Wordless Wednesday: My Shadow


Hair Loss And Regrowth After Gastric Bypass

dyeing hair after gastric bypassMy body has changed in so many ways in the last 14 months. My whole-body size is different. My skin is different. My nails are different. And my hair is different.

Last summer, I was really freaking out about hair loss. I had been warned before surgery that the hair loss would come, and it started being very noticeable around 4 months post-op. Last summer I was in a bit of an emotional funk, and the hair loss was part of it.  So many things about my body were changing, and I my body felt a little out of control.

I tried to combat the hair loss with upping my daily protein intake and taking biotin pills.  But the damage was already done. Anesthesia from surgery is traumatic for your body, and there’s no way to counteract the way that your hair follicles will handle it. Even with extra protein and biotin, the breakage and hair loss was out of my control for several months. Biotin helps initiate new hair growth…which I noticed on less-desirable places on my body (like my thighs, neck, chin, etc). I felt fuzzy everywhere…but the regrowth on my head finally started.

after dying hair blackNow 14 months post-op, a lot of my regrowth is wispy, but long enough to style in with the rest of my hair. But, what I’ve noticed. I have a regimen with shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner, leave in conditioner, detangler, and heat protectant. I can make it look pretty good, but it’s not at healthy as it was pre-op.

It’s changed in these ways:

  • Curl: It’s stripped out almost all of my natural curl. If I let it air dry, I’ll get some wave to it, but I think the days of scrunch-and-go are over
  • Texture: My hair feels more coarse, and the regrowth is either baby fine or crazy thick and wiry
  • Thickness: I don’t have thin patches anymore, but I have about 1/3 less hair than before surgery
  • Color: It’s lighter than it was before surgery. It’s gone from being stark raven black to just dark brown. Some areas, like right around my hairline, are very light…with almost a blonde sheen to them. My grays are more wiry and noticeable.

I’m vain, so I think I’ll be coloring my hair from now on.

Wordless Wednesday: Beehive Cheese Ipanema

Wordless Wednesday: Ten Months – 120 Pounds


I’m Going Off Soda

giving up diet cokeI’ve been threatening to do it for year.

And now is the time.

Today is my 5th day completely soda/carbonation free. It’s actually day 8 in the process, but I caved to a can of Diet Mtn Dew when I had a headache on day 2.

There are a lot of reasons why I needed to give it up. First, it was an addiction, pure and simple. I couldn’t get through the day without a McDiet #PDR, or a “Route 44 Coke Zero with vanilla” at Sonic. I would wake up thinking of how bad I wanted a Coke to get me going in the morning. I wanted a drink to get me through the lull of the afternoon. I wanted a drink to help me focus at work. It was overwhelming.

Second, it was expensive. Many days I drank well over 100oz, much to the chagrin of my wallet. My husband called my daily need for soda my “pack a day” habit. Even trying to get the cheapest refills, it was easily costing me over $100 per month. I can think of a lot of things I’d rather spend $100 on a month.

Third, it was not good for my health. I’ve been taking mega-doses of Vitamin D and Calcium to make up for the mineral deficiencies that diet soda causes. Plus, it was stretching out my stomach. I can down a 32oz drink in no time, which made it that much easier to overeat. Although I got to the point that I would choose a soda over a decadent dessert…it still was a little messed up to be thinking that way. After watching this video, I knew I needed to do it:

Giving up the soda was one of the hardest changes for me in preparation for gastric bypass. Although the approval process dragged on for endless months, I decided to take charge and give up my beloved Coke. Three days later, the surgery approval came through. This cannot be a coincidence.

So raise your glass (of water) and congratulate me on 5 days “sober” from soda. I’ll need support on this one. Just the sound of carbonation is a temptation.

Time to Get Healthy

I’m sick of being sick. So I’m going to do something about it.

For comparison’s sake…

Last time I weighed 290, I looked like this. Could the scale really be right? I look a lot healthier right now, don’t I.

Doing my Research

It’s been a week since my pulmonary doctor appointment, and I’m feeling much improved from the bronchitis. I still have a bit of shortness of breath (especially when climbing the two double-flights of stairs in my work building). I’ve cut my usual soda consumption dramatically…in the last week I’ve had 1 20 oz bottle, sips of Taylor’s big fountain drinks, and two cans of Diet Dr Pepper. I’ve gone over 24 hour since my last caffeine…and I’m feeling it. It’s so hard to cut it out completely, especially with all my daytime sleepiness. I suppose that now I’m in the South, and live in the land of Coke, and work for “Coca-Cola University,” I should just call my fizzy addiction Coke instead of soda. At least I don’t snort it.

I’ve been doing a lot of research this week on bariatric surgical options. I’m pretty certain that if I do surgery, it will be Lap-Band. I checked with my insurance pre-auth department, I meet the requirements for medical necessity, and they pay 90% up to my annual max, and then will pay 100% of the remainder. My max out of pocket cost for the year is $1125. So if I max it out with the surgery, any medical care for the rest of the year will be free. My upcoming sleep study will take up some of that money, and I opted for $1000 flex spending benefits for the year….so realistically the cost to me will be negligible. Nothing more than my $45/paycheck flex cost and a few other copays.

My mom and husband are very supportive of the surgery, almost too enthusiastic about it. Both have seen the ways I’ve struggled, persisted, and suffered to get myself healthy for the past 5 years. But if I had to make a decision RIGHT NOW….it would be hard.

Another reason it feel urgent to me is because I’ve been feeling emotionally ready to get pregnant for several months. I had 26 friends have babies in 2008 and I felt like I was missing out. I haven’t ever felt like my family was complete, and I don’t want there to be such a tremendous age gap with Rosie that she feels like her sibling is too young to be close to her. I also don’t want to have a baby any later than about 33. I am fairly certain I will remain a career woman, and want to have some independent time without kids at home before I retire. But I don’t want to get pregnant until my health is under control. I weighed 255 when I got pregnant with Rosie, and lost 30 pound in my first trimester because I couldn’t keep anything down.


Ever since my doctor appointment Wednesday, I’ve been thinking often about having surgery. In some ways it seems like a cop out. I’ve always believed that weight loss should a personal journey of cutting back, becoming more active, and changing the way you use food in your life. But at what point does it become impossible to make the changes you need in a drastic enough way? When is surgical intervention required? I’ve already done medically-assisted weight loss, using Phen-Fen both in 1995-97 and in 2007. The first time I lost 53 pounds, which made for a much more enjoyable high school experience. But as soon as I stopped the pills, I ballooned out to my starting weight within 3 months. When I tried again with a doctor in 2007, I’d lost 13 pounds in a month, but I stopped because of the high cost, many unwanted side effects from the pills and a crazy food plan I couldn’t stick with (which included 90% meat and protien, no fruits and only a handful of veggies).

I’ve done Weight Watchers 6 times, South Beach Diet, Sugarbusters, Intuitive Eating, and a mass of other plans. But once I hit the 25 pound mark, I plateau and eventially gain it back. With a track record like this, how can I lose 120?

I told my mom about what I was thinking about the surgery, and she said that I should do it and not tell anyone. She also said I’ve been chubby since age 1, and she’s seen me put more long-term effort into weight loss than anyone she knows. She thinks I need to do it as a “shortcut” so my other healthy behaviors make a difference. But I hate the idea of a “shortcut.” I want my results to be based on how I’ve impowered my life, not because of a scalpel.

That being said…lap band is looking more and more tempting.

Out the Window

With all the traveling, holidays, stress, moving, and roadtripping…I haven’t been careful at all about what I’ve been eating the last week. I’ve enjoyed a lot of yummy treats! My scale got packed away, so I don’t know my net loss/gain since my 289 weight on December 12.

As cliche as this sounds, my “diet” begins January 1.