Category Archives: Before Surgery

It’s okay to be scared.

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It’s okay to be scared. Being scared means you’re about to do something really brave

The smile in this picture…(sigh) I had a belly full of butterflies. I thought this was going to be the last time I saw my husband. I was so scared but, I needed to be brave for him and our children. I WAS TERRIFIED!

You know those crazy movies where everything always goes wrong ….that was me. My doctor assured me multiple times that I was going to be fine and I truly believed that.

All smiles

Smiling got me through a lot

IV In

They did a good job but, the needle was huge.

I was also in a weird place mentally and emotionally during this phase of my life. That played a huge part with my anxiety. And let me tell you…the blood work was the worst part . I HATE needles. And, they used a really huge one for this surgery. I had a bruise for weeks.

They rolled me away and that was that!!

I will forever be grateful for this change.

Talk about going through the motions

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After the birth of my 4th child in 2012, I had a very difficult time losing weight. I figured it was just because I was getting older and my metabolism was slowing down.

I went in for my annual. And the doctor asked “why do you still have fat pockets under your neck if your daughter is 12 months? That shouldn’t be there.” I was like “ ummmm”. Somehow this woman had it in her mind to make sure I knew that I was carrying extra weight. She suggested I get my thyroid tested.

Over the course of 3 years I got tested for everything that I could think of. Thyroid, Genetic disorders, hormonal issues, blood diseases, environmental factors etc. Trying to figure out what was causing the disconnect within my body.

There was this one time in 2015 where I went to an appointment and was told “your platelets are extremely low, you might have a rare type of blood cancer. We’re going to test and send off your bloodwork and contact you when we get the results.” I thought I was dying for 2 weeks.

At the follow up for the bloodwork results I found out I didn’t have blood cancer . But, In the same conversation was told that “a uterine ablation will be my best advice to regulate your anemia!”

Hold up, What!?…

I just turned 30! Within weeks of each other you had me thinking I was dying from a form of blood cancer and now you want me to decide if I should basically sterilize myself, or take a birth control. Why do those have to be my options?

After 10 years of dieting, exercising, breastfeeding, and multiple lifestyle changes there wasn’t much improvement.

2019 was NOT the greatest time of my life. My body began to constantly ache from the pain of the extra weight, being on my feet all day at work, you know mom life wife life is 24/7 so there was always something going on. The marriage was going through hella trials and gutter valleys, I was so emotionally and mentally drained I didn’t care to find the motivation to do anything. 

I gave up!

On EVERYTHING!

After a very hard night at home I cried….. I cried for days asking myself “What was the point of everything? What was the point of life at that moment? Why was everything so hard? What did I need? What was I missing?”

I was going through…..

I did a lot of self-evaluating and eventually came to the decision to start with me first. I took a couple of those internet test thingies, You know the ones that ask you questions like “who are the most important people in your life?” & “do you feel comfortable when…?”

I looked at the biggest flaw that I felt I had. The biggest issue I felt affected me the most. What could that possibly be

Because of my weight I developed a lack of self-love, self- worth and confidence. To be honest I don’t think I was ever taught or really developed those attributes growing up. But that’s another story.

Over the past 2 years, I discovered a lot about myself. Including the ability to understand childhood events that effected certain moments/changes throughout my life. I learned that self discovery is very important. Taking out time, care and love for yourself is a must. You don’t realize how important 30 mins can be, how a 5 min break can reset your entire aura. How telling yourself that you are strong, and beautiful can boost your confidence so much. How taking a chance with something “out of the box” can be life altering.

Eventually, I made the decision to have bariatric weight loss surgery.  I swear it was the best decision I have ever made.

Lakes, Photos, Beautiful Smiles & Self – Appreciation

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Omg we had not taken professional photos since my daughter Cassidy was a newborn. I was so extremely excited about getting these photos done. This was a combination shoot for family growth, Denim’s 13th and Cassidy’s 5th birthdays.

Back then, most of the time hubbs and I did the shopping. It use to take too long getting 4 kids ready to go to the mall for 30 mins. This time we got to go shopping as a whole. I greatly enjoyed preparing for this photoshoot.

We were looking too cute in our matching outfits. We hardly ever match unless it’s a family event. We picked out this beautiful park in Jacksonville called The Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens. We had a blast, this place was filled with so much greenery. The lakes and bridges throughout the park were gorgeous. There were plenty trees so It gave a very picturesque nature vibe.

The lakes and bridges throughout the park were gorgeous

The kids had such a great time. My photographer was able to catch so many precious moments. I loved loved loved every minute…….

Until we got them back of course. {key in the dramatic music…bumbumbuuuuuum…did it help with the suspense?? No…ok nevermind….it felt like it went}

Anyway…

Let me start with the fact that I truly loved how the photos came out, they were fabulous and my photographer did her thang! 

Now on a personal note…

We as people are always our own worst critic. When I laid eyes on these photos I think I picked out every negative thing on myself that I could think of. I had a problem with the way I looked in every photo. My face/cheeks, my belly, my butt, my arms, my boobs, my legs EVERYTHING. I hated how I saw myself. Although I knew the pictures were amazing, my viewpoint of myself was horrible.

Since having VSG I have come to appreciate these memories. They remind me everyday to never let myself go to that negative mental space again. Over the course of this journey I have learned to love this skin that I’m in.

So after I got over it I went on to order an extra large canvas to display my gorgeous family.

No matter what trials I go through I will always remain grateful that I had these moments to experience. These moments helped to create this amazingly beautiful woman I am learning about daily.

If given the opportunity to meet one’s past self, I would hug her and tell her “you got this, It will get better”. The amount of pain hidden behind the smile was crazy.

“The Cramps, Stomach Pains, And Hard Stools…Constipation Sucks!”

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Listen to me….This constipation thang ain’t no joke. My weekend was fantastic minus the stomach problems. And I’ve been drinking my fluids just fine. My constipation was so bad it got to the point where I couldn’t eat, or get comfortable sleeping. I had to call the nurse because it felt like I had rocks in my belly. I hadn’t taken a in almost a week and all the added protein was not helping the situation.

I hadn’t taken a in almost a week

So this conversation with the nurse ended in an emergency trip to Target. She explained that the increased protein diet, the amount of water I drink, and the lack of exercise during recovery were all a good mash up for constipation issues. So she recommended a few items that had worked for her and a few other patients.

  • Magnesium Citrate (this is the devil) It does get the job done but the cramps so painful and your stools are liquid. The flavored one tastes so tart *Success within a few hours, definitely overnight
  • Milk of Magnesia ( one of my favorites) This works great, no cramps stools are normally soft, easy to pass. The texture is very thick and the flavors are limited. I prefer the cherry flavor, I had the original in the hospital. They all have like a chalky taste. But it gets the job done *Success within a few hours, definitely overnight
  • Benefiber (good for work and travel) I got these to carry for work. They taste great and they are easy to use. You just pour a single pack into a bottle of water and go. I didn’t feel it was as affective as the other options but it was good to have to keep me taking my fiber. *Success is hit or miss for me
  • Smooth Move (Amazing) Of all the products I have tried, this is my absolute favorite. No cramping, the flavor of the tea is a normal herbal taste. It works just as a regular tea bag does. They box says to steep the tea for 15 minutes….for me I keep it until my tea cools down. I found that it is more effective when you let it sit for a while. It helps to drink fluids right after to help process. Before surgery I would use sugar to sweeten it but you don’t need it. I’ve been drinking it with no sugar since surgery. *Success within a few hours, definitely overnight
  • Miralax It works. I feel like it doesn’t move your stool faster than some of the other options. It’s a powder form so you would need to use it like the Benefiber packets. But for the cost of Miralax I prefer to try some of the cheaper options. *Success within a few hours

All items pictured can be found at your local stores.

Smooth Move

I have gone through trial and error with these items. I have been using these products for over a years time. Of all these products the only ones I keep in my cabinet are the milk of mag and the smooth move tea. I use them regularly like every couple days. If I notice that I haven’t had a bowel movement in about a week I take either product for quick relief. Most of the products mentioned will provide you with relief within a few hours. If you choose to take these at bedtime a morning stool is almost guaranteed. Well at least for me it is.

I use to wonder if this was a forever thing I’ll have to deal with or temporary?? This constipation thing does not stop. I have learned that it just makes sense to keep certain types of laxatives around just to take regularly.

#vsgproblems #constipation #help #postopissues #postop #vsg #vsgcommunity #bariatriccommunity

My Life changed forever on this day

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I had my surgery performed in Orlando, Florida at Orlando Regional Medical Center; part of the Orlando Healthcare System. I can’t say anything but great things about my experience. I was really scared after making the decision to go forward with bariatric surgery. But, I got over it and embraced the change and everything that came along with it.

Doctor T was suggested to me by a girlfriend of mine after her bariatric surgery experience with him. We talked about her surgery over the course of a few months. I asked many questions about her experiences before, during and after surgery. I wanted to make sure I considered everything. She said that he was “very good, especially with bedside manor.” She had mentioned “how she felt very comfortable with him, that he made it easy to talk to and he answered every question.”

he was very good, great beside manor and easy to talk to

I did attend a seminar prior to my new patient appointment as a requirement to understand the types of surgeries that were offered, its risks and the expected outcomes.

After careful consideration I decided to have Doctor Teixeira perform my surgery. I had my new patient appointment a few weeks later. After meeting “Doctor T” for the first time I felt more relaxed more comfortable and at ease. We had a patient interview to discuss why I felt like I needed surgery?, what surgery did I think was the best option for me?, what did I plan to change and do different?, and what lifestyle changes I was going to make to ensure I had a successful surgery and post surgery experience?.

January 29th 2020 – Surgery Day

On the day of surgery, everything was pretty quick and easy. I waited for them to call me back into the preop area which only took about 20mins. The wait in preop took a little longer, about an hour. The preop area is where they helped me get prepared and ready for surgery. They had me change my clothes, switch over to my hospital gown, remove all of my jewelry, they got all my IV’s and fluids started, I received all of my pre surgery meds with the anesthesia crew, and met the fellows and attendings that would be assisting/attending my surgery.

ORMC
2020

ORMC Check-In Surgery Day 2020

Surgery Day 2020 All Prepped

Surgery Day 2020

Shortly after, I said see you later to my husband and I was rolled away to the surgical suite. The trip down that hallway was so cold and so white. LOL everything about that little journey was creepy (I watch a lot of scary/weird/dramatic movies) I’m sure I was freaking myself out more than necessary. I mean it was a critical turning point in my life. Once we got into the surgery suite I was given my sleepy meds and off I went into dreamland.

The surgery itself was less than an hour long, and the doctor kept my husband updated through and app called EASE. He said it gave him a piece of mind and he really enjoyed being able to communicate with the doctor as the surgery was going. After the surgery was completed I was taken to my recovery suite on the bariatric floor of the hospital.

Dr. T showed up multiple times throughout my 3 day stay at ORMC just to check up on me, see how things were going and to inquire about any questions or concerns that I may have had. We went over my fluid intake and what was expected, my medications, moving and walking around and life after discharge. On day 2 we re-visited my fluid intake because it was hard for me to get any fluid down. Every time I tried to swallow anything, it came right back up. Trying to take my meds was the absolute worse. Apparently, I was experiencing the side effects of Gastritis. My stomach had swollen shut from the trauma of the surgery making it hard for me to get anything down.

Once I tried the broth things begin to get a little better. The swelling started to go down and I was finally able to get some food into my system. I began to walk around and get things moving back to normal. I was given a certain amount of laps I had to complete daily in order to be discharged home. So I tried to get up and get moving as soon as I felt comfortable to stand unassisted. By the time discharge day came around I was able to compete 8+ laps at a time.

Room 22 That’s Me

Doctor T was very passionate about making sure I had a great support system at home. He discussed with my husband my care routine including meals, assisted moving, monitoring my meds, my dressings and how to care for them. What was to happen once my husband returned to work and I had to care for myself. He was very thorough. I really appreciated the time he took out to make sure everything was understood. Dr. Jawad also made an appearance, he is the lead surgeon (I think … pretty sure) at Orlando Health Weight Loss and Bariatric Surgery Institute – Downtown Orlando. He stopped by just to make sure everything was going ok for me.

Check-out was a breeze! They didn’t rush us out of the hospital at all. They offered us lunch before we left because it was close to lunchtime, they walked us out of the hospital and everything. The staff was perfect the entire time I stayed at the hospital. I honestly had no complaints about any part of my experience at ORMC.

Doctor T exceeded my expectations as a surgeon. He provided me with a very comfortable and unique experience. His staff was also extremely welcoming and helpful. I love that Orlando Health offers support group meetings, and regular nutrition classes to aide in bariatric weight loss. They have an on call nurse that you can speak with for major concerns like constipation, and dizziness.

”90+ pounds gone in 13 months. My health is the best its ever been and I feel amazing”

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Good Morning beautiful. We hope you have a great day today. See you soon. mommy and daddy

October 2, 2019 (Mirror Messages)

Here’s to another “I see you chachi” moment!

When I tell you that I am my own goals, I am not lying hunny . I feel so good when I look in the mirror now. Everytime I see a mirror it turns into a full photo shoot. I took the photo on the left about 2 years ago. This was actually a sexy photo for my husband go figure. I personally never really felt “sexy” or whatever and I always ended up looking goofy when I tried. “You are always your sexiest when you don’t try” the Mr. would say.

You are always your sexiest when you don’t try…

In all the time we’ve been together HE (keyword people…..HE) has never made me feel any type of way about my physical appearance. I appreciate him for that because people fall under the false notion that someone has to “give you confidence, when you don’t feel confident yourself”. For many years I secretly blamed him in a way for not making me “feel beautiful”, for not making me “feel sexy”, for not making me “feel confident”. I knew deep down that it wasn’t his fault or his job, but it was very easy to deflect my feelings onto him and then blame him for my sadness about it. I created and caused a lot of drama and crazy arguments because of my own personal issues within.

I wish I could say I felt the same confidence in the photo to the left as I did on the right but we know that’s not truly the case. I had curves for days, booty for days, thighs for days, and I was not at all sloppy. But, there were very few days in which I loved the skin that I was actually living in. I would try to categorize myself to ease the pain of accepting the fact that I didn’t love myself or my body. “Thick” became the new acceptance term. As long as I was considered “Thick” I didn’t view my size as a bad thing not that it mattered because even though “thick” would come from my mouth… pain, stress, pressure, and body aches would speak very loud internally.

Self confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings

before and after extreme weight loss

you are beautiful, you are worth it…

I will never get tired of saying how happy I am that I choose to get bariatric surgery. The entire process from the decision to have surgery all the way to the surgery anniversary was such an eye opening experience. It has affected every portion of my life. My VSG was my second chance at self love, self care, inner peace, and so much more. I have lost 90+ pounds in 13 months. My health is the best it’s ever been and I feel amazing. Another day in the book!

2019 taught me self love is the best love

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In less than 24 hrs I will be finishing the last chapter in one book. And starting a new beginning in another. I have always had a love hate relationship with this body of mine. 2019 taught me self love is the best love. 2019 is the year I decided to start over. Reset….begin a new step forward with nothing but positivity and confidence.

I can point out a million things wrong in every one of these photos but I won’t. This is me saying goodbye to old ways, negative energy and every hurtful thing attached to the person in these photos. I hid a lot of pain behind the smiles but I found new reason to want to do better. New reason to want to smile more, be healthier, and live the best life I possibly can.

I hid a lot of pain behind the smiles…


2020 is my reset and I plan to make it all worth it. This is my first transformation Tuesday of many to come. Hope you enjoy this ride as much as I will

I lost focus and regained 5 lbs

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These past few weeks have been  crazy. For the first time since surgery I have gained I lost focus and regained 5lbs.

For the first time since surgery I have gained

Forgive me for the lack of updates.

Refocusing has been my main goal. I have 3 more pounds to lose to get back on track. These are my weekly lost files from the past few weeks. ***** Although I haven’t posted, I still keep track because ACCOUNTABILITY is a big thing for me.

I want to be transparent throughout my transformation because I know others are going through things as well. It’s hard….but I know what I have to do. This is something I wanted and I will achieve this goal!!

#weighinwednesday #weightcheck
#vsg #sleeved #vsgcommunity #wls #weightloss #goals #gastricsleeve #motivated #beforeandafter #bariatricbabe