Friday, April 29, 2011

Update on the Misadventures of the Chilidog

Chilidog had another vet visit yesterday.  Check out the blog I did about Chilidog's condition here.

We learned how to give Chilidog subcutaneous injections of fluid yesterday.  That just means a shot into the skin.  We thought we'd literally be giving him a shot of water into the skin.  But we have a little IV bag of fluid with different kinds of needles for the IV line and adding potassium to the IV.  We have to do this every other day.

Chilidog was down to 6.5 pounds (a loss of about 0.3 pounds in a couple of weeks).  So, the plan of action is to keep him hydrated and help him stay interested in food.  We found out he LOVES tuna, so he'll be getting lots of tuna.  The protein isn't good because it gives him headaches but the juice is great because it has lots of omegas and keeps him hydrated.  

We now have a "sharps" disposal container and bags of needles and bottles of fluid laying around the house.  We are like our very own little vet's office.  The supplies alone will cost us about $100 to $150 a month.

I mentioned on Facebook that a kitty kidney transplant costs around $30,000.  We aren't actually considering a kidney transplant or dialysis for Chilidog.  I understand that people think that what we are doing is already more than we should.  On one hand, I understand where they are coming from.  A lot of people selfishly put their animals through treatments to prolong their lives, but the animal is in pain and miserable.  And, I think if we were only doing this to make ourselves feel better, that would be one thing.  Chilidog isn't a sickly little kitty laying around waiting to die.  He's got a decent amount of energy and seems happy and not in pain at all.  His skin and fur look healthy.  His eyes are bright.  The vet said she had a cat that was around Chili's age (between 5 and 6 years old) and she did the same thing for her cat and he lived to 10 or 12.

Giving Chilidog the IV fluids will take about five minutes every other day.  He didn't struggle or act like the needle hurt him.  In fact, he was purring while we were holding him.  We don't have to find a vein or put it in the muscle.  We literally just have to poke his skin and give him some fluids. 

Also, this isn't my decision.  Chilidog is Rob's cat and I fully support his decision to try to keep his cat alive.  Yes, it's going to cost us money and time, but he's a happy little cat and until his condition changes, I am willing to continue this plan of action and share my ice cream with him from time to time. 

https://sites.google.com/site/lolorashel/home/the-adventures-of-zeus-and-the-chilidog

http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The-Adventures-of-Zeus-and-the-Chilidog/186615614684582


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

win2lose weight - two month update

So I started this latest weight loss journey about two months ago.  I met with my friend, Jenny, to try her products and work on losing weight with her assistance and guidance. 

My first weigh in was on February 28, 2011.  (She has a super fancy scale, but I try to keep in mind that I weigh in on my own scale in the morning without food in my belly or clothes on...and on her scale, I've eaten throughout the day and I'm wearing clothes.)

Weight:  232.6 pounds
Body Fat: 43.2%
Body Water: 41.3%
Muscle Mass: 125.4 pounds
Bone Mass: 6.8 pounds

Last night, April 25, 2011, I weighed in again.  (I weigh in weekly but figured a weekly report isn't necessary since I do everything at a snail's pace.)

Weight: 232.0
Body Fat: 43.2%
Body Water: 41.3%
Muscle Mass: 125 pounds
Bone Mass: 6.6 pounds

So, yeah, it's nothing to write home about...I lost a little over half a pound and gained some muscle.  You would expect with watching my calories and exercising, even if I'm not religious about either, I'd have lost something more than that.  But I still consider it a success that I haven't gained (especially considering I had almost a month's hiatus on exercise thanks to the Stiletto Incident)!  Here is my win2 lose weight post from a couple of weeks ago. 

I joined an online support group for weight loss surgery patients more than a year out.  Many of the people on there are 7, 10, 12 years out from surgery, so it's been nice to get advice from people who are further out than I am.  It sounds like having 25-30 pounds to lose (again) is kind of common around 7 years out.  So, although it sounds like I'm in good company, no one has the magic fix to help me lose the weight (oh yeah, because the magic fix doesn't exist for anyone).  It sounds like they also lose weight very slowly now. 

I also tested my pouch (stomach) a couple of times with the "cottage cheese test," to see if it has stretched back out.  It hasn't.  My pouch holds about 8 ounces.  The normal gastric bypass stomach holds 5-9 ounces (you start at around 1 ounce and then it does stretch a little...and the average human stomach normally holds about a quart but some people can stretch theirs out to 2-3 LITERS).  So, I am still limited on how much I can eat in one sitting, but there is nothing stopping me from grazing all day and eating too many calories if I am really motivated to do so. 


I have been trying to play around with the products to make sure they are working for me since, as long as I am taking the product, I should notice my muscle mass changing, even if my diet and exercise regime aren't pristine.  As a gastric bypass patient, I am malabsorptive, so taking pills doesn't always work for me.  I initially tried BioLean, then switched to BioLean Free.  I did some research about how and where the product is absorbed.  Most websites talk about how the product dissolves very quickly in water.  Something that dissolves quickly is usually made to absorb in the stomach and/or upper intestine.  And that just isn't an option for me anymore.  Jenny's sister is a doctor and was visiting from out of town, so I got to meet her last night (along with her mom and dad...very nice people!).  She suggested taking Vitamin C with it to see if that helps with absorption, but also agreed that it's possible that the product just won't ever absorb properly in my body due to the surgery.  (Vitamin C helps with iron absorption, so that's why she suggested that it could possibly help with BioLean Free absorption.  Check out info about Vitamin C on the Mayo Clinic website here.)

I did switch my breakfast from my protein shake to an English muffin and Morning Star vegan sausage patty.  I was hoping having something more solid in my stomach would help slow down the digestion process and allow the product more time to be absorbed.  And then I drink A LOT of water when I take the BioLean Free (which is counter-productive for a weight loss surgery patient since drinking water after eating pushes the food through faster, causing you to be hungry sooner...I just can't win).  I can definitely tell the difference between the days the product is able to fully dissolve and the days it doesn't.  However, if I benefit most from the product going through my stomach and upper intestine, I'm missing out on that. 

I also found a website to help me figure out how many calories I should be eating.  It's called Scooby's Workshop.  It seems to be more for body builders, but I like the theory behind it.  You enter your stats, the percentage by which you'd like to cut your calories, and it tells you how many calories you should be eating.  I attempted to tell it I wanted to cut 25% of my calories.  The website actually warned against it, saying you shouldn't do so without consulting a doctor.  The theory behind it is that cutting your calories that much causes your body to freak out and hold on to as much weight as possible so that you don't starve to death.  My body may already be sensitive to this phenomenon, since the last time I tried to lose a lot of weight, I did almost starve it to death.

Anyway, according to my new friend, Scooby, I should be eating 2,832 calories to maintain my weight and 2,266 calories to lose weight (20% calorie reduction).  You are supposed to recalculate your calories for every five pounds lost.  It seems to be working pretty well for me.  I had cut my calories to 1,800 and then 1,500...and all I got was crabby and hungry, which made me binge.

I have cut a lot of fast food trips.  Even if I stay within my calories, I know that fast food holds almost no nutritional value.  I am no longer drinking my daily Vitamin Water.  I am trying to eat lots of fruits (mostly grapes, watermelon and tangerines/cuties).  I am allowing myself Trader Joe's triple chocolate cookies as my day time snack (only 130 calories each) and, at night, if I have enough calories, some ice cream.  This keeps cravings down.

I am almost done with Couch to 5k (three runs left...including my Brazen 5k on Saturday morning).  This week, I transitioned to trail runs from the treadmill (sucks...way easier to slow down and walk without the threat of the treadmill's moving belt tripping me and ripping my face off).  Next week, after my final Couch to 5k run, I will start the Bridge to 10k.  However, I will probably stick with the first week's workout for awhile to start learning how to speed up.

So my workout plan is:

Monday - weights
Tuesday - running/yoga
Wednesday - weights/Twirly Girls
Thursday - yoga
Friday - weights
Saturday - spin/yoga or Twirly Girls
Sunday - OFF

I know I'll miss a day or two in there but I don't beat myself up about it.

So, I've made all of these positive changes...why isn't the weight dripping off?  Slow and steady wins the race, right?  For now, just call me The Tortoise.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

THANK YOU!

I could find poems or songs to help me express the gratitude I feel for everyone who participated in the Second Annual Lovely Rita Fundraiser to benefit the National Kidney Foundation, but two words say it best:  THANK YOU.  

Thank you to everyone who participated in the calendar photoshoot, bought a calendar, donated raffle items, bought raffle tickets, attended the dance recital, donated money through Rita's kidney website...  Thank you to all of the girls who danced on Sunday.  Thank you to their friends and families for allowing them to share their time with us.  Thank you to Andrea Becker, who helped choreograph a couple of the dances and donated many items for the raffle.  

THANK YOU TO THE GIRLS WHO PARTICIPATED IN THE FUNDRAISER:
Dancers:

Marilyn
Tina
Grace
"Stephanie Nicole"
Yolanda T.
Sam
Jenelle
Paola
Gina
Chelsea "Pink Flamingo"
"Shimmies Galore"
Sharon
And, of course, RITA!  (ADORABLE performance, by the way!)
(Oh yeah, and me too -- Lori.)

Pole Cleaners:

Isabel
Carmen
Jessica
Jenny
Samantha
Sandra

To Edna for selling raffle tickets at the event for us!

(I went through that list three times and if I forgot anyone, I AM SO SORRY, please let me know and I will update this list!)

To our amazing singer, Yolanda B., who rocked it TWICE for us!  You have an amazing voice, lady!!!

I thanked her above for dancing, but THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to Stephanie Nicole le Dream, who came out to perform for Rita even though she had another show that night at Club 1220 in Walnut Creek.  If you ever want to attend a fun drag show, check out Stephanie, along with a host of other amazing girls, on the first and third Sunday of each month, starting at 9:30 p.m., at Club 1220.  

Thank you to Shelly Lamb, who is now teaching at Twirly Girls, and is about to go to New York for competition.  GOOD LUCK!  You have the entire Twirly Girl family rooting you on.  And thank you, Shelly, for coming out to the fundraiser and performing, even though you had been teaching so far away that day.  You are an amazing performer and so fun to watch.

So far, we have raised about $2,000 for the National Kidney Foundation.

THANK YOU TO THOSE WHO DONATED TO THE RAFFLE:

Bel Jeremiah of Twirly Girls Pole Fitness
www.twirlygirlspolefitness.com

Doug Korb of DK Designs
Doug's e-mail

Twisted Silver 

hOney

Inspire Fitness Boot Camps 
Mighty Grip
http://www.mightygrip.com/

Sephora items donated through Isabel Sum Contreras

Baskets donated by Shelley Clark

Jenny Gain, Wellness International Network
http://www.synergywellnessgroup.com/

Theresa Taylor Grutzeck at The Rouge
www.massimos.com

Bruce's Tire in Fremont 
(510) 651-4701

Jennifer of PoleSkivvies 
http://www.poleskivvies.com

Gerri Levitas of Bay Healing
www.bayhealing.com

Joe Baptist (retired Air Force firearms instructor)

Just By Touch
Primal Fit Boot Camp
www.primalfitbootcamp.com
Roxanne Freitas-Souza at Motives

Toni Reyes at Christopher's Salon

Rocco's Pizzeria
We also want to thank:

The Real Karaoke Joe
Cake Queen, Michael Villa 
underwater@sbcglobalnet

And let's not forget the companies that helped fund the printing of our Lovely Rita calendar (we still have a three or four available for sale...only $5):

Physicians' Youthful Resolutions
www.youthfulresolutions.com

Penninsula Women's Health
www.penninsulawomenshealth.com

Tri-Valley Bodyworks
www.trivalleybodyworks.com

The Pole Dancing Shop
www.thepoledancingshop.com

Douglas Korb, Remax
www.dougkorb.com

Thank you to Andrew of Liquidpulp Photography (www.liquidpulp.com) for taking the photos at the calendar shoot AND at the fundraiser; and thanks to Anh Thu Tran for doing make-up the day of the shoot (and supporting the Twirly Girls by coming to the fundraiser).

Rita and I again would like to thank Bel of Twirly Girls Pole Fitness (www.twirlygirlspolefitness.com) for being so generous with her time and studio!  We know she is a busy lady, but she always makes time for her Twirly Girls and we love her for that!  

I personally want to thank Rita for being a good friend and keeping my life interesting and fun.  She is one of the most honest and trustworthy people I have ever met.  I appreciate her sharing her daughter, Kate, with me.  And I even appreciate her sharing her husband, Dave, with me (no, not in THAT way).  He says the funniest $hit sometimes.  

One of the things I love about Twirly Girls is how supportive all the girls are of each other.  We are all at different levels.  We are all different ages, shapes and sizes.  Hell, some of us aren't even actually girls.  But we all get along, love each other and support each other.  It truly is a family.  It is a beautiful thing.  And I am thankful every day to have the Twirly Girls in my life.  

We have one last fundraiser at Rocco's in Walnut Creek next Thursday, April 28th.  If you let them know you are there for Rita's fundraiser, they will donate a portion of the sales to Rita's walk.  This is valid all day, for take-out and dine-in.  Rita and I, along with many others, will be there in the evening for dinner if you would like to join us.  


If you'd just like to donate to TEAM KIDNEY, please check out this link:  

You can also join the Lovely Rita fan page on Facebook to be kept up to date on future events:

Rita and I (along with many others) will be doing the Kidney Walk in San Francisco on Saturday, May 7th.  Please feel free to join us for a beautiful walk along the Embarcadero!  
I know this is really long and I apologize for that, but before I go, I wanted to let you know where you can find photos and videos from the event.
Flickr link (this is my account but I am gathering photos from all over to keep together.  So far, I have photos from Andrew, Rita, Grace and myself.  Keep checking back because I know there are more photos coming): 

Videos on my YouTube account (might have to scroll around...look for videos uploaded around April 18, 2011):

Videos on Rita's YouTube account:

Videos on Twirly Girls' YouTube account (might not have any videos from the fundraiser but there are other fun videos on there):

See you next year!  Check out my blog from yesterday...where I set a goal for the THIRD annual Lovely Rita Fundraiser!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

New Pole Goal

In light of this past weekend's second annual Lovely Rita Fundraiser, I am setting a new pole goal...a year in advance.  (Tomorrow's blog will be all about how amazing the entire day was...photos and videos are on their way.)

I had set a goal to be able to invert by April, which I did twice -- before April even.  However, I am not strong enough to do it well, or without assistance.  In fact, I've stopped doing it because I know I need to be strong enough to do it myself in order to be safe about it.  Sure, I can turn upside down with some help and hold on like a little monkey.  But I'm at risk of falling on my banana head if I'm not careful (shout out to Andrew, another banana head!). 

Anyway, in the next year, I want to work on inverting so that I can invert during my routine for next year's Lovely Rita Fundraiser.  I am going to stay on track, lose weight and get stronger so I can do that!

See you next year...upside down!

Sneak peak:










Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Adventures of Zeus and the Chilidog

Well, really, this should be called the Misadventures of the Chilidog.

Last August, Rob and I took Chilidog to the vet (along with Zeus) for a checkup.  We thought maybe one of them had a bladder infection.  Although the vet didn't really think anything was wrong, they did mention that maybe Zeus was a little fat (he's not fat, he's big boned!!!).

So we put Zeus on a diet.  It's really hard when you have two animals eating out of the same bowl.  We noticed Chilidog lost a couple of pounds (went from almost 12 pounds to about 10), and in December, a friend noticed that she could really feel Chilidog's spine.  So we decided we'd rather have a fat Zeus than a skinny Chili.  We started putting regular food back in with their diet food (because it's actually really hard on a kitty's stomach to just switch their food), and eventually got them both back on regular food.  But Chilidog didn't stop losing weight.

Last week, Rob noticed that Chilidog had been pretty sluggish and that Zeus wasn't playing with him as much.  In the wild, it is common for animals to either attack or shun an injured or sick animal, because they might slow the pack down.  So, we went to the vet (different vet, by the way...cat specialist...not sure if the other vet missed an infection and possibly caused this issue).

It turns out that Chilidog has kidney failure.  The vet said that one kidney is completely gone and the other is at least 2/3 gone.  We have no idea how she knows this from blood work, but we believe her.  She said that based on the weight loss alone, Chili's liver should have gone out and he should be dead.  We don't know if this is from an infection or if he's always had kidney issues.  Chili is very dehydrated as a result.  Side story:  After we moved in to the Walnut Creek condo, Rob and I got larger feeders for the guys.  Zeus, however, likes to wash his feet in the water before he drinks -- ewwww.  Chilidog thinks so too.  So we think that Chilidog was also avoiding drinking water because his brother has bad table manners.  It wouldn't have caused his problem, but it could have contributed to how fast he went downhill.  At the vet last week, Chilidog was down to 6.8 pounds.  He's lost almost half of his body weight.

Anyway, the vet is still running tests and we are currently just trying to get Chilidog to drink and eat as much as possible.  And she was actually very surprised that Chilidog was as alert and happy as he is.  She said that most cats who are that close to death have dull skin, fur and eyes and just look sick.  Chilidog, other than being a little tired, otherwise acts like a happy Chilidog.

Eventually, we will probably have to give him potassium supplements and daily water injections directly into the skin.  We have reinstated his old feeding/watering bowls, and he is a stoked little dog.  Zeus still has his bigger bowls to put his feet in if he wants.  Chilidog is pretty tired but he is alive.  The good news is that the guys cuddled for the first time in a couple of weeks on Sunday, so that's giving us hope that with a little bit of help, Chilidog will continue to lead an active, happy life. 

Please keep good thoughts for Chilidog and if you'd like to contribute to his vet fund, feel free to visit their web page or donate through pay pal.

Thanks!





Donations are not tax deductible.
We are not a 501(c) non-profit organization.


https://sites.google.com/site/lolorashel/home/the-adventures-of-zeus-and-the-chilidog

http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The-Adventures-of-Zeus-and-the-Chilidog/186615614684582
















Vitamins and gastric bypass surgery

After gastric bypass, you're given a list a mile long of vitamins you should be taking.  The American public in general should be taking vitamins since the soils have been stripped of many nutrients and most people eat so much processed food.  However, after weight loss surgery, it is even more important to take your vitamins since you are malabsorptive and won't absorb most vitamins from your food.  I could get into fat and water soluble vitamins here, but that would just make this post way too long.  Just be aware that some vitamins dissolve and absorb better in different conditions (which is why having a little REAL salad dressing on your salad isn't necessarily a bad thing...fat can help you absorb some of those vitamins). 

I wanted to list all of the vitamins I take and why.  Everyone's list will be vaguely different.  I am seven years out from surgery, and each year I go in for my blood work, I'm low in some vitamin or another, and so it gets added to my list of vitamins to take.

I take a multivitamin.  There are many theories about which vitamin is best.  Store brand?  Designer brand?  I find that a prenatal (even a cheap store brand) works best for me.

A lot of patients have to take iron after surgery.  I do not take iron (other than the prenatal vitamin is supposed to have a little extra in it).  You have to be very careful not to take iron with calcium supplements, and can cause constipation, so be careful if you are advised to take iron.

For the fun of it, I take an echinacea-golden seal supplement.  I know there are conflicting reports about whether it actually helps you avoid colds, but I figure it doesn't hurt to take it. 

Sometimes I get cold sores, so I usually take a daily dose of L-Lysine.  If I have a break-out (which I haven't in a really long time), I take three doses twice a day and it usually helps it clear up quickly.  I am a stress case (and also have psoriasis, which is sensitive to stress), so taking a daily pill seems to help keep them away.

I take acidophilus/probiotic.  This is especially important for women if you are prescribed an antibiotic.  Stripping your body of the good bacteria can cause yeast infections.  You can also get probiotics from yogurt, but a lot of yogurts are very high in sugar, which isn't good for gastric bypass patients.

The number one vitamin a gastric bypass patient should take is B12.  They say you should take a sublingual dose (meaning it is dissolved under the tongue) twice a week.  I sometimes skip this pill (yeah, I know, I just said it was the most important pill), so when I'm taking it, I take it daily.  I was low on B12 early in my post-surgery days.  The tops of my feet tingled.  Getting too low in B12 can cause MS-like symptoms, so I suggest you don't skip the B12.  Some people can go to the doctor for shots if you aren't absorbing the pill or if you get too low.  I also suggest you not get to this point if you can help it.

I take a B1 (Thiamine) supplement as well.  I used to take a B-complex, but I am sensitive to Niacin (B3), and it makes my face red.  I stopped taking the B-complex a few years ago and then I was low in B1 two years ago.  So I added B1 back in.  B1 helps with food absorption.

I take a calcium supplement, which includes Vitamin D and magnesium, to help with absorption.  It is VERY, VERY important that we take calcium citrate, not calcium carbonate (Tums, etc.).  A lot of gastric bypass patients become lactose intolerant after surgery.  Even if you are able to drink/eat milk products, the malabsorpotion issue still gets in the way.  When you are overweight, you have a lower chance of getting osteoporosis (your body weight is keeping your bones strong).  However, once you lose weight, you need to make sure you are doing everything you can to keep your bones strong and healthy.

Last year, after my blood work, I had to add an additional Vitamin D pill.  I was low in Vitamin D (something you should be able to get from the sun but I must be spending way too much time indoors lately).  It's a tiny pill and I hardly notice I'm taking it.

I also take a Vitamin E natural pill.  My chiropractor recommended it years ago before I had plastic surgeries.  He said it helps with skin elasticity and healing. 

I now take a joint supplement.  That has nothing to do with surgery.  I just find that when I work out a lot, I hurt, and that helps keep my joints lubed and happy.

I also take an Omega-Three supplement.  For awhile, I was taking a "wholemega" pill, which claimed something like 16 omegas.  Now I just use the Trader Joe's brand.  It's just fish oil.  Ewww, I know.  But I take it with breakfast and it keeps me from burping fish taste, which would really bum me out.

Of course, another supplement that I try to take daily is my whey protein shake.  I still find that, even after seven years, that's the best way for me to make sure I get enough protein into my system on a daily basis.  I am currently trying to switch up how I eat, so I may be changing this to dinner instead of breakfast.  I use Champion Pure Whey protein powder.  However, there are many good brands out there.  Just make sure its high in protein (25 grams is plenty...the 55 gram shakes are a waste of calories) and low in calories and sugar (mine is 125 calories and I think 3 grams of sugar or less).

I also add whole ground flax seed to my protein shake.  It helps with constipation issues as well.

I take other vitamins and medications on and off but these are the ones I feel are necessary.  Yes, it's a lot of pills.  I usually just pack them into a little container and pop them as I'm driving to work after I've eaten breakfast.  And, as much as I hate popping so many pills, it's better than dying from malabsportion!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Update of all pole goals

I had been setting goals I was calling "pole goals" (stolen from PoleSkivvies posts).  :-)  I guess most aren't really even pole-related -- more fitness/strength related.  They are reasons I'd like to be in better shape.  "Non-weight/scale related goals" I should call them.  Anyway, it's time for an update.

I don't think I've improved much on any of them.  But I am still working to get stronger and more flexible.  I especially have issues bending backwards so I am focusing on back bends.

Here are pictures from March:






Here are pictures from April:


So, not a huge improvement but I'm still working on them. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Final raffle prize list for the Second Annual Lovely Rita Fundraiser!

***We are still receiving (and accepting) prizes for the raffle, but these are the prizes I actually have in hand today and this is the last list I will be publishing for the Second Annual Lovely Rita Fundraiser at Twirly Girls Pole Fitness on Sunday, April 17th.  Please see the end of the e-mail for information on attending.***

Check out a video preview of what you can expect to see at the recital!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_f28TsBs68E

**********

Locking silver pole case donated by Bel Jeremiah of Twirly Girls Pole Fitness
Free class at Twirly Girls for up to 10 friends ($250 value)
One month of free pole for one ($120 value)
Mix It Up Marilyn Monroe Martini set donated by Bel Jeremiah
www.twirlygirlspolefitness.com

Twirly Girls clothing donated by Doug Korb of DK Designs
Doug's e-mail

Twisted Silver necklace and earrings ($130 value)
http://www.twisted-silver.com/

30 minute private hoop lesson with Sarah Starlight
www.starlighthoops.com

30 minute private hoop lesson with hOney
One week free (meets three times per week) at Inspire Fitness Boot Camps 
www.myinspirefitness.com

Gift basket from Mighty Grip ($47 value)
http://www.mightygrip.com/

Sephora gift baskets donated through Isabel:
Sephora surprise basket (valued at approx. $100)
Beach gift basket, including Hawaiian wrap from Bel (valued at approx. $60)
Terralina skin care (valued at $120)
Cologne (valued at $60)

Baskets donated by Shelley Clark:
Sugar cones
Sunflowers
Wild Cherry
Wine
Lavender
Movie Popcorn

Wellness International product sample basket from Jenny Gain
http://www.synergywellnessgroup.com/

Mother-daughter make-over with Theresa Taylor Grutzeck at The Rouge ($150 value)
www.therougecosmetics.com

Massimo's gift certificate ($50 value)
www.massimos.com

Three gift certificates from Bruce's Tire in Fremont (valued at $114.95, $52.22 and $73.08)
(510) 651-4701

60 minute performance coaching session with Jennifer of PoleSkivvies (valued at $49)
http://www.poleskivvies.com/stage-presence-101/

Hypnosis session with Gerri Levitas of Bay Healing ($150 value)
www.bayhealing.com

Handgun Safety Training and Range Day for two people with certified trainer, Joe Baptist (retired Air Force firearms instructor) (valued at $200)
(510) 708-2011
Pilates class with Just By Touch
30 minute foot massage with Just By Touch
$200 gift certificate to Primal Fit Boot Camp in Concord
www.primalfitbootcamp.com

I also understand Tiffany & Co. and Changes Day Spa in Walnut Creek have donated some goodies and I can't wait to see what they are!

We also want to thank:

The Real Karaoke Joe, who will be providing music for us on the date of the fundraiser (www.therealkaraokejoe.com). 

Cake Queen, Michael Villa, who will be making a cake for us (underwater@sbcglobalnet).

And let's not forget the companies that helped fund the printing of our Lovely Rita calendar (we still have a few available for sale...only $10):

Physicians' Youthful Resolutions
www.youthfulresolutions.com

Penninsula Women's Health
www.penninsulawomenshealth.com

Tri-Valley Bodyworks
www.trivalleybodyworks.com

The Pole Dancing Shop
www.thepoledancingshop.com

Douglas Korb, Remax
www.dougkorb.com

And thank you to Andrew of Liquidpulp Photography (www.liquidpulp.com) for taking the photos and Anh Thu Tran for doing make-up the day of the shoot.

Rita and I again would like to thank Bel of Twirly Girls Pole Fitness (www.twirlygirlspolefitness.com) for being so generous with her time and studio!  We know she is a busy lady, but she always makes time for her Twirly Girls and we love her for that!

The Lovely Rita Fundraiser will be held at Twirly Girls in Pleasanton on Sunday, April 17th at 2:30 p.m. There will be a dance recital and raffle.  There is no cost to attend the recital.  Please come down and support your Twirly Girls.  Raffle tickets are on sale now.  Three tickets for $5.  Eight for $10.  Twenty for $20.  You can write your check directly to the National Kidney Foundation and they will send you a tax donation receipt.  The check will not be cashed until after May 7thTHE TWIRLY GIRL THAT SELLS THE MOST TICKETS GETS A MONTH OF FREE CLASSES, SO MAKE SURE YOU SELL, SELL SELL!

The recital is open to everyone -- including men. Some people have asked if they can bring children.  It is up to you. Although there is no nudity or stripping, we are still performing with poles, so it is at your discretion. I would say, mature children should be fine. :-)

Please come and support an awesome lady who has been blessed with three kidney transplants. All money raised will be donated to the National Kidney Foundation. Rita and I (along with many others) will be doing the Kidney Walk in San Francisco on Saturday, May 7th.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Hurt like a bitch

As you probably know by now, I had gastric bypass in March 2004.  I lost 165 pounds, leaving me looking like a sharpei puppy, although not nearly as adorable. 

In 2006, I had three rounds of plastic surgery to remove the extra skin.  I couldn't get insurance to cover it (or didn't have the patience to), so I paid out of pocket.  The total for all surgeries was around $43,000.  I had a great surgeon -- Kevin Degnan in Walnut Creek, California.

My first round of surgeries was a breast lift and augmentation, lower body lift, along with liposuction of the inner thighs, in February 2006.  It was a pretty painful surgery, and I walked like a hunchback for about six to eight weeks, but the work was awesome.  The cost for that surgery was a little over $28,000.  (Maybe I'll save this for another post but since I wasn't able to get insurance to cover it, my CPA found an IRS case that allowed a woman who lost a significant amount of weight to write her reconstructive surgeries off on her taxes, and I was able to do this for 2006.  It resulted in an $8,000 refund.  Didn't cover everything but it was definitely better than nothing.  There were some things that I had to do before it could happen so please check with a CPA before you try that.  But it also explains why I shoved all of these surgeries into such a short period of time.)

The second round was an arm and inner thigh lift in June 2006.  That cost about $10,000.  My surgeon also did a little lipo of the lower back, above my body lift scar, which was holding some swelling.  He did that free of charge, though.  And it didn't help anyway.  I still hold a little swelling there.

The last round was the "bra overhang" in November 2006.  After the breast lift, then the arm lift, it kind of left that area under your arm, that hangs over your bra, saggy and ugly.  So my doctor connected the arm scar to the breast lift scar.  Sounds uglier than it is and the result was fantastic.  That surgery cost about $5,000, I believe. 

The purpose of my blog today is to actually talk about the arm and thigh surgery.  Everyone told me not to do my arms and thighs at the same time.  I figured it would be fine.  Boy, were they right.  The inner thigh surgery was ROUGH.  It was more painful than the lower body lift.  The scar is kind of in my underwear line so there's no way to sit without sitting on that incision.

When I had my first round of surgeries, I bought pink sweats to wear home, because on TV, all the girls wore pink sweats home from plastic surgery (usually boob jobs).  The lower body lift (tummy tuck that goes all the way around the body) wasn't bloody.  I had drains, which were gross, but nothing was leaking.  However, due to the drains, I had to wear my super baggy black sweats.  No adorable pink ones.

So, for my second round of surgeries, I was DETERMINED to wear those damned pink sweats.  First off, waking up from that surgery was miserable.  I was in a surgery center, not a hospital, and they want you awake and going home as soon as possible, so they can put the next person in that bed to wake up and "recover."  I got to spend the night for one night with the first round.  Not so for this one.  They kept trying to wake me up and I do not wake up from anesthesia easily.  So, they got a wheel chair and dumped me in it and put me in my then-boyfriend's car to go home. 

I was so tired, in SO much pain (significantly more than the other surgery) and I could feel EVERY bump in the road.  Luckily, I only lived a few minutes from the surgical center.  However, I lived in a second story condo and I clearly did not think that one out beforehand.  When we got to my house, he parked as close to my condo as possible, but I still had to walk a bit of a distance.  So I refused to get out of the car.  I went in and out of consciousness in the front seat of the car.  He finally went up to my condo and got my rolling computer chair.  He begged me to just sit in the chair so he could roll me to my house. 

I finally agreed.  He helped me get into the chair and he rolled me to the bottom of the stairs.  I finally got a look at my adorable pink sweats.  They were covered in blood.  I looked like I had been stabbed in the crotch or had started the worst period ever.  We got to the bottom of the stairs and I looked up at my door.  And I decided that I wasn't going to get out of the chair.  I was in so much pain and I was so tired.  So he let me sit in my chair for a bit, where I went in and out of consciousness.  He sat on the stairs, which kind of hid him from people walking on the walk-way, so I just looked like a bloody girl sitting alone in a computer chair. 

Finally, I heard a somewhat worried voice say, "Hello?!  Are you ok??"  My neighbor saw me sitting there, clearly bleeding to death, and probably wasn't sure if he should call 911 or what.  My ex called out, "Don't worry, she just had surgery!"  So that finally gave me the motivation to get my ass upstairs.  I could only take one step at a time, and it was a painful journey, but I finally got into the house, out of my bloody pink sweats and into bed. 

I wouldn't say that I wish I hadn't had those surgeries, but I definitely warn people that the thigh surgery especially is not an easy one.  And like my surgeon likes to say, he can hit a home run with a tummy tuck, but can only "'round third base with the thighs."  I'm happy enough with the results.  (I have photos I can share for those interested.)

 So now that I've spent so much to put my body back in order, you can see why it's become so much more important to me not to ruin the results by gaining weight.

And my quest to lose this 30 pounds continues.  My back feels better and I'm in the gym again.  I'm tracking my calories.  And I am going to be happy and accept that, even if I only lose a pound a month, at least I'm moving in the right direction.  :-)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Episode 35 of the lolorashel show

So, as Season Six of my life begins this year....Episode 35...it makes me think about all of the decisions I've made in my life and how it led me to where I am today.  I've made some stupid decisions in my life and everything hasn't been perfect, but I'm clearly not suffering either.  I am in a good relationship, make decent money, have a nice place to live, drive a newer truck.  I get to have a housekeeper and go to Twirly Girls.  I was lucky enough to have a dad that was able to help me pay for my reconstructive surgeries after losing so much weight.  I have a job when a lot of people are out of work -- and I even get to wear flip flops, jeans and play with a puppy while I'm there.  What do I have to complain about?

Plenty.

Because I'm clearly crazy.

A new season begins in August though, so even though I've already started my re-branding, it's time to think about what I really want out of life.  I've never cared much about having kids or getting married.  Hopefully I didn't make the wrong decision there because the door is quickly closing on the having kids part.  So what DO I want to get out of life?  I feel a lot better lately now that I've been helping people with fundraising for their various charities.  I started the gastric bypass Facebook group to, hopefully, inspire people (including myself) to be more successful weight loss surgery patients. 

This happened to me at age 25 too -- SO depressed.  I was upset that I still said "like" and "whatever."  Grown-ups didn't say those words.  Ten years later I STILL say "like" and "whatever."  Maybe I haven't grown up.  Maybe that is grown up for me.  I don't know.  It's funny because people usually say the "big" birthdays, like 30, 40, 50...make people depressed.  For me, it's the half-decade birthdays I guess.  I'm about to turn 35 and what do I have to show for it?  I'm in a condo when I want to be in a house.  I've been in my field for 18 years and am facing another 30 plus years before retirement (if I'm lucky). 

I think I'm just tired.  And when I'm tired, I have a downer attitude.  I have a few more months before I actually turn 35, so I am trying to work on my attitude.  I'm working on eating better, working out consistently...looking forward to the sun coming out (maybe I have SAD during the winter??)...looking forward to the second half of my life being a hundred times better than the first half!

So here's to Episode 35 being one of the best years of my life!  I am looking forward to it.

Check out the episode guide here:

https://sites.google.com/site/lolorashel/home/the-lolorashel-show

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Updated raffle prize list for the second annual Lovely Rita Fundraiser

Locking silver pole case donated by Bel Jeremiah of Twirly Girls Pole Fitness
www.twirlygirlspolefitness.com

Free class at Twirly Girls for up to 10 friends ($250 value)
One month of free pole for one ($120 value)
www.twirlygirlspolefitness.com

Mix It Up Marilyn Monroe Martini set donated by Bel Jeremiah
www.twirlygirlspolefitness.com

Twirly Girls clothing donated by Doug Korb of DK Designs
Doug's e-mail

Twisted Silver necklace and earrings ($130 value)
http://www.twisted-silver.com/

30 minute private hoop lesson with Sarah Starlight
www.starlighthoops.com

One week free (meets three times per week) at Inspire Fitness Boot Camps 
www.myinspirefitness.com

Gift basket from Mighty Grip ($47 value)
http://www.mightygrip.com/

Sephora gift baskets donated through Isabel:
Sephora surprise basket (valued at approx. $100)
Beach gift basket, including Hawaiian wrap from Bel (valued at approx. $60)
Terralina skin care (valued at $120)
Cologne (valued at $60)

Baskets donated by Shelley Clark:
Sugar cones
Sunflowers
Wild Cherry
Wine
Lavender
Movie Popcorn

Wellness International product sample basket from Jenny Gain
http://www.synergywellnessgroup.com/

Rouge mother-daughter make-over ($150 value)

Massimo's gift certificate ($50 value)
www.massimos.com

Three gift certificates from Bruce's Tire in Fremont (valued at $114.95, $52.22 and $73.08)
(510) 651-4701

60 minute performance coaching session with Jennifer of PoleSkivvies (valued at $49)
http://www.poleskivvies.com/stage-presence-101/

Hypnosis session with Gerri Levitas of Bay Healing ($150 value)
www.bayhealing.com

Handgun Safety Training and Range Day for two people with certified trainer, Joe Baptist (retired Air Force firearms instructor) (valued at $200)
(510) 708-2011

We still have four to five companies donating items and hope to pick them up and add them to the list this week.

We also want to thank:

The Real Karaoke Joe, who will be providing music for us on the date of the fundraiser (www.therealkaraokejoe.com). 

Cake Queen, Michael Villa, who will be making a cake for us (underwater@sbcglobalnet).

And let's not forget the companies that helped fund the printing of our Lovely Rita calendar (we still have a few available for sale...only $10):

Physicians' Youthful Resolutions
www.youthfulresolutions.com

Penninsula Women's Health
www.penninsulawomenshealth.com

Tri-Valley Bodyworks
www.trivalleybodyworks.com

The Pole Dancing Shop
www.thepoledancingshop.com

Douglas Korb, Remax
www.dougkorb.com

And thank you to Andrew of Liquidpulp Photography (www.liquidpulp.com) for taking the photos and Anh Thu Tran for doing make-up the day of the shoot.

Rita and I again would like to thank Bel of Twirly Girls Pole Fitness (www.twirlygirlspolefitness.com) for being so generous with her time and studio!  We know she is a busy lady, but she always makes time for her Twirly Girls and we love her for that!

The Lovely Rita Fundraiser will be held at Twirly Girls in Pleasanton on Sunday, April 17th at 2:30 p.m. There will be a dance recital and raffle.  There is no cost to attend the recital.  Please come down and support your Twirly Girls.  Raffle tickets are on sale now.  Three tickets for $5.  Eight for $10.  Twenty for $20.  You can write your check directly to the National Kidney Foundation and they will send you a tax donation receipt.  The check will not be cashed until after May 7thTHE TWIRLY GIRL THAT SELLS THE MOST TICKETS GETS A MONTH OF FREE CLASSES, SO MAKE SURE YOU SELL, SELL SELL!

The recital is open to everyone -- including men. Some people have asked if they can bring children.  It is up to you. Although there is no nudity or stripping, we are still performing with poles, so it is at your discretion. I would say, mature children should be fine. :-)

Please come and support an awesome lady who has been blessed with three kidney transplants. All money raised will be donated to the National Kidney Foundation. Rita and I (along with many others) will be doing the Kidney Walk in San Francisco on Saturday, May 7th.

Review of Dew Point Pole: ultra formula

I recently reviewed Dew Point Pole's light and medium formulas.

http://lolorashel.blogspot.com/2011/03/review-of-dew-point-pole-light-and.html

After I posted it on Twitter, someone pointed out that its for the body, not the hands.  Well, we all know I'm not really doing much that requires my entire body to stick to the pole.  And it worked decently on my hands.  My hands aren't really sweaty.  They are just slippery as hell (I guess that means they ARE somewhat sweaty...just not enough for my palms to actually be wet).

I asked Dew Point on Facebook for their opinion.  Here is their response:
So someone said that Dew Point is only for the body...but it worked fine on my hands...what do you suggest?
Yesterday at 9:33am ·
    • Lori Myers By the way...will be checking out the ultra formula tonight. :-)
      Yesterday at 9:33am ·
    • Dew Point Great question! Most people have issues with their hands being too sweaty and Dew Point is not helpful for that. However, if your hands have the opposite problem, like Melissa in our video, than Dew Point is awesome for that. I hope that clears it up. If not please let me know =)
      14 hours ago ·
    • Lori Myers
      My hands aren't sweaty necessarily. I'm just a slippery bee. :-/

      But last week, medium worked for me. Even just on my hands. Someone else suggested using a spray antiperspirant. That didn't work. I was still slippery. Maybe I just need to lose weight and do a few push ups. :-D
      14 hours ago ·

       **********

      To view the video they mentioned, please see their website HERE.  

      Last night, I tried out Dew Point Ultra.  Again, I only used it on my hands.  But I also made the mistake of trying Sure spray antiperspirant on my hands first (someone had suggested trying Secret spray deodorant without moisturizers).  That just made me slippery.  Nothing seemed to fix it -- not even washing my hands.  So I can't blame Dew Point for not working properly.  
       
      I try so hard on pole days to make sure I am not slippery.  I shower with my special peppermint castile soap.  I don't put ANY lotion on my body.  I don't even put product in my hair because I sweat and then if I put my back on the pole and slide down, I grease it up.  However, there are still A LOT of reasons I might not be sticking.  I do need to use my psoriasis medicines, but I use an alcohol-based spray instead of the Vaseline type meds.  I put minimal lotion on my face and wash my hands thoroughly.  Maybe I'm just too heavy and my hands can't hold me up.  Maybe I am just a slippery bitch. 

      Gina, who is able to climb and invert effortlessly tried the light formula last night and said she really liked it.  So, it sounds like Dew Point medium will be my product of choice from this line for now.  But I will continue to test it out with different dancers, under different conditions.  I just like not having the ridiculous SQUEAK.  :-)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Gastric bypass support group

As some people know, I help facilitate a gastric bypass support group in Walnut Creek, California.  I started as a member pre-surgery...over eight years ago.  I met a lot of great friends that way.  The group was mostly made up of Kaiser members who were being sent down to San Diego (to Pacific Bariatric) for their surgeries.  Kaiser now does all surgery in-house (and locally), but our group still remains.  A lot of people (like myself) had surgery in San Francisco, and didn't want to travel to the city on a work night for support.  It was nice to have a local group to meet with.  We are one of the few free groups who allows anyone to attend.  Most of the local groups limit membership to those who had surgery through their program. 

Anyway, a few years ago, the facilitator, Ginny, moved away and asked one of the members, Sandy (who had surgery around the same time I did) to take over for her.  Sandy then asked me to help her out.  So, for the last two and a  half to three years, Sandy and I have been co-facilitators.  The group size fluctuates.  For awhile, we got pretty small and thought about possibly shutting it down.  But we now get between 8 and 12 members attending each month.

Last night I started a Facebook group to help keep people in touch during the month.  It is called Bari-Buddies Walnut Creek (thanks to Burnette for the cute name idea!).  You can join HERE.  I know that having support after surgery is one thing that helps us be successful.  Sometimes getting to a meeting in-person isn't always an option, so online support is the next best thing. 

Hope to see you all at a meeting soon.  If not, I hope to see you on Facebook.  :-)