Weighty Matters

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Downsizing

on December 1, 2012

What a whirlwind week.  As you know from my posts, I flew up to New Jersey mid-week and then flew back to Florida 24 hours later.  I was there for a family event and I’m so glad that I went.  I also realized yet again how much easier travel is now that I’ve lost 130 pounds and am physically more fit.  As tired as I was on Thursday after my trip, I can only imagine that I would have been even more exhausted if I’d forced myself to do it with all of that excess weight.

Since I was going to be in New Jersey at the end of November, I knew I also faced different weather/climate than what I’m used to.  I blogged last week that while prepping for this trip I found out that I’d lost weight in my feet!  Well, I’ve also gone down at least another size in my clothes.  Sort of.  Depending on the cut of the garment, I can now wear one of three sizes, but the smallest of those sizes simply amazes me.  I zipped up a pair of pants smaller than I’ve worn since the early 80s!  That’s such a charge!  When I had on the pants and a sweater, also a size smaller than I’m used to, the overall effect was pretty darned slimming.

When I look in the mirror, even if I turn sideways, I don’t flinch at my reflection any more.  Yes, I still have a long way to go, but I really appreciate where I am right now today.   On Wednesday, I had on black slacks and a black sweater.  When my brother and sister-in-law first saw me, they both exclaimed how great I look.  Emotionally, I’ve reached the point where I can smile and share in the joy.

J & P last saw me in August.  My two aunts haven’t seen me since last Christmas, before my surgery.  So, the change is truly radical for them.  I guess, truthfully, it’s radical for all of us.  130 pound weight loss means I’ve lost the equivalent of my sister-in-law.  I’ve downsized by a person!  I met up with a friend that hasn’t seen me since April.  When she saw me, her expression and eyes filled with wonder.  Even though she reads this blog (Hi, B!), seen pictures, and we’ve talked about my progress, I guess seeing me in person is different.

Since I’m going back up for a week at the holidays, I knew that a quick trip to a clothing store was in order so that I could pick up a couple of sweaters for the colder weather.  These are easier for me to get in Jersey than Florida, for obvious reasons.  For about 15 years, Catherine’s has been my favorite store for clothes shopping.  Even at my heaviest, I could always find a good variety of quality garments.   There aren’t any Catherines stores in South Florida, but when I travel to other areas, I check the online store locator and seek them out.  I shop at the one near my home area of Jersey nearly every time I go back for a visit, so it was an easy stop for me, even on a short clock.

I selected an armful of possibilities and headed to the dressing room.  After trying them all on, with the exception of one sweater and the cropped jeans I snagged from the clearance rack, I had to put each of the garments back on the racks.  They were all too big!  Even though I’d selected smaller sizes than I used to wear, I had to go down still another size from the one I was wearing just a couple of months ago!   Double woot!

I found a couple of sweaters that will supplement other things I have, so I definitely can make it through the holiday week up home.  I also found a couple of lighter tops that I think will be great for my trip to Hawaii in February.   Yes, that trip is two months off and I’ll have lost additional weight, but these tops are the kind that have some stretchiness.  I’m betting that the stretchiness means I’ll be able to wear them even when I’m smaller.   Most of the time this is easier to do with tops than pants, as I learned when I went through the TSA security checkpoint at the small airport.

I went through the body scanner, expecting that the officers would pretty much wave me on.  Imagine my surprise when they told me they’d have to get a female officer and take me to the office for a full body pat-down.  I asked why and was told, get this, “The scanner showed some anomalies in the groin area.”

Huh?  I had nothing in my pockets, no belt, no smuggled contraband concealed inside the waistband.  Needless to say, I had no clue what could be causing these “anomalies”.  The female TSA officer that had to pat me down was very nice and professional, but it still isn’t the most comfortable experience.  When all was said and done and I was declared free of weapons, hazardous materials, and explosive residue, I asked her what could have caused the “anomalies”.  She told me that sometimes loose clothes bunch up and can cause the problems.

Friends, my weight loss was the root of the situation.  Even though I’d only bought these jeans in September, they’re already bigger than I need.  No more risk of groin anomalies for me!  This garment is definitely going into the “donate” pile.

I’m in the middle of another clothing purge.  Everything that still remains in my closet from my life before weight loss surgery, is coming off the hangers and going into the big bag.  This time, I’m also pulling out any shoes, trying them on, and then gathering up the ones that are too big.   There’s no need, and no room, for these things in my life anymore.  I’ve downsized in more ways than one!

There’s something else that I hope to remove from my life soon.  The CPAP machine.  Last year one of the many pre-wls evaluations I experienced was a sleep test.  I don’t have sleep apnea, in that my breathing stops when I sleep.  I was diagnosed with a sleep hypopnea and, periodically, my air flow reduces and the amount of oxygen I breathe in drops.  The CPAP machine corrects this, but I hate wearing the mask when I go to bed and dealing with the air flow tube.  I know I should wear it every night but I refuse to travel with the unit.   When I met with the pulmonologist for a follow up over the summer, he suggested we wait a few more months before redoing the sleep test.  I agreed as long as I could do it before the end of the year.  (My health insurance deductible has already been met for this year and this test is covered at 100%.)

So, last night I drove up to the sleep center for the test.  This involves getting hooked up to a dozen or more electrodes/leads on the head, face, chest, abdomen and legs.  Then you stretch out on the bed and attempt to get a normal night’s sleep — or as normal as you can when you’re wired like a science experiment and know that technicians are constantly monitoring your read outs and listening to you on the intercom.  They woke me up by 6 a.m. today to unhook me so I could get back home here in the Keys for my 9 a.m. Tai Chi practice.  Now I wait until the 14th to meet with the doctor and, hopefully, hear that the weight loss has improved the condition enough that I don’t need to use the machine anymore.  Wish me luck!

I ran into the supermarket to pick up a few groceries for the weekend.  While I was in the produce section, a woman I know from around town walked by.  I said hello to her and she turned back, blankly looking at me as if I was a stranger.  She didn’t recognize me at first because of my weight loss.  That’s the first time it’s happened to me.  I wonder if I can expect to experience this more often as I continue to downsize.

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4 responses to “Downsizing

  1. Mary, such exciting changes!! I know the girls have enjoyed it when they get to shop with the new you and be a part of your joy! Mostly I am just loving the your sense of wonder and happiness at every new step on this journey. Can’t wait to see you and throw my arms around you. It’s just been too long!

  2. Skye says:

    Lots of important stuff is happening to you: shoes, clothes, the TSA, the CPAP. Wow. The TSA thing is weird: I’d never heard about excess fabric causing a pat-down. Guess it just doesn’t make the news. 🙂 I really hope you don’t need your CPAP anymore. That would be a lovely freedom. I hope that my snoring goes away as I lose weight. When my BFF and I spent a few nights in a hotel room when I went back to Oregon this summer, he told me that my snoring is really bad and made it hard for him to get to sleep. I occasionally fall asleep on an airplane, if I’m sleepy enough; I’d hate to think that I’m treating others to that snoring! I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you and a departure from your machine.

    • Mary Stella says:

      Thanks, Skye. A friend of mine snores. She brings me earplugs when we’re going to see each other Snoring is one symptom of sleep apnea. I’ve urged her to get evaluated but she hasn’t.

      It’s something to consider. 80% of women who have it go undiagnosed and it can kill.

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