certainly not forget.  

Summer 2011


Remember me?

With the way my life has been going, I not only find it hard to find the time to write…but I find it harder to come up with interesting things to say.  I wonder to myself if you guys are really interested in hearing me drone on about the details of my life, despite the fact that most of what I have to say is not “gastric bypass” related. 

But today I got this in my e-mail:

After reading this, I felt so guilty.  So, while trying to sleep tonight, I just laid there awake with words tumbling around in my head…just inspired to write.   And my body appears to not let me sleep until I take care of this.  So here we are.

Let me start by getting you up to speed to what has lived up to be the best summer of my life.   

This June, Chris and I vacationed in Port St. Lucie, FL…or as I like to refer to it “Golf Central, USA.”  My fantastically awesome parents gave us a week at their time share to use and we had an amazing time!

I know…they totally rule.

I was so excited that Chris could play golf...a lot of golf.  Him being gone for 4 hours in the morning gave me my own time to spend at the spa getting massaged and hanging out in my "bought in the regular sized section" swimsuit.  Or should I say "swimsuits"...since I did buy 3 this year!   But, I also did something pretty unexpected. 

This is me, collapsed
 after running 3miles
for the first time
I worked out on my vacation.  

Yup.  This girl brought her gym clothes and running shoes to Florida…and used them!  In fact, running there was so much fun I ran 3 miles….twice.   Even now, thinking about it, I chuckle.  Sometimes seeing how my personality has totally changed really boggles my mind.  It’s awesome.

Besides hanging out in Port St. Lucie, we also spent a couple of days at the happiest place on earth…Disney World!  I absolutely loved it….and Chris certainly indulged my child-like excitement.  There is just something about being in love at Disney.  It’s totally cliché and sappy but, I felt like a princess the whole time. 

It was a fantastic summer.  I continue to eat like a normal person and actually have been able to eat more than ever, recently.  For the first time in over a year I have actually had to be conscious of what I put in my mouth for fear of gaining weight. 

July 18th, I was 18 months post-op.  The doctor told me that this is the point in your recovery where you are on your own.  The surgery is no longer causing you to drop pounds for no reason and it’s up to you to stay at your goal weight.  Luckily for me, I remain at a comfortable 177-181lbs.  I have watch what I eat because if I am naughty, I know will, as I often say, “dump so hard.”

I continue to work out on a regular basis.  This summer, I worked really hard on transitioning on motivating myself to get to the gym on my own at least once a week.  As in…by myself.  No Beth.  No formulated program.  Just me and my own little brain trying to figure everything out.   

I don’t know why I am so freaking scared of being at the gym without Beth.  I know most of it is because I just miss seeing her and chatting about life, but I still think I have some PTSD from high school gym class.  Becoming an “independent exerciser” is an important part of my metamophasis as a person.  But it didn’t make it any easier to start.  When I told her how nervous I was about the fact that people might be looking at me while I was there, she said something that was completely unexpected.

“Really, Kristen?….I mean, who do you think you are?”

This really caught me off guard and I was shocked.  But she continued to explain that people go to the gym to work-out and no one really cares what I’m doing there.

And she was so right.  

I haven’t felt bad being alone at the gym since.  Now, the only hard part is getting motivated enough to get out of my warm bed at 8am. 

 We’re still working on that...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Lost and Found

Hey y’all…

I know I know….I let my blog go dormant for a while.  This “being in love” thing has really started to rule my life.  But, honestly, I couldn’t be happier…and doing all those “lovey dovey” relationship type things with Chris has taken up so much time…but in SUCH a good way. 

It’s awesome.

Anywhoo, I was on my computer today and found a half written blog that I never finished from Easter.  I thought finishing and posting it would be the best was to revive this blog and get myself back on track.  So stay tuned…there is WAY more to come…




Easter 2011...Meeting the families!

When I was a little girl…oh, maybe 10 years old…my mother took my sister and me aside and told us that the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy retired. 

I’m totally not even kidding.

So, I haven’t had an Easter basket since then.  And I never really cared because candy wasn’t my thing anyways.  I was more excited about the ham and mac and cheese.  Which is a perfect example of how I got into this situation in the first place…but I digress…

This year, I was fortunate enough to have Chris’ parents, grandfather, sister (Michelle) and her boyfriend (James) over to my house a few days before Easter for dinner.  Chris cooked some delicious food, we drank more wine than we should have, and decorated Easter eggs while laughing up a storm.   

It was so awesome.

Our artwork!

My egg
So cute, right?
Chris' egg
I swear, he did that on his own!  

Also, for the first time in almost 20 years, I was given an Easter basket, thanks to Chris' mom, Ann.  (Mostly sugar free, of course…)  Seriously, I love Chris’ mom....and I legit pray on a regular basis that this woman becomes my mother-in-law someday.

Anyway, I ended up with about a million hard-boiled eggs in my fridge.  Something I haven’t made in a really long time.  And it really reminded me about what a great snack they were when I first started eating more solid foods post op.

I hated the yolks, but I loved an egg white with a little salt and pepper sprinkled on it for breakfast.  They are a super great source of protein and were a good change from eating oatmeal….every….single….day.

This time I had them as snacks and cut up on salads.  It was delicious and made me feel way healthier about eating an occasional Resse’s peanut butter egg! 

We ate the actual Easter  dinner at my parent's house and then went to meet Chris' family for dessert.  I had butterflies the entire time, but all of the introductions went well and, like I said, Chris' family is just phenomenal!

Back row: Chris, Uncle Bill, Jillian, Mike
Front row: Me, Mom, Dad

Personally, I think my acceptance had a lot to do with the chocolate chip cookie brownies I brought, but who knows... (they are a delicious and easy dessert...but soooo not post-op friendly!  Seriously, beware.  They are dump central. )  Check out the recipe!  FYI...I did not frost them and they were just fine.  I mean....holy extra calories, Batman!

So post-op life is grand.  I wish I knew a year ago that my life was going to be this good.  It would have made my recovery a lot easier to take, mentally.  Just remember, post-op buddies....there IS a light at the end of this "foodless" tunnel!  I promise! 

Friday, April 29, 2011

Gastric bypass on Chronicle....

This is a pretty cool story that was aired on Chronicle a few weeks ago about a woman's 10 month gastric bypass recovery.  Check it out!

"In high school, Colleen Michaels-Walsh weighed 550 pounds. Over the succeeding years she lost and gained weight, jeopardizing her health, her work life, and worrying her family. Finally, she decided to take a drastic measure: gastric bypass surgery. Over the last ten months, Chronicle followed her progress as she attempted to regain control of her life; tonight, Anthony Everett tells her story." -Chronicle website

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Making goals...

In the essay I had to write to be accepted into the gastric bypass center, they asked you why you wanted to have this surgery.  There were a lot of really good things I could have written to answer this simple question.  Improving my heath…looking better…becoming more active.  Instead, I just wrote the first thing that popped into my head. 

I wanted to fit into the seats at Fenway.

Despite my outward “girly girl” appearance, I enjoy watching (NOT playing) sports.  I was brought up watching lots of games with my dad and now that I’m older, going to games has become one of my favorite things to do….when I can afford it. 

But, even though I enjoyed it, I can remember the anxiety that I felt about one simple thing. 

The seats.
The constant wondering if my butt was going fit in and not bust out of the sides of the seat was just horrible.   Even when I could squeeze my ginormous behind in there, I was extremely uncomfortable and the anxiety about it could almost ruin my whole time.  

Well, a few weeks ago, Chris took me to a Bruins hockey game at the Bank North Garden in Boston.  It was the first time I had been to a sporting event since my surgery and I was really excited.

We had a quick pizza dinner before we went in.  This was naughty, I know, but I only ate a piece and a half of pizza and was SO full…(instead of the whole pie I used to be able to eat!) 

When we went inside and sat down, I was surprised by how comfortable I was….There was space on both sides of my butt and I could even cross my legs.  It was the first time I had a “gastric bypass moment” in a REALLY long time and it really made me smile. 

Even though it rained and I looked like a wet dog that night, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  It was fun to see the game…but it was just as fun to know I made some of my own "goals" that night, as well!  

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Gastric bipass and diabetes...

So I was shopping, the other day and ended up at the nail salon.  I was only there for a minute, but when I stepped in, I saw part of this clip on the ABC news.  And as a nurse I was amazed. 

I have watched patients (and loved ones) suffer and die from complications related to diabetes.  Seeing how much a gastric bipass can help is so exciting because I'm sure it can save so many people. 

Take a peek at the clip if you have time! 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Answers for Chrissi...

The Fact that people find my story interesting still makes me feel a little weird.

Don’t get me wrong, though!  I’m glad that what I’ve done or what I’ve said has helped or inspired people to go make positive change in their lifestyle.  The effect I have apparently had on people has been a consequence of having this surgery that I never expected.   But, when I really think about all the people who I don't know, who know all about just makes me chuckle.  

That being said, I LOVE getting comments from you guys...telling me what you are doing or asking me questions.  It really makes me feel like I am doing this for a reason…and keeps me writing.

So, I guess this is another reminder to feel free to ask me questions, or leave me comments...and I will always do my best to try and help you out!

Anyway, this is a comment that was left on my last entry by Chrissi.  Since she posted these questions publicly and they may be relevant to other curious readers, I figured it would be OK to answer her questions here.  

Hi Kristen.

Thank you for sharing your experiences. My husband and I enjoy reading your blog. I've been doing a fair amount of research on the surgery an I feel your blog has given just what I was looking for....information from a real person I can relate to about the surgery.

My husband's doctor is recommending the surgery and he will be meeting with the psychologists soon.. Also, my doctor has been recommending me to see a nutritionist and I think the surgery might be in my future too. I am nervous because it is major surgery, as you know and I sometime find that I dwell on the complications more than I should.

I am sure you must get a lot of requests for information. Would it be possible for you to share the name of your surgeon? Also, did you meet with more than one surgeon before making your decision on who would do the surgery? How long was the process from the doctors/insurance ok until you had the actual surgery? I know you are busy with your life. Congratulations, you look amazing. I don't think I mentioned that yet. 

I would appreciate any information you are willing to provide me with.




I had my surgery done at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.  Check out the Weight Loss Center's" website here.  

My surgeon's name is Dr. Benjamin Schneider, but there are a few surgeons @ BIDMC that perform bariatric surgery.  He was the only surgeon I met with before my surgery and because I liked him so much, I didn't feel the need to meet with anyone else.  Dr. Schneider was phenomenal and (if you live in the Boston area) I would recommend him 100%.   

The process to schedule my surgery from start to finish took a few months.  (I got my referral in October, scheduled my surgery in January, and had my surgery in February.)  The first thing I had to do was to go to my primary care physician to get a referral to the weight lost center.  There were then several appointments with medical doctors, nutritionists, social workers, and psychologists.  Once I was approved by all of these people, I then made an appointment with the surgeon.   As soon as he approved me, I scheduled my surgery.  

In the beginning of the process, the center gives you a list of questions to ask your insurance company to see if you qualify and to find out how much of your surgery will be covered.  The entire cost of my surgery was covered, minus some doctor visit co-pays and a one time fee required by the center.  (I called it the "make sure you are serious" fee, but they said it covered costs of things not reimbursed by insurance.  It was 400-500$.)

Depending on your insurance your timing and coverage may be different.  The center seemed to know the different methods with the different insurance companies.  I was actually shocked at how easy it was.

I hope this helps!  Thanks for the compliments and good luck on your journey.  I hope you will keep me posted on how it goes!  : )