2 Months

It has been two whole months.  Two months since my husband and I tied the knot after being together for only 8 days.  And two months since I had my final weight loss related surgery.

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Jarrod and me

I couldn’t possibly ask for a better husband and example of a real man for my boys.  I knew immediately when we confessed our feelings to each other that he would be my forever, and that feeling has only gotten stronger every single day since then.  He’s the best friend I’ve ever had!  We lay awake at night and talk about everything.  We intend often to watch TV or a movie, get housework done together, or take care of other errands, and often it gets put on the back burner to our conversations, or the conversations continue through it all.  We are attached at the hip and prefer to do anything we need to do, together.  We even prefer to work the same shifts together at work, just to be in each other’s presence.  We understand and are comfortable with each other on the deepest level.  I’ve honestly never felt anything like this before, and it’s the best!  He is wonderful with my kids, and they become more and more open to him each day.  His kids are pretty awesome as well, and I love how our family is blending.  Jarrod is my heart, my soul, my life.  This is my forever, and I couldn’t be happier or more content.

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Left: 270 lbs, late 2015 — Right: 200 lbs, October 2017

As far as my surgical recovery and body image goes, I’m quite satisfied now!  I started my weight loss journey in January of 2016 at 270 pounds.  Around summer of 2016 I had already lost enough weight to disqualify myself from bariatric weight loss surgery by getting down to around 230 pounds.  I had changed my lifestyle enough to take off the weight myself, by eating less fat and carbs, more protein, and cutting out sugary soda.  Then once I reached about 225 pounds I qualified for skin removal surgery, and got approved for my Panniculectomy (tummy tuck) in March 2017, which is when it was done.  I wasn’t satisfied with the results as it healed because I still had quite a bit of sag, my bellybutton was off-center, and a couple other details I was dissatisfied with.  So when I had my breast reduction and lift on September 1st, I was able to get my tummy tuck revised.  Now it’s been two months since I had that last surgery, and though nothing is perfect, I am VERY satisfied with my results.  I am now hovering right around 200 pounds, and still want to lose about 15.  I haven’t had the willpower to just buckle down and take off that last 15 yet, but I know I will and am not too concerned with it anyway.  I’m happy with the way I look now, with the way my clothes fit, and with my appearance in the mirror, naked.  Really, I feel I just need to tone up now.  I’m very proud of myself for having come this far without bariatric surgery.  And I plan to continue this healthier lifestyle forever.  I NEVER want to gain that weight back.  I have so much less body ache and pain now, I am more flexible and don’t lose my breath going up and down stairs, I have more stamina and am all around a much happier person.  I love it!

Two months since my life made some permanent changes for the better.  I am so happy to have had these opportunities come to me, and to have been able to grab ahold of them.  I am so happy with my life!

 

So In Love

Throughout my life I have involved myself in a few romantic relationships.  Some seemed good at first and withered.  Some were bad from the start but I settled anyway.  Some were out of loneliness or desperation.  Some were out of boredom and the desire for company.  But ultimately, none of them worked out in the long run.

There’s that saying “someday someone will come along that will make you understand why it never worked out with anyone else.”  I always wanted to believe that, but thought it to be a fantasy; an inspirational quote to keep people’s spirits up.  Until it happened to me.

And now, now there’s this guy Jarrod, and he’s like no one I’ve ever met before.  It started off very casually, working together and associating with each other only at work.  But as time went on, we talked more and more during our shared shifts.  We discovered through our conversations that we have been through a lot of the same troubles in relationships, parenting, just life in general.  We discovered that we have the same beliefs on the big things, like religion and politics.  We share a very similar parenting style, with a great love and appreciation for our children and family.

Then we started talking and spending time together outside of work once Jake and I split up, which is where things started to move very quickly.  Days have blended together, nights have flown by, just talking and discussing our lives, and finding strong similarities at every turn, which is still continuing today.  It was sudden, and crazy, but we know with absolute certainty that this will be forever.  Kindred spirits, soul mates.  There’s no denying it.  The similarities, the comfort we find in one another, the deepest unexplainable connection we share.  Being with him makes me realize why it never worked with anyone else, for real.  No fantasy.  And he feels the same way.  It feels like we were born for each other.

married83017We have had our children all spend time together which went well, as we both expected it to go.  And we are moving quickly on moving in together.  And the big news – we ran off to Colorado and got married on August 30th!  Because face it, life is too short and unexpected things happen, and neither one of us wanted to waste time getting wrapped up in overthinking and hesitation over something we both know will certainly last the rest of our lifetime.  We had a very private ceremony – only the 2 of us, and later on will throw a wedding for all of our friends and family… likely on our 1- or 2-year anniversary.

The trip was great! I had never been to Colorado, and Jarrod hadn’t been in many years. We drove there and back, and stayed in a beautiful bed and breakfast called Meadow Creek Mountain Lodge.  It’s just southwest of Denver.  The bed and breakfast had a hot tub, a heavenly king sized bed, and the owner was a pretty great guy too, and made a wonderful breakfast for us.  We were able to run around Denver a bit and shop for our rings, and have supper there in Denver.  Then we enjoyed alone time and slept in before we had to head back to Iowa.

We have both agreed to put this blog post out there for the public because we both know there will be people in our lives who will not understand why we would move so fast, or make such a crazy, bold, impulsive decision.  We are both very aware that is what we are doing.  But we are here to say that it is OUR decision to make, and we would love your support and understanding, whether or not you understand our reasoning.  We are very thrilled with our decision, and don’t regret a thing!

Summer Catch-Up

Well, here it is, 3 months after my previous blog post.  It’s been a pretty busy summer around here.  We didn’t have any exciting week-long vacations or anything like that.  Hell, the kids have barely gotten off electronics enough to notice its only a couple weeks away from school starting again.  But I’ve sure stayed busy.

Once I was released to go about my normal activities after my big surgery, I found plenty to do.  Most of it just little stuff, day to day.  Hanging out with friends, going swimming with the kids, going for rides with my man.  I got a job delivering pizzas for Pizza Hut, so I’ve been doing that for a few weeks now in the evenings.  My boss and co-workers are pretty cool about taking it easy on me so I can sit when I need to, to rest my back and my hips.  Its definitely a blessing.

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Andy and I in the front, right, riding the Monster at Adventureland.

We had all the my boys’ birthday parties here at our home.  Andy’s was in May, Evan’s was in July, and Cory’s was this month, in August.  All went well, and smoothly.  For all of them I invited friends and family and grilled burgers and hot dogs out on our deck.  Then we had cake and ice cream, and did the gift giving thing.  I think for the most-part the boys got what they wanted.  Andy’s big present this year was one of the new 3DSs.  Evan’s was a trip to Adventureland.  And Cory’s was a new tablet for gaming.  Photos for all of the birthdays, and everything else I’ve done all summer (and all future activities) can be found on my Instagram.  I update there quite frequently.

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Jake and I at the Freedom Rally, 2017

Jake and I went to the Freedom Rally in Algona, IA in June/July.  It was my first time at any big rally, and I must say it was not at all what I expected.  It was a really chill atmosphere.  Everyone was happy and easy-going for the most part.  We had a really good time.  Good food, good music, and a great weekend of camping.  I look forward to going with him again next year!

Still to come, I’m hoping still to take the whole family camping, maybe next week, if even for only one night.  I have a weekend planned for HearthsOPhyre in Conesville, IA during the last weekend in September.  Its similar to Burning Man, only on a smaller scale and local.  Also, I scored us some Hollywood Undead concert tickets for October, and I’m looking forward to seeing Highly Suspect again in November, as they have become my favorite band.

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Not exactly the results I had in mind from my Panniculectomy. (4 months post-op)

On the health and wellness front: I’ve applied for disability since the outlook on my hip dysplasia is chronic worsening pain for at least another 20 years until they are so arthritic they need surgically replaced.  In the meanwhile I’ve had physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around my hips to better cope with the deterioration process.  I’ve been told since my hips are bad in the way that they are, my other joints will likely have similar problems as I age, and I’ve already starting having shoulder and knee pain.  So I’ve had physical therapy twice a week for the hips starting just recently, and physical therapy for my upper back, shoulders and neck for 6 weeks prior.  That is for insurance purposes to get me qualified for the breast reduction.  Which has been officially scheduled for September 1st!!  3 weeks from tomorrow I will be having the breast reduction to a C-cup, and the surgeon will also be doing a “scar revision” to take off some of the loose skin that was missed when I had my Panniculectomy, and straighten out my belly button.  I’m not too nervous about the belly area because I know what to expect, but I’m extremely nervous about having the breast work done because it such a delicate area.  I want it to be perfect, symmetrical, and I want to keep sensation to the area.  I worry too much about things anyway, but I really want this to be done well.  I have a different and more experienced surgeon this time, so I have higher hopes for a much better outcome.  I would post pics, but that could get my blog in trouble for mature content.  I’ll try to post reasonable, censored before photos on my Instagram before the surgery.

So that’s the update and what’s to come!  I know some of you have been bugging me for an update, so there it is!  Sorry it’s taken me so long to get some time to sit down and type it out.  I know I will have plenty of time to type in September, as I have to take pretty much the entire month off for recovery.  So I’ll seeya then!

My Year of Transformation

I just logged on to share a few updates and noticed I hadn’t posted since November!  Wow, so much has happened since then that I haven’t been sharing much of at all.  So where to start….

At the end of November, my family and I moved to a small town about 20 miles away from work and school.  The house is wonderful!  Very spacious, plenty of room to spread out and relax instead of living with a cluttered home.  However, since then there have been plenty of downsides that I didn’t anticipate being quite as bad as it has felt.  We’re far enough away that not many people want to come out to visit.  Its not easy to just run to the store for a quick trip.  We have to get up quite a bit earlier just to get to work and school on time.  The boys don’t have a home to go to after school so they need to stay at a friends, which I have felt has been too much.  And if I want to do something in Newton or even further, I need someone to be with or check in on the kids, or I need to take them along.  Needless to say, I have been trying like hell to get a place back in Newton, but so far my efforts have been fruitless.  There is just nothing available big enough for the whole family.  I’m hoping since it’s tax season, people will have their refund money and start moving and free something up for us!
In December I had an MRI on a mass that had grown in my back, around my shoulder blades and just to the left of my spine.  They couldn’t identify it, but since it had been there for over 3 years, the doctors weren’t terribly concerned, but recommended getting it removed.  So in January I had it removed.  Pathology had to be transferred to Mayo Clinic because it still could not be identified.  It turned out to be a Myoepithelioma, which is a very rare tumor made of skin and muscle cells.  It is benign, but there is a chance of recurrence, and a change it could come back cancerous.  So now in a couple of weeks I have to have it opened back up and they will remove all the scar tissue and tissue around where the tumor was, just to make sure everything is out and margins are safe.  That surgery will be on March 9th.
In January, Jake and I took a trip to St. Augustine, Florida to deliver some belongings for friends that had moved there.  We hauled a U-Haul trailer behind my truck and drove it down there.  The journey was great, as we took the scenic route there and back.  We went through 13 states during our week-long trip.  I faced my fear of heights and climbed to the top of the lighthouse with Jake.  We got to play in the Atlantic Ocean, even though the temperatures in Florida were unusually cold.  And the trip home was the best… going through the Appalachian mountains of West Virginia.  It was a lot of fun to spend all that time just me and Jake.  I think it helped us connect on a deeper level, road-tripping together alone.
As many of my readers know, I have been on a weight loss journey since January of 2016.  To this date, I have lost 46 pounds.  I was losing fairly quickly until June 2016, and since then I have been stagnant on the weight loss.  So finally, rather than continue to stay the same and be stuck with the remnants of heavier times, I decided to go forward with skin removal surgery.  My insurance approved it right away since its been causing me lots of discomfort and other health issues.  Today I met with the surgeon so he could go over the procedure and answer my questions.  The surgery has been scheduled for March 23rd.  That one is going to be a long recovery, but worth it!  Then 6 months later I’ll be looking into getting a breast reduction as well.
Due to the worsening of my now-diagnosed hip dysplasia and worsening back pain, Parkview and I have decided to part ways.  It broke my heart to make that decision, but my work quality was really slipping and I was coming home every night absolutely drained of energy and in agony.  And my job performance was getting worse and worse.  Being a vet assistant/tech is something I have always wanted to do.  Its quite depressing that I am physically unable to do the job now.  But hopefully with my upcoming surgeries, physical therapy, and some way to control pain, I’ll be able to get out there and get another job somewhere in the companion animal field.
Moving, job changes, and surgeries…… 2017 is my year of transformation!

Little Things

I was just going through my vlog video list as my most recent video is uploading, and realized that although I said there isn’t much more happening in my life, I really left out quite a bit from my blogging/vlogging records.  Just a bunch of little stuff, but it all really adds up to make the bigger picture.

First of all, my diet has been on hold for the last 2-3 months due to the stress and depression, and then the distraction of all the changes.  No excuses, it was my choice.  I decided NOT to go forward with a gastric sleeve surgery, and that I was doing this on my own.  However, I haven’t lost any more weight, but I didn’t gain any more back either.  I held at 225 for nearly 3 months.  I think that will be beneficial for me when it comes to losing again.  My body adjusted to being this size (45 lbs less than I was a year ago), and it won’t be so hard to keep off more weight once I’ve lost what I want.  About 6 weeks ago I qualified for skin removal surgery from my mid-section, and a breast reduction and lift.  I promised myself I wouldn’t go forward with those procedures until I was under 200 pounds because I want to look good after my surgeries.  As of today, I am back on the diet and exercise plan, and I’m ready to start dropping the pounds again!

I decided to downsize when it comes to pets.  Losing half of the household income really showed me how much we were spending on pets, and I’d like to move in the near future, so it was time to start cutting costs.  Penny killed Cecil, my duck.  I was devastated, and very angry with the dog.  But it made me realize that outside birds probly weren’t a good idea.  So I found the chickens a new home
too.  I gave Oscar the pug back to his previous owners, knowing he would be loved and cared for there.  I gave Gemini to Jake’s mom so she’s not so alone in her house now that Jake and Steven have moved in with me and the boys.  So we’re down to Penny, Sunny and Salem.  Plus Jake’s bird Snickers (amazon parrot).  And now I have a lovebird named Skittles, but she’s mostly caged for her own safety.

My best friend Amber and I started each other on a set of dreads.  This is my final attempt, and so far its not so bad.  My scalp hasn’t been itchy, likely because I conditioned it to the shampoo I’m using for several months ahead of time.  And I have my first professional dreadlock maintenance appointment set for next week, so they will look GOOD this time.

I have also gotten 2 sesssions of work done on my right arm tattoo sleeve.  My phoenix has been completely recolored and I’m getting the background filled in with leaves and such.  Its turning out amazing!

I do believe I’ve found us a 5-bedroom house for rent for a very affordable price, but I have yet to hear back from the landlord again.  I’m hoping to hear back within the next week so we can do a walk through before the current tenants move out.  If its as nice on the inside as it seems from the outside, we may have ourselves some comfortable permanence until the kids are all grown!

Though I still dream of Florida almost nightly, I have decided to stay closer to family for the time being.  I can visit Florida when I get chances.

I’m sure that’s not all either, but that’s all I can think of at the moment.