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The Unvarnished Truth About Plastic Surgery - Part 1 - Pre-Surgery & the Hospital (Shake it up baby)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

There are going to be at least three of these, perhaps four or even five as I sort out and process everything that is continuing to happen to me. But I want you to know -- while it is fresh in my mind. You need to know this, and I need to tell you. I NEED to tell you.

Some things are going to be alarming. Some will be gross. It is very personal. But I want to -- I insist -- on laying it out for you. This naked, shivering truth.

I had the following three procedures done on the 15th: breast lift, umbilical hernia repair and tummy tuck. Of course most people don't have all three done at once or even at all. I've been thinking for quite a while about whether if, knowing what I know now, I would have done all or most of these things, and whether I would have done them all at once. Today, my conclusion is that I'd still do it. Same way. But there have been many times I've thought of doing things differently in the past few days. Anyway, here's my tale.


I went in for a consultation about six months ago. I was interested in breast reduction, actually, and didn't even know I had a hernia. The doctor took one look at me and said, if we reduce you, you'll end up looking like a teenaged boy. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but that's not how I wanted to go. Hence I decided to go for the lift. The bottom line, even though, of all three procedures it's probably the one most informed by vanity, the lift is something I want because I've had sagging breasts for twenty freakin' years. I looked middle aged when I was still young. Now that I'm middle aged, I'd like to look young. Or at least younger. Hey, humor me. :)

So I said yes to all three.

Before going to the hospital, I did the following: I packed an overnight bag. VERY IMPORTANT: I included a top and sweat pants that were too big for me. I was a Medium before I walked into the hospital. The top was an old 2X and the sweats were XL. Also, we arranged for my parents to come up on Sunday. This would assure that they'd be around to take over for my husband so that he could return to work, plus he does not drive so they would be able to help with emergencies. And to keep him company and spot him. It's too much work for one person.

We also cooked some bean soup in advance and bought some easy foods like deli sliced turkey and little individual Greek yogurts. I cut up tons of produce for future salads. We were set.

Our expectation was that I would not even stay overnight. Ha! How wrong we were.

Oh yes, one more thing. Because I am looking for work, I arranged for a job interview (an in-person; I had already talked on the phone to the Hiring Manager) for today. Insane.


We arrived early (we walked to the hospital; it's that close). The doctor was there and I changed into the lovely attire they give you. And then the next thing the doctor did was, he grabbed a purple magic marker and marked me up. Lines on my breasts. On my belly. Around my navel. Under the breasts. To the sides of my hips. Purple everywhere.

Then I met the anesthesiologist and signed more consent forms.

I'd like to right now acknowledge all of the amazing people who cared for me: Dr. Richard Silverman (my surgeon); Dr. Derek Keller (anesthesiologist); Tom (surgical nurse); Kaye (ICU nurse); Katie (overnight nurse, both nights); Leanne (day shift, first day, first shift); Jackie (day shift, first day, second shift); Courtney (fill-in nurse, both days) and Kelli (day shift, second day). See all those days? Oh yeah. My plan to be outta there without an overnight stay was, shall we say, overly optimistic.

Back to our story. I signed the forms and they wheeled me in, or at least I assume that's what happened, as things get foggy. Shots in the arm, in the IV line. Lights out. I learned later that Dr. S. did me from the top down. And, for the breast surgery, I was up on my elbows a lot, so they hurt later.

I woke up in ICU. Mr. Jespah was there; so was Dr. S and Kaye. Dr. S told me he'd removed six pounds of flesh. The entire apron of skin around my belly was gone. He had stitched down my abs. I was wearing a soft truss and a kind of surgical support bra. Inside the bra were the ends of two drains, attached and hanging down on the right side. Everything was taped up snugger than a Christmas package.

Kaye kept talking to me. She was unbelievable. She did whatever was needed. Mr. J would come in and out (I don't think he was allowed to constantly stay in the area). Kaye, of course, had to stay. I could hear machines and the other ICU nurse, Carol, talking to the patient in the next, I dunno, area. They aren't really rooms. More like booths, I suppose.

Then Kaye tried to get me to sit up. We were all still of the opinion that I might head home that night (it was getting late, 8 PM?).


If you were wondering about today's blog song and why I chose it, here's why. The song, if you cannot get to Youtube, is The Beatles' "Twist and Shout".

Because that's exactly what I did.

I have never felt such agony. You don't know what your abs do until they hurt like THAT.

Kaye and I tried to move me. I screamed. Ixnay on THAT. I then apologized. She said I didn't have to. I said, I just don't want to alarm the person in the next room. And it's true. I never knew their name or even if they were male or female. But I hope I didn't scare Carol's (the other ICU nurse) patient. Things are scary enough.

The decision was immediately made for me to stay overnight. Kaye called Marco to wheel me to seventh floor West in the Seton wing. St. Elizabeth's Hospital is a Catholic hospital, so the wards are named for various prominent Catholics. Seton is of course Elizabeth Seton, the first American Catholic Saint. I asked Marco if he was an immigrant from Italy. No, Costa Rica. He got me in, safe and sound and wished me well.


This is where I met Katie, a pretty, young woman, probably in her twenties. It was maybe midnight on the 16th. I did a lot of sleeping, of course, as is to be expected. The first alarming thing was being unable to urinate. Not a happy thing. Not at all.

If you are reading this and you can urinate on your own, I know this sounds silly but, flush an extra time and think of people who cannot. Because, let me tell you, when you can't, it is just awful. Not just the feeling of fullness. It's also the feeling of utter helplessness. Yes, Katie had the unenviable task of having to catheter me.

Leanne took over in the morning. Leanne is the kind of person who calls everyone honey and love and dear. We went through all sorts of pain medications. Oxycontin (yes, that's what Rush Limbaugh is addicted to). Celebrex. Percocet. Over and over. No real relief. I was never truly pain free. They asked me to rate my pain on a scale of one to ten, with ten being agony. Trying to move in ICU was a damned 11, I swear. But during the day, even doped up, I was at a six or so.

The urination thing was still at issue. Leanne brought in Jackie. They talked. Then they brought over the Resident on call, who introduced himself and shook my hand with a grip of iron. That would have been fine if I'd been interviewing him. But lying there in a hospital bed, that just hurt like the Dickens. Yes, you use your abs to shake hands. Jackie insisted that I get cathetered again, and they stop this nonsense.

She eventually won out and came up close to me and whispered. "It's because I'm a b----." That made me smile. But no laughing. Because, you guessed it, you use your abs to laugh.

Jackie took over for a while, and was in and out with Courtney. Courtney was another lovely young woman. Jackie and Leanne were both a bit older, maybe my age. I think they were all Massachusetts natives. Mr. J was around by then (yes, for the second cathetering, too, a sight that must have been a wonder to behold). The doctor had been in, too, and his verdict was, I had to pass two tests: urinating and walking (hopefully not at the same time!). If I could not do both, I'd have to stay.

Mr. J left again (he needed to clean house and set up the downstairs couch for me, plus he needed to email my interviewer and tell them I wouldn't be able to make it). I again attempted urination. Sitting there for an hour was just not a fun time at all. But I was otherwise more alert, eating meals and talking with the staff. The phone rang a few times. I talked to my parents and my brother. Eventually Mr. J returned and I again made the attempt (this was on a commode chair so that I wouldn't have to walk much). With the water running in the bathroom, and with a lot of straining and prayer, suddenly there were happy sounds.

Mr. J wanted to gently high five me but, of course, you use your abs to high five.


There was a football game on, and so Mr. J turned it on without the sound. Even though I no longer had a roommate (when I'd first arrived, there'd been a Filipino woman with some sort of lung function issue, and diabetes -- I kept hearing Katie talking to her about her sugar numbers -- but she was gone by then.), the door was open and we didn't want to disturb the other patients. Dinner was served. Good Lord, coconut cream pie. The first pie I'd had in two years. Weird.

Naturally I did not count calories or log a damned thing. I drank scads of water, and the first thing I had after surgery was a small can of diet ginger ale that Katie gave me. Wow. The best stuff I'd ever tasted. I figure my calories were pretty much in line with what I've been eating, since there were no snacks. It doesn't matter.

I finally sent Mr. J home late that night. He needed the sleep desperately; I'd seen him dozing off in the chair.


The next day, my arms were really starting to hurt me. This was because, since I could finally eliminate on my own, I was getting up every few hours to do just that. This involved using one of those things over the bed -- I forget what they're called. But they look sort of like one of an Olympic male gymnast's rings. I'd pull myself up, swing over as well as I could, and then flop onto the commode, do whatever, and then the return trip was harder as the ring was not in a good position. Back and forth, forth and back, over and over again. Since I could not push hard (those pesky abs again!), I could not eliminate much. Hence all of the trips. But, every time I did it, things got better, or I got faster.

Kelli came in, and we decided to do some walking. We took a tour of the floor and then she got me to the Interfaith Chapel (next door to my room), where I read the bible a bit. Joseph and his brothers. I know the story but it reminded me of dreams and their meanings. And my gosh, Jacob's family was quite a blended family. But the Brady Bunch they were not.

I had accomplished my goals. I could urinate and I could walk. It was time to go.


Mr. J of course came for me. The guy who needed to wheel me out seemed to be going fast; that was scary to me. It's odd what you're afraid of, but that terrified me.

We got into the cab. The World's Most Wonderful Cab Driver helped me in. I didn't know the man, of course, and held his hand like a long-lost friend. The ride was short, cost maybe three dollars. Mr. J gave him a ten. Here, keep it all.

Going up about a dozen steps to our home was easier and faster than I'd feared. The open sleeper couch looked amazing. My parents were enroute. I was exhausted and fell into bed and awaited the next part of the adventure.

If this ending seems rushed; it is. I cannot sit still for too long. More to come in a few days. Thank you for reading.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JIBBIE49 1/29/2010 10:01AM

    I'm glad u had it done. I plan to have a tummy-tuck, so it was interesting to read. I don't care about the boobs at this point. BUT, getting the abdominal muscles fixed is what matters as with age they would have stretched MORE and you would have had serious back issues. (Reason I am going to get them done when I'm at goal weight.) When I had my gallbladder out in October the surgery went through my navel and he did tell me that my ab muscles are pulled apart , which I know came from my having a 9# baby turned FACE UP and pushing for 3 hrs to get him out. (I pushed my guts out.) He was the 4th one so they didn't think I'd need a c-section.

Well, glad it went well. I'd have left the cath in longer and not did the bathroom trips right away. When I have mine done I will have to have bladder surgery to "lift" it as I have problems with that, too.

Glad u are doing well. I'm so happy for you. Now u will be able to do ab exercises and strengthen your back. Look at Pilates exercises as they are good for us.

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DDOORN 1/29/2010 9:28AM

    Yeesh...wincing my way through this, but SO appreciate your unvarnished truth as I have been kicking this idea around but mostly giving myself a thumbs down on surgery as I'm so squeamish and have so many concerns about complications.

Yet the thought still lurks around...

If I might ask...were you able to have this covered by your health insurance...?

Thank you SO much for sharing such a VITAL part of your journey!


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PROMISE2DESIGN 1/26/2010 10:10PM

    Glad to see you are home. I've had you in my prayers. Hopefully the pain lets up soon! I can't wait for you to get all healed up and tell me how that 9 inch radius off makes your clothes fit :) I'm proud of you. You are an inspiration. Hang in there sweetheart! emoticon

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GEODAWG 1/25/2010 5:27PM

    I came over here to thank you for commenting on my blog then read YOUR blog. OMG. Reminded me of my surgery only I did not have much pain. Hurry and get well!!!

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KUNGFOOD 1/23/2010 7:38PM

    What an experience! Thanks for sharing another amazing journey. I've had plenty of surgeries (skin grafts and reconstructive from burns) and can relate to this post on many levels. But you can always be humbled without totally losing dignity!

Speedy recovery wishes, looking forward to those pics. And how many pounds of flesh! Yikes yowee and that's a heck of a way to lose the pounds, my dear!


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KENNYWHEELS 1/22/2010 6:15PM

    Hey jespah, glad to hear everthing is getting better for you. as usual a very funny and interesting read. get well soon

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KUANGIE 1/22/2010 4:25PM

    Thanks for your story. Very interesting. I have saggy boobs, and elephantitis of the abdomen due to gaining 50 pounds with my pregnancies. Once I lose the weight and if I am still saggy, I will seriously consider this, that is, if I had the money.

I am wondering how the pain compares to c/s pain. But it does sound worse.

Here's to fast healing!

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LAURIE5658 1/22/2010 3:55PM

    Wow! I just found your story via a Spark friend via Friend Feed. I am now subscribed so I can follow this amazing story of YOU! Thank you for taking time to tell it to us!

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    Whew! Hoping you have a speedy and quick recovery!!! I'm late on checking back up on ya, but glad to know you made it through semi okay!


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BITFLINGER 1/21/2010 7:11PM

    Oh - one other comment. Once the cathetar is in, don't let them take it out until you're absolutely sure you don't need it anymore. Trust me on this one . . .

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BITFLINGER 1/21/2010 7:10PM

    Oh, just be glad you didn't have to pass the poop test. Usually you have to POOP and walk after surgery before they'll let you out. I can only imagine how THAT would have felt.

Just to make you feel better, I will share my latest humiliation: I have second degree burns on my butt. Yes, it's true - I spilled soup the other night and ended up sitting in it for a all of a nanosecond, which is all it took to fry my a**. I, too, gave the 11 on a scale of 1 to 10 response when it came to rating my pain. Oy vey, it was bad. And you haven't enjoyed the ER until you realize that everyone working to assist you is trying not to LAUGH the entire time.

Hey, I'm glad I brought a smile to their faces. Right now, it's all I can do to stay pearched on a donut-shapped pillow.

Hang in there!


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STRINGS58 1/21/2010 6:47AM

    Wow! I knew that people get quite bruised up with breast surgery and that abs work HU-U-U-RTS! Peeing and eating without vomiting are those keys to get out of the hospital kingdom. The recoup time will still take awhile! You did some good prep. When I had a string of surgeries starting with a partial thyroidectomy, I had to spend time preparing myself to be a good patient! Now it's your home challenge.
May each day be a healing one!

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EMMASMART 1/21/2010 12:17AM

    Regarding the scary ride in the wheel chair. Percocettes and Oxy have codienne. codienne is drying and it can screw up the balance system, which makes wheel chairs, gurney's and etc. a very scary situation. My balance is fubar regularly and when I am in hospital usually it is worse (allergic to the anti-biotic spray and cleaner) so I let the gurney drivers know to take it easy on my poor dizzy head..

I was terrified after my last surgical experience (Cardiac Cath which I aced by the way) riding home in the car and all I was on was morphine and benedryl. i have recovered. but I know to watch out how much of the good stuff. (I find pain occasionally better than spinning)

I hope you recover with great speed and are soon on your way to your interview and able once again to yuck it up as you are prone to.

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CAROLISCIOUS 1/20/2010 10:28PM

    Best laid plans, huh? Sorry that you had such an awful time...but I am enjoying the read. Welcome back.

A's called a trapeze...

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    Oh my dear Jespah I am so glad you wrote all about it and I want to see the other chapters to come.
Ow. Sympathy pains.
Good healing girl. Glad your parents are available to help. Don't rush it. Small steps just keep stepping. Gotta move your limbs and your circulation and your lungs. Gotta. Really.

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LAB-LOVER 1/20/2010 7:38PM

    I'm like Marit. No surgery, unless you count wisdom teeth. And there's a reason (lots of 'em in your story) why I'm afraid to subject myself to knives. I'm glad you made it through and are on the downhill side of recovery. Thanks for sharing your story. But I think I'm glad that this isn't a vlog! A big (careful) hug to you and a high five to Jay for taking good care of you!

Look forward to the next chapters!

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FIT_TERI 1/20/2010 6:41PM

    Wow, that sounds like quite an ordeal. I had to be catheterized once - "wait, you're going to do what?" - but it was for a very short duration. I've never had abdominal surgery but have heard from others about learning that you use your abs to do just about anything.

It sounds like you had an excellent team taking care of you. I am glad that you did and that you happened to find the world's most wonderful cab driver. It's nice to know that you sometimes can rely on the kindness of strangers.

I hope that you feel better soon.

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JLITT62 1/20/2010 3:34PM

    Sending healing vibes your way. Hope you are feeling much, much better soon.

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TELERIE 1/20/2010 3:08PM

    Healing hugs! I haven't had surgery in my life, and can't imagine that pain, but hope you're keeping yourself medicated. Hang in there and get better. emoticon

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LESS_IS_MO 1/20/2010 1:15PM

    Thanks for sharing that. I think it is important for people to know. I'm sure it will get much better from here, with only a few horrible things left, like the changing of dressings etc.

I had a very large uterine fibroid blasted with silicone particles about 5 years ago. I was also cathetered as part of the procedure - it was my first and I was deathly afraid of it (The nurse had a very hard time doing mine too. Oh joy!)
I wonder why they did not give you morphine for the pain. I got intravenous morphine and it was heavenly, let me tell you - utter peace in a bottle. BUT later, at home (I didn't stay overnight), I was supposed to take my morphine orally and I barfed it up - the tablet formed for some reason caused me a lot of dizziness and made me upchuck. Boy I was NOT a happy camper. The pain was incredible. My poor dh who is a doctor, was stunned by my screaming I think. Later I finally was able to take a Gravol suppositories and that made me able to keep down the morphine. I was ok within a few days and I still have a lot of morphine pills left, but I can't think of anything that would make me touch them. Once a doctor gave me some kind of sedative for airplane travel and taking that was a big mistake too. I hope YOU find some kind of pain killer that will keep you comfortable.

PS there was an article in my local paper today about women who get botox earning an average of, hmm i think it was 10cents per hour more than women who don't. Maybe the surgery will pay dividends on your job hunt too! Hope so!

Comment edited on: 1/20/2010 1:19:04 PM

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MARCHMAID 1/20/2010 11:56AM

    As a surgical veteran--I won't belabor the details, but I've had several--it sounds to me as if everything's moving on track.

Take it easy, stay on top of the pain--you won't get addicted because you'll run out of pills or need to take them soon enough. Don't flush 'em though. It's bad for the environment.

Smile as much as you can--it'll make the Mr. feel better and he needs to know you're OK. Good going Red Rider. You'll be fine and happy that the excess is gone--the memory of pain evaporates rather quickly which is a mercy. : )

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DMPRIDER 1/20/2010 11:26AM

    Thanks for sharing. I hope you are feeling better and better every day.

I envy your bravery/decision to get a breast lift. I have had sagging breasts pretty much from the get-go. Having had thyroid surgery two years ago, I'm not sure I would go under the knife again just to improve them even though I like the idea of them looking better.

I have to tell you, I saw something in your status last week about having an in-person interview this week and I thought it was a mistake, like a typo. Otherwise I would've warned you that you were not going on any interviews this week. I'm surprised your doctor wasn't able to fill you in on what to expect, at least to that extent.

You are brave and you are strong. Good luck with your continued recovery.

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MALCONTENTION 1/20/2010 11:19AM

    Thanks for sharing. I'd meant to wish you luck before your surgery, but it got away from me. HEAL FAST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't wait to see the photos of the New You!!

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GEE-KNEE 1/20/2010 11:12AM

    I have only had surgery once and it was done laparosopically (tumor in my ovary). It was an outpatient thing, and it hurt terribly. My first thought upon waking up, "I am suppose to go home like this". Yours sounds worse. Yet, being that I have sagging skin myself, I understand why you did it. I hope you feel better soon. Thanks for sharing.

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MS.ELENI 1/20/2010 11:09AM

    Your story so far is what I thought it would be.It is a lot of pain and recouping involved.But once all the healing is over it will all be worth it.Hang in there.Each day will be a little better.

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PALMTREEGIRL1 1/20/2010 11:02AM

    I'm thinking about the breast lift.....

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IFDEEVARUNS2 1/20/2010 10:55AM

    OMG, what an ordeal! And yet you'd do it again. Can't wait to hear the rest of the story! emoticon

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LIV212000 1/20/2010 10:53AM

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us!

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LOSTWITHIN 1/20/2010 10:47AM

    Thanks for sharing. I appreciate you and your experience. As for you lift, I wouldn't call that vanity. I myself have always had sagging breast. I was a DDD by the time I was 12 years old, and from experience I know that the sagging also causes the same problems as lose skin. You were not vain at all!!

I'm glad your pain has dropped down, and you are lucky to have wonderful parents who are there to help take care of you. I can't wait to read the rest of your post so that I can know what to expect when I hit my goal. I myself will have to have a full body lift plus more.

Take Care!!!

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SWEETZMIX 1/20/2010 10:43AM

    Glad to hear you are doing OK, well I know not OK, OK, but you know what I mean. Well at least all this pain is not for nothing. I must say you are a strong woman b/c many would of chickened out to do all those procedures like you did!

Miss you!!!!!

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2FUN2B_LAZY 1/20/2010 10:34AM

    Wow.. wht a crazy adventure! I always wondered what it may be like after those surgeries! You would think the doctor would tell you not to get them all at once.

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FTLSWEETIE 1/20/2010 10:33AM

    Thanks for sharing and I look forward to reading more about your experience. You are very brave for sharing like this:-)

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Shut the Door Baby, Don't Say a Word/You were Always There for Me

Friday, January 15, 2010

Surgery is today. I have been thinking of it for months, and the day is finally here. It's set for 12:30 and we've got to be at the hospital at 10:30. I'm certain I'll be nutty so this is a shot at coherence.

My dreams have been dominated by visions of losses of control. Not necessarily specifically medically-related, but there is a fear of putting myself into others' hands. I have always been this way. Yes, I am a Control Freak. Know thyself, right?

I put some stock in dreams, even odd and obscure ones, perhaps more than I should, but I do, and it has been that way since I was a scared seven-year-old who thought she wouldn't fit in.

One recent dream was of opening up a mess kit, you know the kind with nesting utensils, and somehow the flat knife was mechanized and spun. Tried as I might, I could not stop it, and I was becoming more and more afraid that it would cut and harm me. Finally, somehow, I took my eyes off the terrifying spinning knife and cast them on the floor; it was the old, ratty, linty carpet from when we lived in Mineola over fifteen years ago. I somehow flipped the wheeling knife over and buried it in the carpet. It stopped, the mechanism jamming due to the presence of the lint. So it was a happy ending I suppose, but it took damned long for the solution to present itself and, in the meantime, fear held my throat and my heart in its grip.

I know that my surgeon is good. I know that the hospital is good. But there is a nagging fear that somehow this will be the exception, and oxygen will fail to go to my brain and I'll become a vegetable. Or that I'll die on the table.

I cannot help these fears, no matter how much I tamp them down with other activities and concerns and thoughts, beliefs and feelings. And, in the meantime, I also am in the position of managing others' feelings. Sometimes it's all too much.

Guitars and major chords tend to soothe me, so I thought of Sugar Ray immediately. And then when I really listened to "Someday", I got it.

I hope that this is not the end, but stranger things have happened and I am mentally prepared even if my dreams are trying to tell me otherwise. So before I go, and before whatever is going to happen, happens, I want to thank you. Because you really have always been there for me. I could not have gotten here without you.

Perhaps I am sentimental, and overly dramatic. Feelings are sloppy and indulgent and don't always make much sense. But I hope that what I feel for all of you has shone through, even amidst the muddiness of my own fears and phobias and idiosyncrasies.

You have always been there for me. If I have said anything at all, at any time, let that be what is front and center, and remembered.

Thank you.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARCHMAID 1/20/2010 9:04AM

    Since it's five days later and I've just read this, I know you're fine! Give us all an update! Hugs and sweet dreams!

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CAROLISCIOUS 1/15/2010 11:17PM

    I read this on my crackhoe early this morning...I know everything went just fine...

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LIV2RIDE 1/15/2010 9:14PM

    I hope that everything went well. You have been in my prayers.

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IFDEEVARUNS2 1/15/2010 2:22PM

    Sending healing thoughts your way. emoticon emoticon

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JOHAL52 1/15/2010 12:40PM

    I felt similar worries when I had my surgery last year. I'd never been under anesthetic and was convinced I'd either wake up halfway through or else not wake up at all. But I am here and I am fine! Praying that you will be too!

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JLITT62 1/15/2010 12:35PM

    Sending lots of positive vibes!

Surgery is always scary. I had several as a kid, none as an adult. I pretty much just accepted it as a kid, now I'm sure I'd freak out!

We'll catch you on the flip side, as they say.

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GRANDMAAMIE 1/15/2010 11:46AM

    emoticonTAKE CARE


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BORROWEDANGEL1 1/15/2010 11:16AM

    Surgery is a scary thing, but for what it's worth just know that a higher power is there for you to lean on, and that by letting His power have control, all will be fine..

Stay Strong and may your healing be as fast as you need it to be!


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MS.ELENI 1/15/2010 10:33AM

    Any surgery is scary but you will be fine.As you said you have a good doc and good hospital. Hopefully they gave you something to relax when you first got there.By now you are there and it will soon be over. Once you recover you will be happy you got it done. Will be thinking about you emoticon emoticon

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DMPRIDER 1/15/2010 10:05AM

    Surgery is scary, it's perfectly normal to feel that way. But I'm sure you will be fine. And we'll all be here to cheer you on through your recovery. Best wishes.

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SWEETZMIX 1/15/2010 9:54AM

    You'll be fine. I know you will.

Here's to a speedy recovery! And that's not water, sometimes we need to have some vodka! It takes the edge off!

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LESS_IS_MO 1/15/2010 9:17AM

    You're a brave woman. We're all wishing for a speedy recovery, and kick-azz results!

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LILSUNFLOWER 1/15/2010 9:09AM

    Best of luck with your Surgery. We'll all be sending good vibes your way.

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    Sending you loving kindness. Now and from 10:30 on today. Update please as soon as you are able to log back to us.

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    I am sure everything will go just fine!

Good luck and I am wishing you a speedy and healthy recovery!


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TELERIE 1/15/2010 6:54AM

    emoticon Be well! emoticon

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GRAMPIAN 1/15/2010 6:29AM

  I wish you all the very best for the operation and your recovery. emoticon

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Pre-Surgery Measurements

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The before shots!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PROMISE2DESIGN 1/15/2010 6:52AM

    Congrats! You have made it. When I started my journey, one of my concerns was what will be become of left over skin. I've read a few things, but your video is a real eye opener. You look wonderful and healthy. I'm so proud of You! Does this mean you'll be posting bikini pictures? Get well soon. You'll be in my prayers. emoticon

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DMPRIDER 1/14/2010 11:14PM

    Good luck and best wishes for a speedy recovery!

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LAB-LOVER 1/14/2010 10:38PM

    I couldn't watch this tonight because I'm at a hotel with an incredibly slow internet connection. But good luck -- love that 5K T-shirt! Can't wait to hear how it goes!


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KAYBEE37 1/14/2010 10:07PM

    Best of luck to you -- hope you recover quickly!

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CAROLISCIOUS 1/14/2010 9:39PM

    I'm voting for a solid size 8, small and 10 inches! Let's go for the gold! Looking forward to hearing from you when it's all over...XX and OO!

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    I will be sending you loving kindness all day. Good outcome and speedy recovery!

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TYEASLEY 1/14/2010 8:18PM

    Good Luck!! Here's GOOD results and QUICK recovery emoticon emoticon

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LOSTWITHIN 1/14/2010 6:52PM

    Good luck with your surgery! Thanks for posting this, it helps everyone who will have to go through the same thing after their weight loss. You are the first one I have found talking about all the loose skin so I'm really grateful that you are VLOGing your experience.

Can't wait to see your results!!!


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KAT7457 1/14/2010 6:38PM

    good luck on your surgery and heal fast. hugs Kat

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STARRSTYLIST 1/14/2010 6:24PM

    Good luck to you tomorrow. Just think of how great you will feel in about 6 weeks. When all is done completely. best wishes to you..


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KENNYWHEELS 1/14/2010 6:12PM

    Good luck Jespah. hope you have a safe and speedy recovery.

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MS.ELENI 1/14/2010 5:59PM

    Wishing you great results and a speedy recovery. It will make a big change for you in a good way. I know you are nervous but you will be just fine emoticon emoticon

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TELERIE 1/14/2010 5:44PM

Thinking about you! It'll be all right!

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GEE-KNEE 1/14/2010 5:41PM

    Good luck on having a speedy post surgery recovery. Best wishes on getting good results. You'll have to let me know how this goes. I've got some skin issues myself.


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Underneath a Thousand Blankets

Monday, January 11, 2010

I confess this is a post I sent to a friend who was thinking of quitting. I hope you don't mind the recycling; just thought this one might need a bigger audience. And, by the way, I gained this week. Eh, it happens. On to better things.

Quitting is, well, I suppose we all consider it at one time or another. The trick is to squash that demon. The most powerful force in the universe is inertia. It makes you want to hang out in bed rather than get up and face the world. It keeps you in ruts (it LOVES ruts). It tamps down your enthusiasm. It tells you that you can't.

But yanno something (and you don't know me from Eve but I know from whence you speak/feel)?

Inertia is just a force. It doesn't even have any substance.

But it can be overcome. It means nothing. It is nothing.

YOU are something. You are flesh and blood and bone and will and smarts and heart and kindness and humor and mischief and love and sweetness and about a trillion things that inertia is NOT.

You are YOU. You are better than that. You are smarter, kinder, stronger and more willful.

You are better.

You are going to make it.

Inertia's just some force, dreamed up by Sir Isaac Newton when he wasn't getting smacked in the head with apples.

Well, ole Ike shoulda been EATING those apples. Then perhaps instead of Differential Calculus we'd all be sweating over Nutrition classes and studying the Great Apple Nebula in the Sky.

Okay, so I'm rambling and I'm a little (who am I kidding? A LOT) quirky.

But I do hope you will throw over the inertia, just like you threw over the bedcovers this morning and got up, even though the bed was oh so attractive. The strength to face another day exists in you, and the strength to face another day of trying exists there as well. It just needs a little coaxing, a little love, or maybe a slap on its bum, to come out. That strength DOES have substance.

Let it out there, into the universe, and you'll find that you've got a leash on its collar and it'll pull you along until suddenly you're at your destination.

Don't make it sit. Don't make it stay. Don't make it heel.

Follow it. :)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

THECITYMOUSE 1/13/2010 6:27PM

    You are .... such a babe.
I frickin' love your nuggets of wisdom!!!

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CAROLISCIOUS 1/12/2010 9:34PM

    Grreat blog on not quitting...I'm doing good right now, but I know I will need this later on when the momentum slacks...Imma print it and put it on my fridge for when that time comes...cuz it WILL come!

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PICKIE98 1/11/2010 1:05PM


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LESS_IS_MO 1/11/2010 11:45AM

    Great job. I have to move forward too.

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    Ohhh this is so lovely. And so are you. Just what I needed today.

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MARCHMAID 1/11/2010 9:57AM

    Just when I was thinking maybe I'd had enough. . . timing is everything.


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DMPRIDER 1/11/2010 9:42AM

    Great blog and full of good advice as usual!

BTW, congratulations on your recent articles on Examiner. Very cool that. And very well-written!

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MS.ELENI 1/11/2010 9:41AM

    My favorite quote is "You haven't failed until you quit trying" I remind myself of that every time I want to give up.

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JLITT62 1/11/2010 7:49AM

    If that's quirky, then I love quirky! Great, great, great blog. Thank you.

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STRINGS58 1/11/2010 6:33AM

    oh, dang, Now I have to get off computer and deal with my counter inertia workout. I'm in that danger zone where if I don't get to it soon, it will be passed up for getting ready for work. After reading that, sheesh! now I gotta go make something happen! I'll take my resigned eyeore attitude and get out some handweights . . .

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TELERIE 1/11/2010 6:17AM

    I LOVE IT! What a great writer you are!!

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Ain't Gonna Spend the Rest of my Life Quietly Fading Away

Monday, January 04, 2010

Every day, in some way or another, I am looking for work. I have had long-term unemployment before, twice. How long term? Is three years long enough? And I've had that twice. Yeah. It stinks. You start to really, really question your value, and not just in the work arena. It messes with your vision of yourself as a contributor to society, as a person of value.

I don't blame all of my weight gain on this but it did not help, by any means. I know I packed on a good 80 or so the first time I had a three-year furlough, and probably another 60 for the second three-year furlough. As for the other 60, eh, who knows? It all happened over the course of two or so decades so it was slices of pizza and bags of papadum chips and real ice cream and of course not working out. Everyone who's reading this knows the drill.

And so I am trying my darnedest to not let that happen a third time. It is not just because of my health although that is a piece of it. It is also because of, let's face it, our finances. We are doing fine but another shock to the retirement fund is not advisable.

Hence I am beating the bushes. I have been to one networking party and today I had a networking call, actually there were two as I managed to finagle a second one with someone I really wanted to talk to. Tomorrow is a networking meeting. Then Wednesday is another networking party (same folks from the first one I went to), then another meeting on Friday. Next week is a job fair, a night at Mass. Innovation and four or five more networking meetings.

Plus there are another five people to call but that will be after surgery. I am tapped. I can't even think about any more meetings or phone calls. Between that and everything I'm trying to watch on Twitter, etc., I'm feeling a sense of losing control. I know I'm doing a lot but it is awfully tiring. Of course some of this is the almost three hours I spent shoveling snow for the past two days. But I'm also just getting a bit wiped by having to be on, and perky. I can do perky and I can explain what I want to do, yet again, to yet another person. That's all fine. And I can also tell I'm online too much, and that's fatiguing me as well.

Hence -- and now that I have made it to the top Spark trophy anyway, a new regimen is in place (some of this is shamelessly stolen from Lab Lover):
* Unsubscribe from any spark mails I don't really read. I don't need the points any more, so who cares?
* Answer blogs whenever I want to, not just two and then be done because that's all I get points for in a day. Answer one. Or none. Or seven.
* No more adding to topics if I have nothing to really say, again, just to get points. Man, I was greedy in the points department, eh? :) Answer topics, or not, as desired and for no other reason.
* No more reading articles that don't interest me, same reason as above.
* Leave teams where I'm not active.
* Continue using the food and exercise trackers. Continue tracking other goals. Continue checking in. Continue contributing to teams as desired.

I do plenty of other things online -- SparkPeople isn't my only source of long-time online syndrome. But it is a piece of it, and a piece I can take care of, probably more readily than other areas (e. g. I can't exactly cut back on moderating my site).

Again, I am rambling, I know. There are really two points to this blog entry. One, I am going to reprioritize as much as I can in order to maximize my chances of finding a job. And, two, some of that means less sparking. For me, though, it will be separating the wheat from the chaff, to only do what I need to, and want to, and no longer be a slave to the points. It feels kind of liberating to write that.

In the meantime, enjoy The Alan Parsons Project.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRACYZABELLE 1/10/2010 1:49PM

    I procrastinate way too much---I have too many blogs piled up and am answering today-- my fingers are tired, lol!

I am sure somethjing good will come your way! I am pulling for you!

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KUNGFOOD 1/9/2010 7:51AM

    Something will pop. And I don't mean the button on your jeans.

I found my weight loss routine improved after I gave up being a slave to SP points, logging food, etc. Maybe there are some people who need a hand up and can walk the walk once the routine has taken hold.

It can be done. Be kind to yourself, keep your balance.

Two points to your blog... you meant to say that, didn't you?!

You are a great source of inspiration to so many of us in so many ways. Thank you!

emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/9/2010 7:53:45 AM

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EMMASMART 1/6/2010 11:52AM

    I've had 2 interviews in the last 7 days. So they are looking for us. It's just a matter of time. Mercury is in retrograde through the 12th and then things will start moving along. I just know it. I agree that Spark can suck up your life and make regular life activities like exercise unlikely. But in a way you need spark more than ever before in your new post Alli reality. I am depending on you to stay fit and trim, because I look up to you. So.. There. I hope that isn't too much pressure.

I do believe that jobs are a coming and soon. It won't be long now.


Comment edited on: 1/6/2010 11:53:11 AM

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NYAYNE 1/6/2010 8:59AM

    Wishing you well on your job search. Now that the holidays are over and days are getting longer something good will come. I read you on the wasting time on line, I've cut back. I do check to she if you have blogged.

Who is the funny flat face on your wallpaper? I will have to visit that site as it looks like my Scooter. Seal brindle with the exact same blaze.

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MARCHMAID 1/5/2010 9:26AM

    Hurray for you! You are a fascinating and obviously competent woman--much more than a formerly fat person! You have been successful where so many others have failed. You'll find that job and though I'd sure miss hearing what you're up to, don't allow other folks' feelings or anything else to guilt trip you!

I may be talking to myself here--you and LL are channelling the same spirit who's been whispering in my ear.

emoticon See my latest blog.

Got get 'em Sweetheart! If what you want is out there go after it with the same spirit you lost all those pounds! emoticon

Happy New Year. Now I'm going out for a walk!

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LIV2RIDE 1/5/2010 6:56AM

    Don't ya love the new trophy system!! I now look forward to the end of the month. It's more for the exercise ones then anything but it's another fun part of SP.

Good luck on the job search. When it happened to me I had to set limits. I easily become obsessed. So from 8am - Noon was my phone time...recruiters, networking. I also checked the job sites for any new postings. At 12:01pm I was out the door doing something for me. i just felt like sometimes it was very overwhelming and defeating. So I always took time for me. Too bad I wasn't into working out then.

I have also had to cut back on my SP time. I only get about an hour a day and was spending too much time reading stuff I just didn't enjoy. So I too have cut back on the teams I don't participate in, blogs I read and articles I read. Good luck with your plan and search. I know it gets tough out there but you are one tough cookie! Hang in there.

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JLITT62 1/5/2010 5:07AM

    I totally understand about having to be on being tiring. I feel that way, too. I guess any time we're not completely true to ourselves, it's just fatiguing, but sometimes it's gotta be done.

Because I have to use my husband's computer (mine is still not fixed), I have limited my online time, too. It IS a good thing. I'm still probably spending a couple of hours online a day, and that seems like an awful lot at that! And yes, sparking isn't the only thing I do online, either, altho it is a big part of it.

So yeah, go after what's important to you. Go for it!

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KNITTINGFROG 1/5/2010 4:13AM

    Just popping to say hi, and wish you all the best of luck in your job search. I only know too well how that feels.

I was lucky to register with a recruitment agency where the guys really cared about finding their customers new jobs, and although it took a whole 18 months for me to find it, I am now (although temporarily) somewhere I truly like. I hope you can be as lucky very soon.

If you are networking, are you on LinkedIn? I found that a lot of the recuiters are there too so that may help.

I was writing to a friend yesterday and realised the irony of having had free time whilst unemployed to look after my self, exercise etc, yet combined with such feelings of wanting to give up that I ended up putting quite a bit of weight on (before eventually finding SP and making better more positive choices).

Bottom line? Keep active and busy, and think lateraly when it comes to income. Can your hobby, your website, your skills make money? Can you learn something new?

In any case, and despite the past 3 years...stay upbeat, and come vent whenever you need to...that's what we are here for too!

Good luck my Spark friend!

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CAROLISCIOUS 1/5/2010 12:51AM

    I totally understand. I have rules that I must track food and fitness before I can play on SP. Some days I just don't have time to play...or I just don't want to hang out on SP.

You are an inspiration, whether you respond to every comment I send you or not. I absolutely do not require it.

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JOHAL52 1/4/2010 10:39PM

    I hear what you say about doing things just for points. But I also agree with Lab-Lover that it helps me keep doing some good things like exercise and nutrition. And I think that's what you were saying too--that you would continue to do the things that are meaningful and jettison those that aren't. Bravo!

As far as job hunting goes, I have been there too. Right now I substitute teach. At 57 going on 58 I find it SO tiring and the pay is way lower than what I was getting as a university administrator but it's the best kind of part-time job to get my Medicare points in.


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LAB-LOVER 1/4/2010 8:28PM

    Ah... here's the voice of experience again...

First it IS liberating NOT to be a slave to points. It feels decadent, but I now delete those 1 point articles if they aren't interesting to me and don't bother to take the time to open them and score the point. Nope... just hit delete. I still haven't hit the final trophy, but I'll get maybe one a year now, so it's not a big motivatation.

BUT... at the same time... when I completely forgot about points, my healthy habits faded away. So, I'd recommend that you figure out the minumum number of points/day that works for healthy activities -- food tracker points, exercise points, checking off goal points and make one of your goals to get THAT many a day.

But the other stuff... yep, let it go and focus on what's important to YOU! Mayoral duties in Metropolis perhaps. And oh yeah... the job search! (wonder if Metropolis needs an assistant mayor?)


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SWEETZMIX 1/4/2010 7:12PM

    Hey you got to do what you got to I was looking for a job too. I figure why now? I have been ready to leave, I want to leave, & you never know.

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MS.ELENI 1/4/2010 7:08PM

    I hope you find a job that will be good for you soon.

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TELERIE 1/4/2010 6:21PM

    Wow you're doing a lot of networking - I'm sure it'll bring fruit! Whittle and cut back on unwanted online stuff and stay healthy and strong! And congrats on the big trophy! I don't remember how many points I have now or which trophy. Streaks on the other hand - ohlala!
When's your surgery?

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LESS_IS_MO 1/4/2010 6:04PM

    Congrats on the big trophy (I don't know how you and LL get all those points!)

I wish you every success in the job hunt. I know it takes a lot of tenacity, so go get em! full force!

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