Saturday, May 1, 2010

My weight loss surgery journey (in denim)

I was searching for something in the garage yesterday and found a box. I thought it had garden stuff in it but it turned out to be several bags of size 28 clothing from before surgery. It was already sorted by jeans, dress pants, shirts, all ready to go. So today I gathered it up, filled the trunk of my car and dropped them off at the thrift.

I just kept one pair back to always remind me where I started and how far I have come.

I actually cried when I took this picture. I cried for the girl who wore those jeans, she was hurting, physically and emotionally. She was sitting on a bench watching her life pass her by. She was on 8 prescription medications for gastric reflux, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and all the aches & pains associated with carrying around almost 300 pounds on a 5'2" frame. She was miserable, trapped and slowing killing herself, a slow suicide by knife and fork.

I also shed a few tears of joy for the girl who wears the jeans on the right. The girl who can walk for miles and miles without stopping. Has no more acid reflux, no sleep apnea, stellar blood pressure, and only takes vitamins. Now her life, my life, isn't perfect and weight loss surgery didn't solve all my problems (in fact it threw a light on a few I tried for years to eat away, I'm working on those) but it's 150% better than it was. I am forever grateful at this second chance. I VOW to wake up everyday and FIGHT to never go back.

Before weight loss surgery (RNY Gastric Bypass 6/20/2006) I filled every inch of these Size 28 jeans...

Currently wearing these Size 4's...

Notes to myself:
Plan for Success
Fear the Enemy
Tips for the Long Haul

46 comments:

Kimberlee Johnson said...

You're such an inspiration! I had a friend give me a bag of clothes ranging from 14-20's... I am just now fitting in the 20's *2.5 months post op* and cannot imagine fitting into the 14's much less a 4!
But I am in this for the long haul so we shall see where I end up. Thank you for all the inspiration, great recipes and encouragement!

Hairdiva100 said...

Seeing the pants hanging side by side is amazing! Congrats on your continued success. I can't wait to have before and afters like that!

NewLife09 said...

Amazing!! It must have felt great to see the difference. I can't wait to be able to take a picture like that. Before surgery I was not even able to fit into my size 32 jeans, couldn't get them over my hips and belly. Now I can comfortably fit in a 26, I still have a long way to go, but I'm well on my way to a better life!!

KimmyGee said...

Does anyone have a tissue??? Tears of joy, of course ... for you, for me, for all of us!! Wow, simply amazing :)

Sarah said...

Pictures do say 1000 words, huh??? Great job - you're an inspiration to many of us! And love the recipes... keep 'em coming please!

wvsable said...

I am realizing how miserable I was too. I am only 6 months out from my surgery this coming wednesday. I am down 70+ lbs since the surgery and ii5 in the last 2 years. Last fall before my surgery it was all I could do was walk 1/4 a mile through the park and that was with breaks for sitting down. Now I am walking a mile to a mile and a half. I never dreamed I could walk so far again. I am loving it. I am having a hard time getting rid of clothes that are to big for me. I am wanting to hang on to them over the memories. I have gave some away, but definatlely have a lot more to go. I am loving going to the goodwill store and buying new clothes. I am down from a 28 to any where from a 18 to 24, depends on how it is made. I am beginning to love life again.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing. You keep on inspiring all of us! I am 5 weeks and 2 days post op. I've lost 40lbs in those 5 weeks (62 total). I also have kept 1 pair of 24's and I'm now wearing an 18! Keep up the AMAZING work!
Diane
Navymom13760@hotmail.com

Jody @ Laslink said...

That is soooo incredibly awesome! You are such a true inspiration to me. I too have gone from a 26/28 & and am just about 7 months out & currently at a size 16/18. Still got quite a ways to go but I just LOVE reading you blog & trying out your delicious recipes. I check in daily but don't always have a comment :o)

HOA Mgr Lady said...

OM Gosh! I am 63 weeks post op and still have a bout 100 pounds to go. I was 100 pounds more than you and a bit shorter. a DREAM for me would be to be able to fit into a 12 much less a 4 WOW! You are my idol!
Ruth

shannon said...

I am just over 4 months out from a vertical sleeve (no bypass).
I have lost over 75 pounds and was in a 26(snugly) and now I am in a 22 some times a 20 and I am also loving life. You have been my inspiration!!!

Connie said...

Shelly,
You are such in inspiration! I, too, cried when I saw the photo of your jeans. I needed to read this tonight, as I had overeaten AGAIN while sitting in front of the TV, and I was in pain - both physical and emotional - wondering why I continue, even after all this to do that to myself. Your pants gave me the "kick in the pants" I needed to climb out of my pit and recommit. I am in this for the long haul. I have my TT scheduled for this summer and I will NOT go back! Thank you for your blog (I read every day), for your sharing, kind heart, and for your inspiration.

Connie

Connie said...

P.S. Any word on when you head to NY?

leo99blue said...

Thank you for writing this. I always tell people that the surgery is "life-changing" but I never really tell them exactly how life-changing it is because I figured they could never possibly know how hard it was to be me, in my body, @ 5'8 & 335 lbs, nor could they possibly know the utter exhilaration (and frequent disorientation!) I feel to now be me, in my body, @ 5'8 & 150 lbs. But reading this post helped me see (albeit, through tears!) that there are so many people who have felt the exact same things I have through this journey. Thank you :)

Girl Bandit said...

Wow...what an inspiration. Thanks for you, your story and your food!!!

Anonymous said...

You are amazing Michelle!! I too have come along way and am so very proud of the person that I'am today!! WLS was the BEST thing, by far, that I have ever done for myself. You are such an inspiration to me and so many others!! Keep up the AMAZING work and I will continue to do the same!! Thanks for all of your delish recipes and encouragement! YOU ROCK!!!!

The Babe said...

Thank you. I'm just realizing now how much I had my life "on hold" before the surgery (I'm about 3 months out) and I can't wait until I can get into regular sizes like you have. You are such a wonderful, inspiring spirit and I wanted to tell you how important your blog has been to me.

Congratulations on all your success!

Audra

Shaggs said...

Loved your post and what a photo that is! No one can ever understand how life is in other peoples shoes but this post says so much - my favourite - "death by knife and fork". Wow wow wow!!! Loved it!!

battynurse said...

Coming over from the gastric bypass support board and I just wanted to say what an inspiration. Yay you!! Congratulations on your success.

Priscilla said...

That is a powerful photo, thank you for your very inspirational blog, I am almost one year out from RNY and down 102 pounds, just in time for my daughter's wedding. I couldn't be happier and agree that this operation was a lifesaver in more ways than one!
Priscilla

Chelsea's Mom said...

Incredible picture! I just surrendered my last couple of bags of "before" clothes. I was hanging on to them because I remembered how much I liked them and how good I thought I looked in them. I didn't want to just give them away, I wanted to wait until I found someone else who would love them like I did. Silly, huh? I'm down 168 pounds total (RNY 12/2008) and at a plateau. I haven't gained, but haven't lost in months. I know what I need to do to jump start it, but just haven't done it. But seeing the picture of your pants really sparked something in me. Thanks for continuing to share your story with us! You are an inspiration probably more than you know!

Michelle "Shelly" said...

Thank you guys :) I was surprised how emotional I got when I saw them side by side. Almost 4 years out & the WOWs keep coming.


@Connie, The trip is the end of May :) So excited.

Sarilyn said...

How amazing! I am so inspired by you! I am 7 1/2 weeks out and stuck at the same weight for a month now! So frustrating, but I hang in there!

Melissa said...

congrats to you Shelly! what a transformation....i understand your emotion about the pic! keep you the great work and your great blog! :)

Anonymous said...

Gotta love Venezia. They're the best looking jeans when you're big.

beemysunshine said...

Congrats to you, for all your success. Do you have any advice for those who have to stay between 45-60 carbs a day. The second question is do you drink decaf coffee or regular.

thomascorum said...

26 months post-op. I have the same feelings about the "old" me, 340 pounds, 48" jeans that were tight, XXXL shirts that I couldn't tuck in. Meds, heart issues, BP, reflux... Now, a new start and a second chance. 170 pounds (HALF of me!) medium shirts, no meds but vitamins... I have had a couple of pretty serious side problems from this surgery but I would go through every bit of it with a smile on my face for this second lease on life. Thank you for your ideas and suggestions, bought a Cuisinart ice-20 and made my first protein ice cream last night because of you... and want to try your various bites as I can. It is hard for me to eat still, fighting the side issues. Keep up the good work! catch me on facebook, Thomas Corum

clipperqueen2002 said...

I am 8 weeks post-op and have went from a size 24 to a 16 life is good, i feel alive for the first time in years, you page gives me not only healthy cooking choices for myself but for my whole famiy
Thank you Shelly your a big help to all of us.

Jessica M. said...

I just cried into my bowl of pureed chili while reading this. Great post! You are an inspiration! Keep up the great work and the amazing posts! :)

Imagin Photography said...

You truly are an inspiration!! Absolutely LOVE, LOVE your recipes - please, please put out a cook book to help ALL of the surgical weight loss people eat varied, delicious meals!!!!!

KathyD49 said...

Shelly, I am Eight whole days post op from a Vetticle Sleeve Gastrectomy, so fairly new to all this. I am sitting at my computer, crying, as I read all the posts in reaction to your pictures of the two pair of pants. I have ALWAYS been fat. I just can't even image what I will look like if I ever get anywhere near thin. But I am so excited to try! Would you believe I have been to Weight Watchers (17 times!), TOPS, Weight Down Workshop, Overeaters Victorious, Overeaters Annon, Jenny Craig, Nutri System, Diet Center,Curves, and probably some more that I can't even remember in my 60 some years, and never have I been as moved with the results as when I looked at the picture of the two pair of pants! I want to be like that! I just got done marking your blog as a Favorite. I am so inspired by all the recipes, ideas, photos, etc. Thank you so much! My husband and I make out home in Iowa, but I work in California, and I fly back to CA in six days. Am hoping to find some kind of support group there to keep my going on my journey, but even if I don't, I know that your blog will help inspire me! Thanks again!

Jessy said...

ur blog is just amazing!! :) it's so very helpful & i truly enjoy reading EVERYTHING on it! i can't imagine how proud u must be of urself, u look stunning! :):):)
i hope whoever u choose 2 b with appreciates u, ur funny, talented as a writer & beautiful inside out :) Great Job! i hope i can post a such a beautiful before/after pic one day after my WLS :):)

Joanne said...

I about 8 weeks out from surgery. And I just want to give up. I read all the great comments, but I am just lost. HELP PLEASE

Michelle "Shelly" said...

Thank you.

Beemysunshine: Regular... on my plan it was OK after 1 month but Dr's plan vary always follow yours :)

***

Jessy, Thank you xo

***

Joanne, The first few weeks are so hard. I had tons of what the heck did I just do to my body moments of regret but soon... about 7 weeks for me I started to feel "normal" again everyday I aimed for better with protein and water and by 4 months I was LOVING life (most of us do so keep that in mind) and would do it all over again. I hope you will feel the same soon.

Keep communicating with your medical team, try and do better each day but remember this is a MAJOR life change and with anything major will take adjustment.

Anonymous said...

I am currently in the process of going thru the steps needed to have surgery and find your site a god send. You have opened my eyes to many options. I have a long way to go but this site is a great support tool. Thanks

Mel said...

I recently had lap band surgery and found your blog through my surgeon's office. I am a fellow blogger (though not, specifically, about weight loss), so this is right up my alley. THANK YOU for sharing your story and being an inspiration for me. I am tearing up for the woman you were and have become as well!

leendadll said...

thanks for running this blog. i just got fast-tracked for band-to-sleeve revision and am really FREAKING OUT about the radical lifestyle change which is ahead of me. Your blog helps restore some sanity!!

AmesJo said...

Wow. What an inspiration! I'm getting ready to start my journey down this road and am starting in the same place. (Size 28 with a 5'3" frame)

Johnna Miracle said...

I looked at your site from the advice of my support group right after surgery , I'm 9 weeks post-op , and 30 lbs down ..I'm up to walking 2 miles a day , but was having a real problem getting all my protein in. You are completely inspiring and your recipes are delicious , Thank You so much for all the ideas and the support you are providing for the new kids on the block like me !

Isabel Ford said...

Your blog has really helped me out . All your recipes sound so delicious. Can't wait to try them !!! I'm 2 weeks out and have lost 25 lbs . I was reading your story and it made me cry cause that was me all my life. Thanks for creating this blog!!!

Kris530 said...

I just found your site tonight by accident but am so glad I did. I can't wait to try so many of your recipes and you are so inspirational. I'm about 9-10 weeks out since my surgery and down just over 40 lbs since then but it feels like it's going so slowly and while my clothes are looser I don't really feel like I've lost much as far as sizes. I find myself getting discouraged often and wondering if it didn't work for me or if I did it for nothing?? I'm also having a hard time finding somewhat normal things to eat since my dr has said I'm not allowed to have any kind of bread or carb basically for 6 months. I thought this was standard at the time but I haven't heard of anyone else having to do this. Any suggestions on how to eat and make a meal I can share with my kids without bread, pasta, rice, etc?

Michelle "Shelly" said...

You are in luck Kris, That's pretty much my whole blog. I don't eat pasta, rice, bread or potatoes :) almost 7 years of archives.

Nichole Nicholson said...

I just want to tell you how much you inspire me to do what Im doing. I got my surgery (sleeve)on August 20th and it has been a hard struggle. But I ran across your blog on Pinterest. And you are just amazing and thank you for blogging your journey! It really has helped and inspired me to not go back to doing what I used to do.

Patricia said...

That is a powerful photo, thank you for your very inspirational blog, I am almost one year out from RNY and down 102 pounds, just in time for my daughter's wedding. I couldn't be happier and agree that this operation was a lifesaver in more ways than one!

Anonymous said...

I am 3 weeks out and down 19lbs. I am down from 258 with 20 before surgery. I am on soft foods and finally feel like I have a handle on this. But am struggling with protein. I just can't tolerate the shakes. It has really only been about a week that I am getting my water and vitamins in. I feel like the loss is slow. I am concerned about not enough protein and the side effects. I will not give up and know I have done the right thing but it is nice this site is available. Gives me so much more confidence. Thank you!

Dani said...

This post makes me feel soooo hopeful!!! I am 5'2" barely and once was a 2/4. You give me hope I can get from current pre-surgery 20 to 4! Thank you!!! “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
― Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich: A Black Choice

Diana Cockerham said...

I also had the same surgery the same year you did,only in Nov.I have lost 110 lbs but now I have been stuck and cant seem to get the last 30 lbs off,I am very active to be 57 and feel like a new person.but would love to start losing again.