Friday, March 31, 2017


Oh, the glorious warm sun warmed us today, Melted some snow. Coaxed us outdoors and allowed us to ignore traditional school room schooling.

There were Knights by the medieval log pile. The sound of "swords" cracking at they hit one another.

Our muppet dog bouncing and leaping through the snow like a little lamb.

The sound of the electric sander  buzzing from the barn as a treasure chest is made.

Nails being hammered into logs in order to make a ladder. For Rhettlandia, I think.

Spirals made in the snow and filled with bird seed for our forest friends.

The odd snowball thrown and missing it's target. I need more practice!

Attitudes were warmed and initiative and creativity grew.

Some days the work books need to be forgotten and the sunshine, melting snow and forest embraced.

Surgery Prep Class

Surgery Prep class was a 2 hr Saturday morning spent listening to a RN and Dietitian explaining what is to come pre-surgery, surgery day and the first few weeks after bariatric surgery.  It was definitely interesting and enlightening. Thankfully, there were no huge surprises as I have been reading and attending other classes.

I am still in waiting mode and have not received a surgery date yet. The earliest would be May and the latest December.  Hopefully sooner rather than later, so that this journey can continue forward.

One piece of instructional information that I took away, which annoyed me, is the every reaching presence of big pharma. Prior to surgery a 3-8 week liquid diet will be necessary to shrink that fat around the liver, which is not news, However, the push of Nestle products is shocking, among other things. Ensure and Glucerna are the recommended liquid meal replacements. This goes against everything in my being as it is not real food. These products are a chemical storm of junk and offer no real nutrition. High protein meal replacements are the stressed by the dietitians, but Ensure Plus high protein is only 12-16 grams of protein. That's hardly high, Why not make our own? Or at least use a higher protein replacement such as Premier Protein which is grams per serving.

 Plus NESTLE People! Nestle is notorious for their unethical practices. Why would a program teaching good health support such a company? Ugh. I could really jump on my soap box here but it's redundant.

There was approximately 25 attendees of the Surgery Prep class and half of us have received a surgery date. Half were choosing the Sleeve and half Bypass. It was interesting to see those demographics. Of course, we all have our health reasons for these choices.

Currently, I am paying attention to what |I have learned so far and practicing these skills. It's so easy to slip into long used habits. Always a focused effort to make specific choices in all aspects; Mindful eating. balanced meals. food journalling, sipping water, etc, etc.

So my journey continues.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Blood Testing Requirements

Today brought yet another doctor's appointment in regards to this bariatric journey. Thankfully it was just a brief meeting with my family doc to request lab reqs for Vitamin D testing. Vitamin D is a healing helper so it's imperative that my levels are in a proper range before surgery. This will also hint at if there are any absorption or nutritional deficiencies. Obviously, malabsorption issues are a red flag prior to a bariatric surgery as after surgery people have a greater chance to develop nutritional deficiencies. Therefore starting off deficient will cause the surgeon to cancel the surgery.

In Canada, Vitamin D testing is on the lock down. ONLY by special request and for very specific reasons. Why? Purely cost. The test is expensive so Health Canada ( I presume) does not want doctors' requesting the test all willy nilly. Province to province has different rules. In BC family doctors cannot request Vitamin D, only specialists. Here in Alberta, there is a special requisition form and the reasons are very specific as to why a request can be made. In fact there are only four reasons. Malabsorbption is one of them.

I can provide a week by week account of the changes I am making and the hoops I am jumping through to make this happen. But, is that what you, the reader, wants? Those of you that are following along, feel free to contact me behind the scenes.

Soon I will be attending a class entitled Keeping the Change. Tips and tricks on maintaining healthy change. This class is an elective class offered by The Calgary Bariatric Clinic.

Bariatric Humour
My immediate family is aware of the upcoming surgery. I was a bit nervous about telling the children but they are handling it well and are funny.

 The youngest wants to attend the surgery so that he can watch because it'll be interesting. Ha!! Um, no, you may not, Son.  Plus, wouldn't he be disappointed that it's 6 small incisions not a huge hip to hip incision?!  "Can I at least be in the waiting room???!!!"

The other son is excited but thinks it'll be weird having a slimmer mom and it'll take time getting used to me.

Honestly, hearing and seeing their excitement inspired me to keep going and reaffirmed that this is the best decision for me.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Backyard Friends

Oh how I love the Grey's. Today brought two to our yard. Two!
Life in the woods brings sweet visitors to our yard. Well, some are sweet and some are sneaky & take over the feeder.  One day I may be found on the deck, using the slingshot to wing ice cubes at that sassy, aggressive squirrel. 😉

Sneaky Squirrel snacking at Halloween.

Again with the squirrel, I wish the wood pecker would chase him.

Ruffed grouse dating rituals.

Wee Doe looking for snacks.

Fluffy little Blue Jay resting after snacks.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Gastric Sleeve

Well, step two towards weight loss and health gain surgery was completed today.
I met with the surgeon for the first time and the outcome is signing the consent for surgery form. A commitment to Gastric Sleeve surgery. It's real now!

Even throughout  the classes and appointments it is only now that this decision is appearing very real.

How do I feel?

Scared! This a lifestyle change of drastic proportions however the results will be worth it. The actual surgery and preparation and healing is what scares me. Did I ever share that I panic over small procedures such as MRI's that require a dye injection into the joint? That I walked out of the appointment?!  Oh yeah, super strong here and yet I have committed to Gastric Sleeve surgery!

Excited? Yes!
Relieved? Yes!

Energy, good health, lower blood pressure, free of back pain, free of sleep apnea, a fun, energetic, younger mom, wife and friend?| Oh yes, I am looking forward to all of these things and more.

The next step is two GI tests to ensure that there are no upper GI issues. Then it's waiting for the phone call with a surgery date. Three to nine months is the proposed timeline. It's a long wait, but when one is in the middle, the time is actually passing quite quickly.

I'll continue to share updates on this journey to good health and smaller pants. As well as details of the process with hopes that my experiences will help others make choices towards good health.

Today I weighed in at 271.4 lbs. Yup. There ya have it. With a waist circumference of 43 in. Whoa. It's bizarre to see these numbers in print and know they belong to me.  My BP was 125/86. This is very high for me. So, you see that making drastic change is imperative to improving my health.

Can you imagine the courage it takes to be transparent and open on this topic? It's not easy, my friends and it so very easy to judge myself, so hopefully you will find it in your hearts to not judge.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Wild Child In The Forest School

A component of our home school this year includes two days per week at Wild Child In The Woods Forest School.  What a blessing!

Forest School days are the highlight for Rhett. He LOVES it! Even throughout our mountainy, winter weather, he is the kid that must be strongly encouraged to stay in the Art Shack for warmth. The snowy outdoors is where Rhett's heart and interests lay.

As a Forest Wildie, Rhett is learning in an environment that resonates with his core. Outdoors, hands on, climbing, hiking, exploring, testing and in a small group of multi-aged children.  Some of the topics Rhett has learned about are Jupiter Rocks, building & using small machines, local forest life, trees and plants,long term flood effects on the environment, tracking animals, and of course, social skills.

When your child tells you "Mom, this is heaven." upon pick-up, it is beyond obvious that he is in his educational element.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Sensory Seizures?

Recently Rhett was admitted to Alberta Children's Hospital for LTM VEEG, long term monitoring video EEG. He has been experiencing a new seizure since November, which presents only in his right hand and sometimes he can feel a sensation in his brain.  On December 27 his meds were increased but this has had no affect on the seizures. Since Christmas Day we have documented over 200 episodes. I use the Track It Seizure App on my iphone to document. It's not perfect but it's easier than keeping a notebook with me.

EEG Hook up. Calm and patient...such a  trooper!

28 leads later and he's ready for business.

24hr EEG in hospital. Rhett was a trooper. An EEG rock star! He barely complained, never scratched or dislodged any of the 28 electrodes, and was content. Of course, he wished to be home, was embarrassed of the way he looked with his "long pony tail", wished they weren't spying on him and wanted me with him at all times but he handled all this so well.  Rhett really is amazing when it comes to all the hospital procedures. I'm so proud of him.

Taking in the view before being confined to bed for 24 hrs.

Results? Nothing conclusive. Nothing that we wanted to hear. The seizures are not showing on the EEG. Remember an EEG captures surface electrical activity not deep activity.
Of course, the EEG did show frontal lobe spikes, more frequently on the left but definitely from both side of the frontal lobe. This activity is indicative of other TS tumors and  not related to the right hand issues.
Passing the time with a little "screen time" on the ipad. 

So now what?

According to the Neuro Doc, we are to not worry about this. It may be anxiety related. Carry on as we are, no med changes, and "don't worry about it".

**sigh** Easier said than done and not an appropriate outcome for me. How do you tell a child to ignore the sensations in his hand and brain? How are they not related to something deeper? How is this anxiety driven? I can see how it causes anxiety. How is a MEG & MRI not requested as a deeper look? How are Jacksonian Sensory Seizures not considered?

Many more questions have been created and no answers.  This is another hard part of Tuberous Sclerosis and Epilepsy. I want to know why and now what. I want more for Rhett not just a pat he's doing great for one with TSC. Yes, he is doing great, but can't there be more? Better? Greater?

And so today, our hospital hangover is easing, slowly, and I am struggling with bitterness and anger towards the indifference of Neuro. I'll get past this. I always do, but it has to be worked through and addressed otherwise it eats me up. Sharing and writing and questioning and researching is part of that process. So here I am sharing with all of you. Watching the squirrels chase the blue jays out the sun room window, the dog sleeping in his bed beside me, and listening to the boys watch a movie before we venture outdoors. Onwards and onwards.

Until next time....

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Weightless Wednesday's....Bariatric Surgery

Oh, merely sitting down to write this makes my stomach sink and I can hardly believe I am publicizing my vulnerability.

Weight and health are two topics that affect me in many ways. I have tried every diet on the planet and have had some success with all of them, if I'm able to follow them for more than a day. However, maintaining those diets aren't possible. The diet business is a multi-billion dollar industry that wants us to fail. Keeps us coming back, right? Keeps us spending money.

Almost a year ago I began the process of exploring Bariatric Surgery. Here in Canada, there are many criteria to meet in order to be eligible for health care funded surgery. Weight must be at a level that causes health risks and places a person at a very high BMI. Upon referral to the Calgary Bariatric Clinic, a patient must commit through behavioral changes, attending classes, many meetings with a Nurse Case Manager, Dietician, Pyschologist, while following suggestions to care for one's health concerns, as well as food journalling. Only after meeting all these criteria is a meeting with the surgeon scheduled.

I am now at the meeting with the surgeon stage. Next week in fact.

So exciting!!!

So scary!!!

I honestly am so looking forward to the outcome, a month after bariatric surgery when I am losing weight and eating again and healing. Thoughts of actual surgery make me a bit queasy so I shall focus on afterwards: increased health, better mobility, higher energy, smaller clothes, no back pain, no sleep apnea, lower blood pressure, increased confidence, fitting into seats, and active, fun with my family.

Chronicling this journey will help me stay focused and hopefully support other's who are considering Bariatric Surgery.  We all deserve information and support. There has been enough shame and hiding for anyone who is deemed morbidly obese. So, I am blowing the doors open on my fears, heart and excitement. Putting myself out there with you.