Weight Loss Surgery Wisdom from a Friend

Spent most of the last few days cleaning the house. It started out as a small project just normal cleaning before pulling out the Christmas decorations but like the story "If you give a mouse a cookie" I started in the living room which led to the dining room which moved to the kitchen and then... somehow I started the garage. I'm going through all the cabinets and sorting things for donations. I have some brand new blankets and comforters in twin size and no twin size beds. They were just taking up room in a cabinet. They should be keeping someone warm. I made one trip yesterday and I already have a couple of boxes for the next. At one point, I was surrounded by boxes and "stuff" and I laughed because it kind of looked worse then when I started but it's coming together now. I am going to be one organized girl. Eventually.

I took a break and watched one of my favorite movies "Moonstruck" (I can recite almost every scene word for word) which inspired these Roasted Pepper Bites I made for dinner. In one of the scenes in the movie Olympia Dukakis's character Rose makes breakfast for her and Loretta (Cher's character.) She takes a slice of Italian bread, makes a hole in the center cracks an egg in the middle and fry it with fried peppers on top. When I was little we called these Eggs in a Frame. I don't do bread post weight loss surgery (my choice) but I do eat eggs: check and peppers: check. Perfect.

Bariatric Surgery Breakfast Brunch Lunch Healthy Italian - Moonstruck Peppers

Shelly's Moonstruck Bites (aka Crustless Quiche)

2 Bell Peppers, roasted
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
3 Green Onions, diced fine
5 eggs
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
a few twists of Black Pepper

Chop 2 bell peppers (I used one red and one green, small-ish dice) and roast them (sheet pan, drizzle of olive oil, salt & pepper, 425 degree oven, turning occasionally, about 30 minutes for these small pieces) till golden and soft. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients together. Spoon into greased (Pam non-stick spray works great for this) non-stick mini muffin tin. Bake for 30 minutes at 350.

Let them cool a few moments they will pull away and pop out. Makes 24. They are really festive looking and would be great as a holiday party appetizer or brunch item.

More Eggface Bites (aka Crustless Quiches) 

It was a sad day yesterday which is why I wanted to watch a comforting favorite movie bundled up on the couch under my new lap blanket. A friend and mentor of mine (and many others in the weight loss surgery community) Leilani Gibbs passed away. When I was first researching surgery many moons ago she was one of the first post-ops I chatted with online and I just knew she was my kind of person. We became friends.

Lynnda, Lei and Me in June
I'm going to share something Leilani wrote years ago on ObesityHelp it was a game changer for me reading it (a little tough love talk when I need it) and it gives you a sense of who Lei was...

That's the sentiment (scenario) that comes to mind sometimes when I hear some of the comments from people who've already had the surgery. In case you haven't made the connection, that's a line Tom Hanks made famous in the movie "A League Of Their Own." Resorting to tears or just giving up every time the going gets tough. Or your sick of taking vitamins, getting in protein is hard, water doesn't taste good, etc. That kinda' thinking is NOT going to make you successful or keep you healthy. ENOUGH already! It's time to LOVE yourself enough to get "TOUGH" with your aftercare. Your long term health is worth it!! Success comes with a backbone, NOT a wishbone!

First and foremost, you have to keep it POSITIVE. As with everything in life, if you think you can't - you WON'T! Simple enough? I have to wonder when "we" (as adults) finally take ownership for our actions, our life and our health? We have been given a gift, a second chance to actually LIVE life again instead of merely existing on the sidelines. It's up to each of us to do that as healthy and productively as possible.

We're ALL statistics waiting to happen and the insurance companies are chomping at the bit. The bean counters are eager to drop Weight Loss Surgery ("WLS") from the policies; some already have. Don't you know that any negative feedback thrown into the mix only strengthens their cause? I may not be able to control every thing that happens to my body after WLS, but most things I can.

I CHOOSE to take control and I will be a positive statistic when the numbers get counted.We live in a spoiled society, expecting everything in life to come with a buncha really cool choices. Well, guess what? When it  comes to your health, you're not always going to get a choice. You either DO IT and stay healthy, or you DON'T and your body pays the price.

The way I saw it, I had a 90 day healing and adjusting period after surgery. My 'super morbidly obese' body had more than enough stores to survive the learning curve. In turn, it gave me plenty of time to heal, adjust and learn. For those of you OVER 90 days Post-Op, the probation period is over - its time to get serious and LIVE what you've learned.
* You say you can't get in enough liquids throughout the day, don't like the taste of water, or just keep forgetting? -- TOUGH! It's not an option anymore. Find a way to do it, get suggestions and tips from others in support groups, message boards, etc. Read, learn and JUST DO IT!! Why do you think there is a choice here?

* You say you don't like the big horse pill type vitamins, or the tart chalky chewables? ... it's just too many to bother with? Or maybe you just can't remember to take them? -- TOUGH! You gave up the option NOT to take vitamins when you agreed to have your insides rerouted. FIND a way to get them in; crushed, minced, chopped, liquified, in a shake, etc. No exceptions, your health depends on it.

* Protein is a must. So you can't get it all in via foods and you don't like the way the shakes taste? -- TOUGH! Either get it through your meals (and there are a gazillion food choices out there) or supplement it with protein shakes and bars. Trust me, I don't drink my protein shake every morning because I think it tastes like a chocolate blizzard from Dairy Queen. I've tried many varieties over the last 2 years. I'd even venture to say 25 of the top sellers/flavors have crossed my lips. For the record? I've yet to find one that is as 'delicious' as boasted by the distributor. So what. I still drink one every morning. My HEALTH dictates that I need "X" grams of protein per day. If I'm not getting enough from my meals then I supplement a shake. 'Nuff said.

This surgery is a gift, I owe it to me and everyone else fighting the approval process, to do it right! I will continue to choke down my vitamins, my water and my protein every single day, for the REST OF MY LIFE. Some days will be easier than others, regardless, no days will be missed. It's all about discipline. Create a routine, set a timer, develop a pattern, tie a string around your finger, glue a note on your forehead, whatever it takes. You're an adult - take responsibility! If this surgery doesn't slap a back bone into you, not much will.
She was a wise woman and I will be forever thankful that we crossed paths in this life. The details of Lei's death are not completely known yet but I do know she had gone into liver failure from Wernicke's encephalopathy which can be caused by a deficiency in B1 (thiamine) something that can occur in post gastric bypass patients. So please... keep up with your labs, take your vitamins, it's not an option.