Saturday, February 24, 2018

Post Weight Loss Surgery Menus: A day in my pouch and Cancer Update

A day in my pouch is a series of blog posts to show what a typical daily menu looks like in my post weight loss surgery world. Today's protein packed delicious menu...

Breakfast: Chilly AM but I felt up to a walk and I took my breakfast with me. I love these Cottage Cheese Doubles (Knudsen/Breakstone) they have a little section of fruit goo, the goo has some sugars, so if you are super sensitive add in moderation. I get the Pineapple ones, lowest sugars of all their flavors and I have no issues with it. I took a little baggie of Protein Granola that I sprinkled in. I like the crunch.

Healthy Breakfasts Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss RNY VSG WLS Menus

I make a lot of different flavors of Protein Granola (Spiced Chai, Chocolate, Espresso) but this time I made it with Double Stuffed Cookie (aka Oreo) Protein and tossed a few pieces of freeze dried Banana into it after it cooled. Yum!

Shelly's Protein Granola

1/4 cup Oatmeal, dry
1/4 cup Double Stuffed Cookie Protein Powder (any whey or whey isolate protein powder works great)
1/4 cup chopped Nuts (any, I used Pecans & Almonds)
1 Tablespoon Almond Butter
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Tablespoon Sugar-Free Vanilla Torani Syrup

Squeeze together with your hands till clumps form. You need to use your hands for this one. Place on a Pam sprayed, foil-lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Healthy Breakfasts Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss RNY VSG WLS Menus

Let it cool. It crisps as it cools. Crumble into smaller bite-sized pieces. When completely cool, store in an airtight container. This a great snack on a hike or topping for protein ice cream, ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, protein pudding or yogurt.

Healthy Breakfasts Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss RNY VSG WLS Menus

More Eggface High Protein Breakfast Recipes and Ideas

For those following along... I had my Post Thyroid Cancer Surgery Check-up and the Pathology Report was great. Looks like my surgeon got it all. It was a single tumor (stage 1) encased in the center of my right thyroid and no other area was affected. Obviously I have to keep checking the area with periodic ultrasounds but for now, I am all clear. Feeling blessed. Next step is an appointment with an Endocrinologist who will be looking at blood tests (TSH, T3, T4, Calcitonin) to determine if my left thyroid is kicking in and picking up the slack. Fingers crossed, it'll mean little to no medication. I'm still a little more tired than I should be and I have had a few too many headaches lately though that could be from the stress of all the "patient responsibility" portion of the medical bills that are rolling in... oh and suddenly having a car payment again thanks to the Christmas Eve car scrooges. If any of my blog pals win the Powerball this weekend and have an extra $5000 they can spare you'll have a pal for life... I should probably play... I mean there's a 5% chance of a thyroid nodule turning out to be thyroid cancer and mine was. I figure I will either win the lottery next or umm get hit by lightning. LOL, maybe you shouldn't stand too close to me in a rainstorm that's all I'm saying ;)

Catch-up on my Thyroid Cancer journey: Part 1: Diagnosis, Part 2: Treatment Plan, Part 3: Surgery/Recovery

OK Back to the food...

Lunch: If you are jonesing for a Grilled Cheese Sandwich you should try this. I make a batch of Savory Ricotta Pancakes and use them like the "bread" by sprinkling a little cheese in the middle and warming them in a nonstick pan till the cheese is melted and gooey. Soooo good.

Healthy Recipes Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss RNY VSG WLS Menus

Shelly's Savory Ricotta Pancakes

1 Egg, beaten
1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese
3 Tablespoons Multigrain Pancake Mix
1 Tablespoon Parmesan Cheese
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 Tablespoon Chives
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
1 Green Onion, diced fine
dash of Salt
a few twists of Black Pepper

Mix pancake ingredients together. Spray non-stick pan with Pam. Cook on low till bubbles appear, flip. Cook till done. Makes 8 pancakes (about the size of the container those BreathSavers 3 Hour Mints that I love, about 3"-ish across.) These pancakes can be made ahead and reheated.

Healthy Lunches Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss RNY VSG WLS Menus

For the Grilled Cheese "Sandwiches" Pancakes: You'll need a little sprinkle or 1/4 of a slice of some good melting cheese... I use Colby, Jack, or Muenster cheese mostly.

Cook's Note: I used whole milk ricotta if you use part skim. Drain through a mesh sieve lined with a coffee filter for several hours or overnight in the fridge. Avoid ricotta that says "creamier formula" you want regular ricotta.

More Eggface Pancakes Savory and Sweet

Dinner: I made Mini Meatloaves for dinner the other night so dinner was already done basically. I have found the trick to eating leftovers as a post-op is to keep things from drying out. I love this gadget for that. You put a couple of tablespoons of water in the base and it steam heats the food. One of the best post-op gadgets in my kitchen.

Healthy Dinners Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss RNY VSG WLS Menus

Shelly's Greek Mini Meatloaf

1 1/4 pounds Ground Beef (or Turkey)
1/4 cup Oatmeal, dry
1/4 cup Milk
1 Egg, beaten
1 Yellow Onion, diced
1/4 cup Sliced Black Olives
1/3 cup Feta Cheese, crumbled
1 teaspoon Oregano
a few twists of Black Pepper

Soak oatmeal in milk for 1 minute (you can use almond meal or bread crumbs if you do bread) Beat egg. Add egg and soaked oats to ground meat. Saute onions until slightly golden. Set aside to cool. Combine cooled onions and all remaining ingredients together. Divide into 8 equal mounds. Form into mini meatloaves or if you have this super groovy pan like me use it. Bake for 45 minutes in a 350-degree oven. These freeze well either cooked or uncooked.

Healthy Dinners Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss RNY VSG WLS Menus

I served them originally with a salad and the leftovers I served with cooked chickpea sprinkled with a little Zaatar seasoning.

More Eggface Bariatric Friendly Dinner Recipes

Snacks: Coffee, Tea (so sad Trader Joe's discontinued my favorite Rooibos & Honeybush so I'm savoring the last few bags) and I made a protein shake when I got back from my walk: Celebrate Vitamins Wildberry Protein 20 single serve packet, Almond Milk, Ice.

Healthy Recipes Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss RNY VSG WLS Menus

More Eggface Favorite Protein Shake Recipes
More Eggface Post Weight Loss Surgery Menus

Hope everyone has a great weekend. Check your thyroid.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Post Thyroid Cancer Surgery Update

Last week I had my thyroid cancer surgery. I was surprisingly not nervous. I really felt comfortable with my surgeon and our game plan. If it was as it appeared on the ultrasound contained to the right thyroid and no lymph nodes were involved he'd take just the right thyroid (lobectomy) but if it was more involved he had my OK to take it all (thyroidectomy.) Just the right side would be a big win and would mean fewer complications (parathyroid damage/calcium issues), no additional treatments (radioactive iodine I131 which is annoying and lonely sounding) and potentially little to no medication if my left thyroid continues to do its thing. I woke up in recovery and recall my surgeon saying that he, in fact, was able to just take the right side. He came in later that day and told me again. The cancer hadn't gone beyond the thyroid, no lymph nodes were involved, it was still about the same size, about a 2 cm rock. Woot Woot. I won't know about the need for thyroid medication for a while pending blood work but I am hopeful.

Catch-up on my Thyroid Cancer journey: Part 1: Diagnosis, Part 2: Treatment Plan.

I was the first surgery on the schedule so required to check-in at 5:30 AM. I live about 50 miles from the hospital and the traffic in the AM can be pretty bad so we decided to stay the night closer and head over in the AM. I wanted to give a shoutout to the Marriot La Jolla who not only had a great AAA discount but when I commented on the pretty cheese platter they posted on their Instagram account surprised me by having one in my room waiting when I arrived.

Marriot La Jolla California Southern California

Thankfully, I was able to eat or drink until midnight so my Mum and I sat in Marriott fluffy robes and had a little cheese tidbit party which as you know from past cheese tidbit parties is our thing. I don't eat crackers as you know so my Mum scored. I missed my cucumber crackers and cold cuts I usually accompany my cheese eating but mmmm cheese.

Everyone at UCSD Thorton Hospital was great. I was thankful I brought my Mum along. I usually go it alone by choice (RNY, plastics, etc.) but I'll tell you it was so nice to have someone feed me ice chips those first few hours while I was in recovery, no one would have kept coming to do that at the rate I wanted them. I was moved to my own room at around 11 AM, better bed, closer bathroom, and TV. I highly recommend the No Sugar Added Vanilla Pudding. It was heaven on my throat. My throat was sore and pitchy for a few days but I think my talking voice is almost back, not singing just yet.

We lucked out and I had no one in the bed next to mine so Mum spent a more comfortable night. She ate my fish and steamed veggies for dinner. I tried but I was still having trouble swallowing so I just ate tomato bisque soup and of course more pudding. I didn't sleep at all... which as you know is an issue for me anyway but then add-in pain and noises and scratchy hospital gowns and vitals. Speaking of scratchy hospital gowns this is me sporting mine post-op...

Lobectomy Thyroidectomy

I was thankful that night for the Food Network marathon of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives but after about 20 episodes I'm OK if I never see another again in this lifetime. I ordered an omelet for breakfast and I actually ate about 1/4 of it. So I felt like that was a big improvement from the night before already. I was released before Noon on Saturday. The ride home was long and I felt every bump even with a pillow so when I got home I was glad it was time for a pain pill. I spent the day on the couch, propped up. Sunday I took my first shower and began to feel human again. The first few days were uncomfortable and I definitely needed the pain meds but I also hate how they make me feel so I axed them after a few days and have been just doing the occasional ice pack for the last day or so. Soft foods and protein shakes help...

Celebrate Vitamins Wildberry Protein 20 Frappe

Shelly's Valentine Protein Shake

8-10 oz. Milk (any)
1 packet Celebrate Vitamins Wildberry Protein 20
1 Tablespoon Sugar-Free Strawberry Torani Syrup
1 Tablespoon Sugar-Free Vanilla Torani Syrup
a few ice cubes

Blend on high. Top with optional No Sugar Added Homemade Whipped Cream & Nonpareils

More Eggface Protein Shakes

I also made heart-shaped pancakes for Valentine's Day. Well, technically I only made one heart-shaped because I was on drugs but they weren't THAT good...

Sugar Free Sugarfree Low Carb Protein Ricotta Cheese

Shelly's White Chocolate Ricotta Pancakes

1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese
1 Egg, beaten
1 Tablespoon Sugar-Free White Chocolate Jello Pudding Mix, dry
1 Tablespoon Sugar-Free Vanilla Torani Syrup
3 Tablespoons Multigrain Pancake Mix

Mix all ingredients together. I use whole milk ricotta, if you use part skim, drain first. Spray pan with non-stick spray. Spoon a dollop of the mixture into the pan and pat flat. Cook on low till golden, flip, pat flat, cook till done. Serve each pancake with a drizzle of warm Sugar-Free Maple Syrup or chopped Strawberries mixed with a little Sugar-Free Strawberry Jam that has been warmed in the microwave or they are delicious just plain. Makes 8 pancakes.

These can be frozen between slices of wax paper or kept in the fridge a day or 2 and reheated (nuke 25 seconds) for breakfast during the week. Surprising good cold too. Leftovers usually get some SF jam, almond or peanut butter smeared on them, wrapped in foil and they become a great breakfast-on-the-go.

More Eggface Pancakes

I ventured out for the first time on Tuesday to Starbucks. I went to the supermarket for a few things the next day. Yesterday I went to the Hemo Doc to get my 3rd iron infusion. So my outings are getting a little longer. No exercise yet but I am hoping to get back to my walks next week. Now is when I am thankful I work from home because I am yellow bruised from my chin to my boobs. I have steri-strips and they are still on so I haven't seen my scar yet. Ehh just add it to the many others on this body. For those who ask about it... I already have a creative story about my short-lived career in the circus as the assistant to the one-eyed, knife thrower. LOL.

Thank you for the prayers, lovely messages and I've been enjoying the beautiful flowers the Obesity Action Coalition Board and Staff sent me. My issue of Your Weight Matters Magazine came yesterday and I sat and read it cover to cover while dipping cucumber spears in plain Greek yogurt sprinkled with Everything Bagel Spice. I'll know more after next Tuesday's check-up. Fingers crossed the post-surgery pathology says they got it all.

I'm starting to cook more so I'll be back posting more recipes this week! Thanks for following along on this unexpected part of my journey.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Post Weight Loss Surgery Menus: A day in my pouch

A day in my pouch is a series of blog posts to show what a typical daily menu looks like in my post weight loss surgery world. Yesterday's protein packed delicious menu...

Breakfast: I'm having a protein shake every day this week. Today is one of my favorites: Celebrate Chocolate Mint with Cafe Bustelo Espresso for a little extra umphf of energy and to boost up my protein for my upcoming surgery and later I had a hunk of a Red Velvet Protein Wafer.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve Low Carb Protein Recipes Cooking Menus

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve Low Carb Protein Recipes Cooking Menus

More Eggface Favorite Protein Shakes and Smoothie Recipes

My Thyroid Cancer Update: (Not sure what's going on here's the post to catch up) I had a little drama finding a surgeon. There were no head & neck, thyroid cancer surgeons in my area that accepted my insurance but after lots of phone calls and lots of annoying hold music I was able to find a surgeon about 50 miles away. I have a fellow Obesity Action Coalition Board Member who knew him and highly praised his skills so that made me feel more at ease. I met with him last week and I'm on the surgery schedule this Friday, February 9th. 

My Cancer Journey Patient Blogs Voices Journey

The plan is a Thyroid Lobectomy which is the removal of half of the thyroid gland which has the malignant nodule (it appears to my surgeon to have not spread, still 1.9 cm on the right side according to the latest ultrasound) but I gave him the all-clear to take it all if there is the hint the other side could have issues. The benefit of leaving half my thyroid is perhaps (based on labs and how I feel after) not being on thyroid medication for the rest of my life, which would be a big positive, as some of you know who are on it, it often has a slew of side effects that can be managed and adjusted but it would be even better if they could be avoided entirely. But... like I said getting a good look inside will determine what's needed and I'll just hope for the best. Prayers and good vibes are much appreciated. I will update via my Twitter and Instagram account as soon as I am able and not as drugged... or maybe I'll update while I am drugged... that could be interesting ;) LOL.

Lunch: I got home later than I hoped yesterday. I went to buy some easy to slip-on slippers and a robe so my bare toosh doesn't make an appearance like Jack Nicholson's in Something's Gotta Give. Thankfully, this is literally one of the quickest meals ever and soooo satisfying. You can use any cooked meat you like, ground turkey, chicken, beef, pork. Shrimp is great too. It's a great use for leftover chicken breast or steak too. Just brown the meat and toss it in to warm through toward the end of cooking. This time I used ground sausage meat.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve Low Carb Protein Recipes Cooking Menus

Shelly's Egg Roll Bowl

1 (14 - 16 oz.) Bag Coleslaw Mix (or any salad mix that is mostly cabbage)
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar
2 Green Onions, diced
1-2 cloves Fresh Garlic, grated
1-2 teaspoons (to taste, I like a lot) Fresh Ginger, grated
a few twists of Black Pepper
2 Tablespoons of Slivered Almonds, toasted
Optional: Any Cooked Meat (about 1/2 - 3/4 cup)

Saute the coleslaw mix, green onion, soy, rice wine vinegar, ginger, and garlic until limp about 8 minutes. Add sliced/chopped cooked meat and a few twists of pepper, toss till warmed through. I add toasted almond slivers I like the nutty crunch surprise in every few bites (toast the almonds 1-2 minutes in a dry pan, stir once or twice, don't walk away they'll burn quickly.)

More Eggface Healthy Asian Inspired Meals

Dinner: Leftovers from our Super Bowl/Pride and Prejudice marathon. Amazon Prime has the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice free right now. I did watch a little Super Bowl but I couldn't help getting my Colin Firth fix. If you don't have Prime (you can still view it, just get the 30-day free trial they have) but you may be hooked on all the perks and want to keep it. Our snacks were BBQ Beef Egg Bites (crustless quiches) and Cucumber Spears with 2 protein-packed Greek Yogurt Dips and Roasted Almonds.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve Low Carb Protein Recipes Cooking Menus

Shelly's BBQ Beef Bites (Crustless Quiches)

5 Eggs, beaten
1 cup Shredded Beef (leftover pot roast is great for this)
1/2 cup Shredded Cheese (any you love, I used Colby)
2 Tablespoon BBQ Sauce
2 Green Onions, diced
dash of Salt
a few twists of Black Pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients together. Spoon into lightly greased (Pam non-stick spray works great for this) mini muffin tins. Bake for 30 minutes at 350. Let them cool a few moments they pull away and pop right out. Makes 24.

Cooks Note: They do make sugar free/low sugar BBQ sauces but I just use the real deal. It's 2 Tablespoons spread out over 24 egg bites so the sugar isn't an issue for most but if you are highly sensitive maybe try one of those. 

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve Low Carb Protein Recipes Cooking Menus

Oh, and the 2 yogurt dips for the cucumber spears were Everything Bagel Dip: 1/2 cup plain Greek Yogurt with Everything Bagel Spice mixed in and Bacon Dip: 1/2 cup plain Greek Yogurt with real Bacon Bits mixed in.

More Eggface Egg Bites (Crustless Quiches)
More Bariatric Surgery Friendly Party Foods

Snacks: Coffee, Tea and a slice of my Chocolate Microwave Protein Cake with a squirt of Homemade, No Sugar Added Whipped Cream and a drizzle of Sugar-free Strawberry Sauce (Smuckers) for dessert. Mmmm tasted like a chocolate-covered strawberry.

More Eggface Protein Cake Recipes
More Eggface Weight Loss Surgery Friendly Desserts

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve Low Carb Protein Recipes Cooking Menus

More Post Weight Loss Surgery Menus 

One more thing on the cancer front... I've been reading lots about the 13 cancers associated with overweight and obesity (CDC, 2018)

If you are considering addressing your health and weight (via bariatric surgery or any other means) and you are on the fence and weighing those pros and cons... I would consider reducing your cancer risk as an added plus side benefit.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Cancer and Car Theft

Well, I think I'm ready to share some news about what's been going on in my world. You know I spent most of November after I returned from ObesityWeek in Washington DC sick with the flu. It was a bad strain this year as anyone that got it can tell you. I got over the major symptoms but I was still feeling not quite myself: swollen glands, tired/sluggish, cold, anxious. I thought maybe my iron/ferritin was just getting low again, a few years ago I dipped low and it required a round of infusions, which for those that don't know sounds like a big deal but really it's just an IV drip (sometimes an hour or so, in the past I had Injectafer which is quicker 30 minutes, 2 treatments, a week apart) and I was back up in the black for the past few years. I am faithful in taking my vitamins (a non-negotiable, post-bariatric surgery) so when I was still feeling not like myself after a month I knew something was up.

I went to my Primary Care Provider (PCP) who ordered blood work and it came back Ferritin 10 (range is 10-232.) I emailed him when I saw the results and asked for a referral to a Hematologist. I received a reply that it wasn't needed because I wasn't anemic. I emailed again and received no reply. So I made an appointment to have a little chat: Me: "I really think I need iron infusions." His reply: "I don't know who is telling you that you are anemic but you aren't." I explained my symptoms again and I finally got him to refer me to a Hematologist. Me: "I get you are saying I am not anemic but do you have a problem giving me a referral? I'd like to hear that from a specialist." Him: "No, but you aren't anemic." Me: "Good."

I couldn't see the Hematologist that I'd been referred to a few years ago as my insurance no longer covered him and was sent to a new office and I mean brand new, they were still having furniture delivered, disorganized, not fully staffed. I wasn't pleased but New Hemo Doc was pleasant enough and said he'd put in for infusions but he didn't think they would be covered until I dropped below 10 (he was right they were initially denied) but he ordered more blood work said he'd resubmit as soon as my ferritin dropped below 10 and then he asked me about a nodule they had found in my neck via ultrasound this past summer.

Rewind... well over a year ago I went to a health fair with my Mum. We both had a free stroke test ultrasound. The technician told me after mine that I should tell my Dr that he saw something on the ultrasound and to give me a thyroid test. At my next appointment, I mentioned it and my PCP (yes, same one as above) said something to the effect of health fairs causing unneeded tests... he'd order a thyroid test and ultrasound but it was probably just a nodule... tons of people have nodules that they are only cancer in 1% of cases so it's "usually unnecessary to have a need stuck in your neck." My blood work came back "fine" and ultrasound confirmed a nodule but again he gave me the line about the needle in your neck... so I passed on the needle.

Fast forward...
New Hemo Doc: What's this nodule mentioned in your file. Have you had a needle biopsy on it?
Me: No, my PCP said tons of people have them, that they are only cancerous in 1% of cases so it's usually unnecessary to have a need stuck in your neck. Why? Could that be causing my issues?
New Hemo Doc: It could. It's no big deal. It's a fine needle... like blood work. Get it done.

I scheduled the biopsy for December 20th, trying to get in before the end of the year when my insurance was changing. I figured if I didn't just do it, New Hemo Doc might not push for infusions. It was a fairly easy procedure... sort of like the ultrasound of the neck I had in the summer but instead of lying down I was in a cool motorized reclining chair that tipped me back, I felt a little pressure, 2-3 needle pricks then ice. I waited in the cool reclining chair with ice on my neck while the Biopsy Doc examined the tissue. Instant pathology results. I remember thinking that's great I don't have to wait for days to get the all clear and I really want one of these chairs.

A few minutes later Biopsy Doc returned, "Well, it's thyroid cancer." I remember saying "What?!" She must have walked into the wrong room. "Yep, it's thyroid cancer but if you are going to get cancer this is the best cancer to have. It's highly treatable. I'll be sending your doctor the report and you should expect a call from him tomorrow but if he doesn't call you, call him. Do you have any questions?" I think I asked her what the treatments are? Do I have to have chemo? Am I going to lose my hair? Sort of in a rapid-fire string. I felt like I should have better questions but this was not supposed to happen. I remember her saying something about surgery and chemo only being necessary if it's spread beyond the thyroid. I could feel myself welling up and just needed to get out of the building. So I said thank you, was handed some aftercare paper and walked into the waiting room. My Mum was with me and I remember her looking at my face and I could feel my eyes widen in that "holy crap!" deer in the headlights look and she said "what, what" and I remember just saying, "come on, let's go" as I walked out of the office. I got to the parking lot before I burst into tears and told her. I remember straightening myself up and saying nothing has changed. I walked in there with this and the only thing that has changed is me knowing and how everything was going to be OK. So yeah... not a good day in my world.

I spent the rest of the day Googling, freaking out, crying, and a little cursing "WTH?! My PCP said 1 f---ing percent." (It's actually closer to 5% of nodules that are cancerous as I am learning more.) My Hemo Doc called me later that night and said, "So you got some bad news?" "Umm yep." He said he'd see me on the 27th and we'll talk about finding a surgeon to remove the thyroid." I already knew from my Googling I was looking at Full or Partial Thyroidectomy (perhaps removal of some lymph nodes in the area) then depending on the biopsy I might need I-131 treatment where you take a radioactive iodine pill and need to be quarantined for a few days from people and pets (it targets and kills any remaining thyroid tissue) and a lifetime of a prescription thyroid hormone replacement medication (oh joy) but that is usually it. Unless... cancer has spread beyond the thyroid and then well you know the drill chemo, radiation, that hair loss I was so worried about. But... one step at a time. I remember telling him I had new insurance starting in January, that I was hoping it wouldn't cause delays and he said to bring that information on the 27th. He said to try and have a Happy Holiday and I said you too.

Christmas. Wow, I really had forgotten. I would try and enjoy it. It was just my Mum and I. My sister just had her 2nd knee replacement so was recovering from that still and my brother had visited earlier in the month. We went shopping for a few things on Christmas Eve. I made a few seafood dishes, it's tradition and I tried to be cheerful but my mind kept going back to worst-case scenarios and what-ifs which only got me upset and gave me a gnarly headache and the Tylenol I kept taking wasn't doing a thing for it, so I went to bed pretty early. It was a quiet Christmas Day we stayed home and watched movies, I made a couple of steaks with sauteed mushrooms and I made a super yummy loaded cauliflower side dish.

On the 26th we decided we needed some things from the store and at around noon when I walked around the corner of my house... I was staring at... an empty driveway. My car was gone. Seriously... you can't make this shit up. We think based on our neighbor not seeing it on Christmas Day it was gone late Christmas Eve (he got one of those hovercrafts for Christmas and was flying it down the street and thought we were out visiting for the holiday... it's our only car.)  I filed a police report and as of today they still haven't recovered it. I remember waiting for the cops to come take the report and thinking well had this happened a few days ago I would have been way more devastated but hearing the word cancer sort of puts everything into perspective but... WTH?! Seriously?! I actually had to Uber to my Hemo Doc appointment on the 27th to hear about my cancer diagnosis. And OK, I know it's bad karma but I figure I'll get a pass on this one... my car trunk, if you aren't careful can fall on your head. I know about it and it's still happened to me, twice... and it's gnarly-knot-creating-concussion-hard. Gosh, I hope the creeps who stole my car need to put something in the trunk ;)

Anyway... the New Year came and with it a new attitude. I went to Denver for the Obesity Action Strategic Planning Meeting/Retreat and am really excited about all the plans we have for the year. I'm serving as Chair of the National Board this year. All the great plans are keeping me busy and sane. I can't wait to share all those throughout the year and am hoping to see everyone in July at the Your Weight Matters National Convention. Big plans this year so I need to kick cancer's ass and move on...

So where I'm at now... my insurance change caused some delays for new pre-authorizations but I think we are good on that front now. I had an iron infusion this Friday (my Ferritin dropped to 9 on my last blood work) and while the only in-network surgeon is about 50 miles away I understand he's top notch in his field. I see him this Tuesday for a consult and we'll hopefully schedule surgery in February. Thyroid cancer is very treatable and I'll likely be all good with the removal of some or all of my thyroid. Fingers crossed and prayers welcomed. I'll put some resources I've found helpful at the end of this post for anyone recently diagnosed and Googling who stumbles upon this. I Google a lot and I would be lying if I didn't still sometimes start worrying about what if's (damage to vocal chords during surgery, medication-related weight issues, calcium issues, etc. etc.) but I try not to stay in those thoughts too long. There is power in positive thinking.

If you are still reading along... sorry I know this was loooong... thank you. I have lived the last decade sharing my life post-Bariatric Surgery on this blog so it felt strange not sharing this past month, I just needed a little time to process. I thank you in advance for prayers and good thoughts. They are much appreciated.

Oh and if you take anything away from this blog entry I hope you take this: if you know something is not right DO NOT let anyone push your concerns aside. You know your body better than anyone.

Thyroid Cancer Facts:
• Thyroid cancer is the most common endocrine cancer.
• The cause of most thyroid cancer is unknown.
• Thyroid cancer is one of 13 cancers associated with overweight and obesity.
• Thyroid cancer is a malignant tumor or growth originating within the thyroid gland. It is also called thyroid carcinoma.
• Thyroid cancer is one of the few cancers that has increased in incidence over recent years. More than 56,000 people will be newly diagnosed with thyroid cancer in the United States in 2017 and more than 600,000 people in the U.S. are living with thyroid cancer.
• 2 of every 3 people diagnosed with thyroid cancer are between ages 20 and 55.
• Thyroid cancer is more common in women than in men. More than 7 of 10 people diagnosed with thyroid cancer are female.
• Thyroid cancer is usually highly treatable when found early.

For those wanting to learn more about Thyroid Cancer:
American Thyroid Association - great resource, current treatment guidelines.
ThyCa - this website has been a great resource for information, videos, and patient support.
Here's a great UCLA video presentation: Thyroid Nodules & Thyroid Cancer: What You Need to Know

Friday, January 26, 2018

Post Weight Loss Surgery Menus: A day in my pouch

A day in my pouch is a series of blog posts to show what a typical daily menu looks like in my post weight loss surgery world. Yesterday's protein packed delicious menu...

Breakfast: I had an early doctor's appointment so after I hit the closest Starbucks and ordered those Red Pepper Egg White Sous Vide Bites. I love these suckers. I always wait for a free reward on my app to order them because it sort of pains me to pay as much as a dozen eggs for them (How many batches of my Egg Bites I could make) but they are a yummy breakfast on-the-go.

Gastric Bypass Bariatric Surgery Food Menus Recipes Cooking Weight Loss Low Carb Protein

More Eggface Breakfast On-the-go Recipes and Ideas

Lunch: I had a couple of zucchinis that needed using so I sauteed them with some onion and mushrooms and a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and oregano and served them with a couple of those Real Good Food Enchiladas (P.S. the link has more info about them and an affiliate coupon code for 10% off) with the "tortilla" made of chicken. They cook in the microwave in their little tray in like 4 minutes so perfect for taking to work... but LOL put them in something like this lunch box because otherwise they will totally be stolen from the breakroom fridge... they are so good.

Gastric Bypass Bariatric Surgery Food Menus Recipes Cooking Weight Loss Low Carb Protein

More Eggface Healthy Mexican Inspired Recipes and Ideas

Dinner: The plan was to have lettuce wrapped burgers topped with sauteed mushrooms and cheese but I forgot to take the burgers out of the freezer. So now that is tonight's plan. I had a little leftover zucchini, mushroom and onion mixture from lunch which I planned to use in the morning became breakfast for dinner. I just added a little salsa, a couple of beaten eggs and a sprinkle of cheese and made a sort of frittata. It was delicious. It worked out better. I used those yummy leftovers up (hate waste) and it was too late for burgers by the time I felt like dinner. Those enchiladas are pure protein and fill you.

Gastric Bypass Bariatric Surgery Food Menus Recipes Cooking Weight Loss Low Carb Protein

More Eggface Leftovers Repurposed

Snacks: Too much coffee but I am slightly addicted to Trader Joe's Rooibos & Honey Bush Tea (I've been trying to cut down a bit on caffeine in the evening) now I'm not a tea snob at all (it's bags) but I love the flavor. If you have a TJ's near you pick some up. I made a batch of my Pineapple Upside Down Protein Mini Muffins the other day and still have a few left so I had one of those.

Gastric Bypass Bariatric Surgery Food Menus Recipes Cooking Weight Loss Protein Powder

Shelly's Pineapple Upside Down Mini Protein Muffins

1 Egg, beaten
3 Tablespoons Milk
2 Tablespoons Sugar-Free Torani Syrup (any flavor SF Caramel, Vanilla, Brown Sugar Cinnamon)
1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
3 Tablespoons Multigrain Pancake Mix, dry
2 Tablespoons Almond Flour
1 Tablespoon Sugar-Free Vanilla Pudding Mix, dry
1/4 cup Premier Protein Vanilla 100% Whey Protein Powder
Pinch salt
1 Pineapple Tidbits (100% juice) Fruit Cup, drained well
6 Cherries, cut in half
Chopped Pecans for top

Mix egg, milk, syrup, and oil (applesauce or cottage cheese can sub for oil but 1 T divided between 12 muffins is really not a lot) and combine thoroughly. In a separate bowl, mix pancake mix, almond flour, pudding mix, protein powder, and salt. Tip dry into wet and stir till combined. Cooks note: Any whey or whey isolate protein powder will work.

Spoon a little batter into each non-stick mini muffin pan opening that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Place 3-4 pineapple tidbit pieces on top the batter and pour the remainder of the batter on top and I topped each with a few chopped pecans and a 1/2 of a cherry. Bake at 350 for 13-14 minutes. Edges will be golden, tops dry.

More Eggface Dessert Recipes and Ideas
More Post Bariatric Surgery Menus

It was a pretty tasty day in my world. I hope all is well in yours. xo Shelly

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Celebrate Chocolate Mint Recipes & Giveaway

This post is sponsored by Celebrate Vitamins. I am excited to share with you one of my favorite products their Chocolate Mint Protein 20 Protein Powder and a heads up for an opportunity to win some!

One of my favorite protein powders is Celebrate Vitamins Chocolate Mint Protein 20. If you love Andes mint chocolates or Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies you'll have to give it a try. It's great mixed with water, milk, used in a variety of recipes but my ultimate favorite recipe is this frosty, frappe-style shake with a little espresso to kick-start your day or jump start your afternoon. It's better than anything at Starbucks and better for you too!

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Fitness Health Workout Protein Powder Celebrate Vitamins

Shelly's Chocolate Mint Espresso Protein Shake

8 oz. Milk (any)
1 packet Celebrate Vitamins Chocolate Mint Protein 20 Protein Powder
1/2 tube Instant Espresso Coffee Powder (I used Café Bustelo Instant Coffee Single Serve Packets)
a few cubes of ice

Blend on high. I topped it with a little squirt of Homemade, No Sugar Added Whipped Cream and a sprinkle more of espresso powder.

More Eggface Protein Shake and Smoothie Recipes

It makes a great protein packed, no sugar added dessert too...

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Fitness Health Workout Protein Powder Celebrate Vitamins

Shelly's Chocolate Mint Protein Pudding

2 cups (minus 1 Tablespoon) Milk
1 scoop Celebrate Vitamins Chocolate Mint Protein 20 Protein Powder
1 - 1 oz. small package Sugar-Free Chocolate or Chocolate Fudge Instant Pudding Mix (dry)
1 Tablespoon Sugar-Free Torani Syrup (any flavor)
Optional: Homemade, No Sugar Added Whipped Cream and Nonpareils

Pour the milk, pudding mix, protein powder and syrup flavoring into a shaker bottle. Shake for 3 minutes or until thickened slightly and place in fridge for about 5 minutes to thicken further. Spoon the thickened protein pudding into glasses or if you are taking them with you on a walk or to work use small mason jars with lids (don't forget to bring a spoon with you.) Optional: Before serving top with Homemade, No Sugar Added Whipped Cream and a sprinkle of nonpareils. Makes 4-6.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Fitness Health Workout Protein Powder Celebrate Vitamins

More Eggface Weight Loss and Bariatric Surgery Friendly Desserts

Head over to my Instagram for a chance to win a week's worth of Celebrate Vitamins Chocolate Mint Protein 20 and other great goodies to make these 2 recipes!

For the purposes of this post Celebrate Vitamins provided me with the product used to make these recipes. Thanks for the yummy protein. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Heading to Denver

Heading to Denver, Colorado for the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) Annual Planning Meeting and Retreat. Once a year we get the whole Board of Directors together to do planning for the year, work on projects that are best done in person and do a check in on how all our goals and plans are coming along. It's always held in the hotel that will be the host hotel for the big Your Weight Matters National Convention the OAC puts on each year (Hope to see you there in July! Sign up for updates, speaker and agenda release, discount room block, etc.)

If you'd like to follow my adventures this weekend be sure to check out my Twitter feed. I'll be tweeting my travels. You'll see lots of recipe and food posts on my Twitter account but warning, I have been known to go off on political and social rants or randomly bitch about something happening in my world. Of course, you can follow my other social media pages Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest for more food and recipe related posts those are rant-free zones (LOL mostly)

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Health Goal: More Water

One of my health goals for the year is to drink more water. We all know the benefits: natural appetite suppressant, flushes wastes and toxins keeping our kidneys healthy, great for your skin. I wish I was better at it but I think this year I'm going to master it. Here's my 3 step plan.

1. I'm committed to using a reminder app. I've actually been messing with 3 different ones: Plant Nanny, a fun game app, you have to keep your plant alive by drinking water and logging it and Waterlogged and WaterMinder which are more traditional tracking apps. I'll let you know which I end up using the most.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve VSG RNY Recipes Tips

2. I've got a cool bottle to help keep track of how much water I'm drinking each day, it's got these rainbow bands you can roll up each time you refill the tumbler.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve VSG RNY Recipes Tips

and 3. I already love so many of the foods that are good sources of water so eating more of these will be an easy one...

Cucumbers: 95% water, low in calories and are my go-to replacement for crackers. Pictured: Cucumber Cold Cut "Sandwiches", Shelly's Greek Hummus Rounds, Cucumber "Fries," Cucumber & BLT Egg Salad, Cucumber and Greek Yogurt Dip, Cucumber Cold Cut Roll-ups, Cucumber Plank Scoopers with Curry Chicken Salad, Cucumber and Cottage Cheese, More Cucumber Cold Cut "Sandwiches."

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve VSG RNY Recipes Tips

Zucchini: Get yourself a spiralizer and make zucchini noodles. Zucchini is 95% water. Serve like pasta with sauces or in broth-based (more water) Zucchini Noodle Soup.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve VSG RNY Recipes Tips

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve VSG RNY Recipes Tips

Lettuce: Makes a great Taco shells for a variety of fillings.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Low Carb Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve VSG RNY Recipes Tips

Cauliflower: 92% water. Try it roasted with a protein-packed Greek yogurt dips (which is another great source of water.)

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve VSG RNY Recipes Tips

Tomatoes: One of my favorites Caprese salad (Tomato, Basil, Fresh Mozzarella, Oregano) or Shelly's Pizza Tomatoes topped with cheese and seasonings and broiled till melty.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve VSG RNY Recipes Tips

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve VSG RNY Recipes Tips

Strawberries: Strawberry Cheesecake Ricotta Pancakes for breakfast, one of my favorite post weight loss surgery desserts are Strawberry Cannoli filled with Ricotta cheese or a Strawberry Protein Shake.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve VSG RNY Recipes Tips

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve VSG RNY Recipes Tips

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve VSG RNY Recipes Tips

Do you have any health goals for the year?

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year with Protein Packed Snacks!

Happy New Year! Hope everyone had a nice night. We stayed home and watched the Times Square Earth Cam and the craz... I mean dedicated people who braved the cold weather (it was 9° F. in NYC when the ball dropped.) Out of curiosity, I looked up all the rules they have to follow... you have to get there at noon the latest or you won't get a location worth having. You can't bring bags or backpacks (for obvious security reasons) so forget food or drinks. All street food carts are ousted for the day, so no Shish Kabobs or Sabrett Hot Dog stands. You can't leave your area and return so even if there were public restrooms or porta-potties nearby (there aren't) you can't go back to your area if you leave. So standing for over 12 hours in freezing temperatures, hungry, thirsty and peeing in an adult diaper. Umm Happy New Year? Nope. Couldn't do it.

Instead, we ate yummy bariatric friendly tidbits and laughed about how the event should probably be "proudly sponsored by Depends undergarments."

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss VSG RNY Protein packed Low Carb Healthy Fitness Food Recipes

Our Tidbit Platter: Trader Jose’s Spanish Cheese Tapas Sampler (Iberico, Cabra al Vino and Manchego Cheese) Nuts, Dried Fruit (watch these if you dump easily, I stick with apricots with no added sugar), Ham, Salami, Olives, Trader Joe's Rosemary Asiago (one of my all time favs), Parmesan Crisps,

We also had Roasted Cauliflower with two Greek Yogurt Dips.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss VSG RNY Protein packed Low Carb Healthy Fitness Food Recipes

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut 1 head cauliflower into florets. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Arrange in an even layer on a baking sheet. Roast for about 40 minutes, stirring at least twice. You want knife-inserted tender and golden brown.

Shelly's Middle Eastern Greek Yogurt Dip: 1/2 cup plain Greek Yogurt, 1 Tablespoon Zaatar seasoning (make your own) and a squeeze of Lemon.

Shelly's Horseradish Dip: 1/2 cup plain Greek Yogurt, Prepared Horseradish to taste (I add about a teaspoon), a sprinkle of salt.

For dessert...

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss VSG RNY Protein Powder Low Carb Healthy Fitness Food Recipes

Shelly's Sugar-Free Chocolate Protein Spread 

1/4 cup Protein Powder (dry, any flavor)
2 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/4 cup Almond Butter (I use fresh ground)
3 Tablespoons Sugar-Free Torani Syrup (any flavor)

Mix till well blended. You may have to adjust based on your almond butter, I used fresh ground almond butter some jarred, store-bought brands of almond butters are looser so just add a dash more protein powder to thicken or alternatively add a little more syrup if it needs thinning out. You want spreadable.

Spread on anything (apple slices, protein cookies, celery sticks, baby carrots, those ricotta pancakes that I make, protein cake slices, soy crisps, a spoon, your hand...) I love it on Honeycrisp or Pink Lady apples. This recipe makes enough for 4 huge apples-worth of liberal dipping. Store leftovers in a small jar in the fridge. It'll last a week at least.

For the Almond Joy affect: I used a combo of SF Coconut and SF Almond Syrup in the recipe and had a little bowl of chopped almonds and toasted unsweetened coconut for dipping.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss VSG RNY Protein Powder packed Low Carb Healthy Fitness Food Recipes

Happy New Year Everyone!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Eggface 2017 - The Blog Year in Review

A look back at some of my favorite blog posts, healthy recipes and menus, ideas and tips from the past year. My 11th-year post weight loss surgery.

January: A particularly yummy Weight Loss Surgery Menu Post to start off the year

Low Carb Weight Loss Surgery Bariatric Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve Cooking Menus

February: One of my favorite recipes ever: Stuffing Muffins and Healthy Super Bowl Eats

Low Carb Weight Loss Surgery Bariatric Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve Cooking Menus

March: My BBC Radio Interview and Tips for a Healthy Spring

Low Carb Weight Loss Surgery Bariatric Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve Cooking Menus

May: Two of my favorites Sunday Brunch and Cinco de Mayo

Low Carb Weight Loss Surgery Bariatric Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve Cooking Menus

June: Because this year... Tips for Reducing Stress

Low Carb Weight Loss Surgery Bariatric Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve Cooking Menus

July: Bananas Foster Protein Pudding Jars before heading to New Orleans

Low Carb Weight Loss Surgery Bariatric Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve Cooking Menus

August: These were the best ever in the summer heat wave: Frozen Faux "Cheesecake" Bites and YWM2017 in New Orleans

Low Carb Weight Loss Surgery Bariatric Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve Cooking Menus

September: Costco Shopping List - Weight Loss Surgery Friendly? and Shakes, Burgers & "Fries" Post Weight Loss Surgery

Low Carb Weight Loss Surgery Bariatric Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve Cooking Menus

October: 5 Safety Tips for Walking & Jogging

Low Carb Weight Loss Surgery Bariatric Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve Cooking Menus

November: Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes: Appetizers, Sides & Desserts Don't wait till next year to make some of these

Low Carb Weight Loss Surgery Bariatric Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve Cooking Menus

December: Christmas Eve Italian-Style (aka tons of seafood recipes)

Low Carb Weight Loss Surgery Bariatric Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve Cooking Menus

Past Blog Year in Reviews:

2016 Blasts from the Past
2015 Blasts from the Past
2014 Blasts from the Past
2013 Blasts from the Past
2012 Blasts from the Past
2011 Blasts from the Past
2010 Blasts from the Past

Whew, we made it through 2017. It's been an eventful few months and once I've digested it all I'll be sharing all that's been happening and all that is to come. 
I am so thankful for all of you in my life! Many of you I have been able to meet and hug in the real world and some I only know from the computer screen but it always makes me smile when I see a familiar picture or screen name pop-up. Happy New Year to all! Wishing us all good health and lots of laughter in 2018. 

I hope to see you this year at YWM2018 in Denver, CO July 19-22, 2018 please try and come!