Stage 2: The Scope

Something I never thought would happen to me – someone shoving a huge camera down my throat and looking at my stomach, actually it makes me kind of nauseous to think about it.

I have been working with my primary care doctor to get ready for surgery in the summer and we have had a few bumps in the road.

I went to see her because I was having crazy chronic fatigue and I wanted her to check my blood levels to make sure everything was ok. Without even thinking about it I had a redbull about an hour before I went it to see her.

Then.. she took my blood pressure. Well how do you think that turned out? It was INSANELY high and my pulse was crazy. She flipped out and told me that I was going to have a cardiac event and they needed to do an EKG right then. Thanks for being concerned but she scared the crap out of me.

She said she would NOT sign the consent for surgery because she didn’t think I was healthy enough. This made me LIVID. I talked to my girlfriend ( now fiancé!!!! but that will come in a later post) who is a nurse and she said that the numbers were fine and my doctor over reacted.

I ended up monitoring my BP for a week and my fiancé said they were perfect numbers and I didn’t need to be on meds. I went into my follow up apt with my doctor armed with these fantastic numbers saying “see, I don’t need to take more meds!”

Welp, she disagreed and sent me home with new expensive medicine…

I monitored for another week and, well the meds worked and she was thrilled. Fine, whatever so did she sign the paper? NO. NO. NO. she did not.

She says she will reconsider in April so just send up some good vibes people.

Fast forward to yesterday the surgeon who I am working with ordered an upper GI to make sure everything was all good down there. Surprise. Its not.

Yesterday I learned that my stomach does not digest food. Like at all. So instead of doing a VSG we are going to proceed with a full gastric bypass! I am honestly excited because that’s the one I really wanted in the beginning of this whole thing. I do want to know what is happening to my food and how this has effected me my whole life so I will start researching that next.

This was a boring post but it was a part of my journey so here we go. its documented.

Until next time,

C

New year New you, and all that jazz…

Chiche, I know.

Coming back at you after a LONNGG mental hiatus and I start here? Really?

yes, yes I am back and I am embarking on a new adventure that I thought I would share with you, my dear readers.

If you have been here for any amount of time (or read my headline) you know that my weight loss struggle is REAL. I have been trying so hard this last year to find something, anything that would work for me. I tried therapy, Weight Watchers, a personal trainer, even Overeaters Anonymous to see is that was my real problem ( that is a story for another post) but here I am 40 lbs heavier after trying my fucking hardest to lose weight.

I want to get one thing straight right now, I am NOT trying to lose weight to look great, it however may be a bonus 🙂 Never in my life did I really want to lose weight to be healthy but I guess I grew up because that is where I am at. Now that I finally found a life I want to live I will do whatever it takes to keep it for as long as I can and that means getting healthy.

“But Carly, don’t you already live a pretty healthy lifestyle? ” you ask.

I do! I eat healthy and work out but because of my physical illness I need some extra help. Enter this new journey. Weight loss surgery.

I know, I know. I have been very against it in the past too but I have done many hours of research and I have decided to take steps towards having a gastric sleeve in order to achieve that healthy, long, happy life I am now attached to. Here is the start of my journey.

Step 1: Research

Surgery of any kind is a huge decision and not something that can just be decided in a day (or a even a month, lets be real!). If you have been here for any amount of time you know that I am a constant researcher, I like to know all there is to know about anything that I decide I might want to partake in.

My partner, being a nurse researcher has also taught me how to find good and reputable sources for finding information to make informed decisions. After learning as much as I could I decided to make an appointment to see the surgeon and get some questions answered.

Step 2: Initial Appointment

Before going to meet with the surgeon you have to take an online seminar ( at most places). In that seminar I got confirmation on all the promises the research articles made.

Here are some highlights ( Articles will be linked shortly)

  • Most women with PCOS achieved Remission of symptoms.
    • No more extra hair growth
    • No more insulin resistence
    • Lessened depression and anxiety
  • Siginificant reduction or complete elimination of high blood pressure
  • Reverse Type 2 diabeties
  • Lower bad cholesterol

Meeting the Team

I had my initial appointment on December 15, 2020. During this appointment I met the surgeon, the dietitian and the insurance coordinator.

The surgeon explained to me exactly what would happen to me physically in the surgery, explaining how and why the staples would go where in my stomach. It made me feel very comfortable knowing how comfortable and confident he was in the surgery. I asked him about all the research I had done and asked for confirmation as well as some other questions I had. He spent a lot of time with me to talk though all the physical concerns I had and he gave me his number to text any more questions I had in the process.

Next, I met with the dietitian. Normally dietitians and I do NOT get along- basically because I know a lot about nutrition and I don’t like to rehash all my failed attempts in the past, but this one was different. I explained to her that I knew a lot of the basics, what my philosophies were on macros, what I have tried in the past and I asked her to talk the “nitty gritty” with me. We talked for almost an hour and I really feel like she understood me, that she knew where I was coming from. It is so refreshing to hear that “ the way you eat is not your fault” and “ I know that your body is working against you so no matter what you do you feel like you are failing”. I wanted to shout from the rooftops. Finally someone who didn’t say eat more salad or try weight watchers. We talked about pre-op and post-op diets and what the 180 days leading up to the surgery would look like food wise. It’s going to be brutal but I am willing to do what it takes. ( More about this in my next post)

Last, I met with the insurance coordinator. She explained to me the things I needed to complete in order for my insurance to cover the surgery. Along with a physical to get clearance for the operation, I have to do a psychiatric evaluation and 180 days of food tracking with the dietitian. That puts me at surgery around July 2021. OOF. I am not happy about that but as I said, I will do whatever it takes.

Looking ahead

Now that the holidays are about over I plan to really start focusing in on the nutrition and make these 6 months (which sounds way longer than 180 days) something I am proud of. Taking it one day at a time and viewing it as one day closer to reaching my goals.

My next appointment with the dietitian to start my tracking is Jan. 20, 2021.

If anyone has gone though VSG before please reach out! I have watched a million and one YouTube videos but I know everyone has had a different story and I would love to get some info and advice from anyone and everyone I can chat with.

Until next time friends, I hope you have a happy and safe New Years and cheers to 2021.

Xoxo,

Carly

You never know who needs to hear your story.

You could save someone you didn’t even know needed saving.

The topic of mental health, while becoming more widely accepted as a topic of conversation, is tough to discuss for a plethora of reasons- namely the racing thoughts in our heads. “We will be shamed, it will sound stupid to someone else, other people’s stories are worse than mine, mine doesn’t deserve to be told. “

Your story is valid and your story is important. I am one of the most trusting humans you will ever meet and I am willing to share my story. Sometimes I do get shamed but sometimes it is exactly what someone else needs to hear…

A few weeks ago I was sitting a the salon getting my hair done and I am unsure of how we got on the topic of college and where we went. She shared with me that she went to Central and I was like Hell Yea! Fire UP! We started talking about dorm life and how crazy the party scene was up there. She said that she moved home and is going to a remote campus because Central messed up her mental health. She went on to explain her story, when she finished I was practically in tears.

This girl has my story. This girl is me.

To be able to tell someone who is struggling that you know exactly what they are going though because you experienced it as well is mental healing magic. This girl understood why I never wanted to go to class, why I didn’t feel comfortable in my apartment and why I felt so alone. She knew how the pressure of the program I was in caused so much stress and anxiety that I had to leave it. She even shared the same destructive coping methods that I did. She dug herself into the same hole I was in but it was so dark in there we never found each other.

She expressed her want to go back and try again but her fear that the same things would happen again. While I did not end up returning to campus, I told her that I worked hard to learn how to cope with this the correct way, how to make better decisions not only in going out and friend making, but in the classes I was taking and the information that I surrounded myself with. Taking a mental health psych class and discussing warning signs can be the ultimate trigger.. Save the class, take it when you are feeling better. Get involved in a club or sport that makes you happy. You can find people that love the same things you do and it can help be a stepping stone out of the hole- like joining the winter guard there was for me.

Sometimes you cross paths with someone and they are there to test you, sometimes you cross paths with the ones that need you the most.

My point being that you never know who is struggling, you never know who needs to hear your story. Screw the judgement, who cares? You never know who is still stuck in the dark

PCOS- Body Betrayal.

This is going to be a ranting post so hold on tight.

I have been having a hell of a time with my PCOS symptoms lately. I am gaining weight, craving sugar and crying at commercials. I haven’t had a real period in months. In fact, I have gained so much weight that I am unable to work out like I have been because my body hurts. I have never been the one that couldn’t take my dog for a walk down the block or not be able to walk up 2 flights of stairs, but now my body is completely betraying me. It is taking all my effort to walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes at a slow pace. WHAT IS HAPPENING?

I started going back into the depression mode and people at work started to notice. I can’t stand it because no one understands- except for if you have it. If you have it you can spot the symptoms a mile away. A girl that I work with straight up asked me if I had PCOS and I felt an overwhelming sense of relief when we started to talk about it. Someone else finally understood how hard it is to live this life everyday.

One of the most common struggles I hear when researching or talking to others that have PCOS is that we feel so alone. No one understands just how deep and complex the issue is, not even the doctors who we are trusting to treat it.

PCOS symptoms are complex.

The many symptoms of PCOS

Let’s break it down.

Physical Symptoms

The biggest issue with the physical symptoms, especially as a child, is the shaming that comes with it. The self shaming for letting it get that way, the feeling of shame when you step on the scale at the doctor and their response is “if you lose the weight the symptoms will go away.. you need to lose X amount of pounds. If you can’t do it on your own we will need to explore surgery. “

Thats all fine and dandy, but the internal symptoms of PCOS make that virtually impossible.

Internal/Hormonal Symptoms

The Insulin resistance is the biggest culprit. The best way to describe this is that when you have insulin resistance your body is not processing food like the rest of the “normal” population. It holds on to every calorie and stores it as fat because it thinks that its starving. The food is not being used as energy in the proper way which causes extreme fatigue and sugar cravings. Not only are we always hungry but we literally cannot be satiated because our hormones say nahh. There is no magic pill to fix these hormones so they throw birth-control and diabetes meds at us that can kinda help but were not actually made to help PCOS?

Let’s review.. so were starving and our bodies are processing all foods as sugar (from celery to cupcakes) and storing as fat and the only way to help this is to lose weight. THE FUK. Not possible. Which then brings us to the mental symptoms.

Mental Symptoms

You can guess that this causes depression and anxiety and a hell of a lot of stress. Not only from the frustration of it and society judging us, but the fact that the hormones are all out of wack. This causes mood fluctuation and effects the serotonin, dopamine and cortisol levels in the body. So we take anti depressants and anti anxiety meds so that we can make it though the day without breaking down. We feed the body sugar and carbs to give us enough energy to meet the expectations of our bosses and friends. We talk with our doctors to get answers and there does not seem to be any.. so we wait it out. Wait for the next fluctuation of hormones and hope that these ones treat us just a little better.

What happens next?

Great question. I wish I had the answer for you. PCOS is a guessing game, it’s a maze and a never ending puzzle that is consistently missing pieces. What works for one women may not work for the other. 1 in 10 women have PCOS, yet no one can come up with proper treatment for it. Most women get diagnosed with the condition when they try to get pregnant, then there are the women like me who was diagnosed at 8 years old and have been fighting this never ending battle for 20 years.

Cysters, let’s talk.

While this is the opposite of uplifting I hope that if you are a cyster this helps you feel less alone. I understand your struggle, I understand the pressure and the shame. We are all in this together. Please share your story, or comment and let everyone know that you are fighting this same battle. Tips and tricks are welcome but my goal with this is awareness and connectivity.

have a great week, keep fighting.

xoxo

Your Brain is your Super Power.

Everyone knows that your brain is the center of your world- it makes everything go. Everyone has also heard the sayings about it..

“Your body achieves what your mind believes”

“Positive mindset, positive outcomes”

Oprah’s “Secret”.

While the brain holds all the power it is also easily tricked, what I mean is that it cannot tell the difference between perception and reality- the saying “what you see is what you get” or when you get scared or cry from watching a movie.. your brain is processing that as reality.

If you can imagine the thoughts and feelings that you would experience when you achieve that goal, you can make it happen.

One of the morning routine’s I studied in this post, was suggested by Rachel Hollis. She explains in her podcast her morning routine in which she writes out her top 10 things she really wants to happen as if they have already happened.

” I am a New York Times best selling author”

“I am a fantastic wife and mother”

The powerful “I am” statements will shift your reality from what if and when I to I am and I can.

Learn more about her morning routine and order her start today journal here!

When you can visualize how what someone who has achieved that goal would do in any given situation you will automatically begin to act that way.

Theory in Practice

I watched the new Netflix documentary called “Understanding the Mind”. They have two episodes I was particularly interested in, The brain on Psychedelics and Anxiety Explained. The first was very interesting and I absolutely recommend it, but the second is what I want to discuss.

In the show they used a graph to show how effective different treatments for anxiety and depression were. The most effective treatment( on its own) was placebo. PLACEBO. That’s your brain doing its job. You have tricked your brain into thinking that it is getting fixed and it fixed its self.

I have attempted to do this the past week and I think I have seen a difference overall in my mood. I am less negative and I think I believe in myself a tiny bit more.

I will be testing this over the next week and will report back in my next post. Stay Tuned!

A micro post.. cause I have thoughts.

Coffee thoughts. Ya know the random shit you think about while you sip your morning coffee? ☕️🧐 .

Today’s thought as I am walking across downtown sweating my ass off (cause it’s 85 in September🖕) I’m noticing all the people wearing long pants and sweaters…

Anyone else notice that once the fall hits and it’s cool one day everyone decides they can no longer wear their summer clothes?

Just because it was fall yesterday Carol doesnt mean that we can’t wear a tank top today when summer came back…

#michiganweather #coffeethoughts #microblog #randomthoughts #rant

Holistic Healing

I have officially embarked on the path of holistic healing!

I know what you are thinking- get out of here with that hippie voodoo shit Carly, it does not help. Well I say don’t knock it until you do some research!

What is Holistic Healing?

The dictionary definition of holistic medicine is “characterized by the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the symptoms of a disease.” Holistic in my mind means that all parts that make up a human are taken into consideration when healing the self, not just managing one symptom when that may not really be the issue in the first place.

My Why?

I started looking into holistic medicine very recently. I started battling symptoms of Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome when I was 6 years old. I was gaining weight like crazy, had insanely high cholesterol and my parents shuffled me from specialist to specialist for the next 12 years of my life. I have tried every drug in the book as well as some non conventional meds.

Other symptoms associated with PCOS are anxiety and depression- I got both. Bad.

When I hit bottom I finally decided to see a therapist and she referred me to a psychiatrist and BOOM. More drugs. I was 21 years old and I was taking over 15 pills a day and guess what… I STILL had symptoms. I have switched doses, and meds over the years but we never took anything away- we just added to the madness.

At 26 years old I am taking 8 different drugs and I take 12 pills a day. 12 PILLS A DAY. I am miserable and my symptoms are worse than ever. I went to more doctors and the options given were; get bariatric surgery, go vegan and see a nutritionist. As you have read in earlier posts, I have studied nutrition for years and I don’t want to hire a nutritionist. (I did meet with one shortly after that suggestion and I was right.. I didn’t need one. ) I started to do some research to see if anything new or revolutionary has come to light.

In a seemingly unrelated occurrence, I hurt my shoulder while I was working out. I ended up going to see a family friend and her chiropractic office to see if she could help with the pain. I had just come from seeing a women’s health specialist and I remembered Dr. J (the chiropractor I was going to see) mentioned she could potentially help me with the PCOS. I was super skeptical but I decided to talk to her about it since I was all out of other options.

Enter Dr. J

When I tell you that I was shocked by this exam and explanations she gave me I am not kidding.

I had brought along my blood work from the doctor I had seen previously to show Dr. J. She suggested that she does an exam and she would be able to tell me what that paper said without ever seeing it… YA RIGHT how can a chiropractor tell me what is wrong with my hormones?

Guys.. She did it.

Not only was she able to help my shoulder she was able to test what my body needed to heal its self and she gave me natural supplements to try out. I have been on these supplements for 3ish weeks now and the difference is HUGE.

I feel lighter. I feel more energetic. My brain fog is gone. I am sleeping better, I am eating better, my anxiety is no longer controlling my days and I am the most productive I have been in years.

When people say you are what you eat, I freaking believe it. The nutritional support that I have gotten from her is literally changing my world, with results almost instantly.

Nutritional Response Testing

This is where things got voodoo-y. Dr. J uses Nutritional Response Testing (NRT) to help her understand what is “wrong” with the patient. From an outside perspective this is what it seems like.

Patient holds supplement in left hand, while their right arm is stretched out holding strong. The Doctor puts pressure on the outstretched arm and if the patient cannot resist the pressure something is off. Ummm.. What?

You can laugh, it is weird.. but it works, cause Physics. If you look up NRT on youtube or google it you can get a much more scientific depiction than what I provided above, I just wanted to prove the point that it seems voodoo-y and I was skeptical.

After this exam Dr. J explained my results and we checked the bloodwork and recommendations from the women’s health doctor I had seen that morning. They matched. 100%. *insert jaw drop here*

What’s Next?

My next visit I brought my pharmacy of meds with me and Dr. J was able to test those and see which ones my body “likes” and which ones it does not. The improvements continue to increase and I hope one day I can stop taking all the drugs and heal the actual problem.

I am continuing my research into holistic health and healing in addition to seeing dr. J and I would love to hear from you if you have any experience with holistic health or natural healing.

If you are interested in learning more about this you can check out Dr. J’s facebook page! There may also be a guest post on this blog by Dr. J coming soon so stay tuned my friends!

** Dr.J was not consulted for this post, all information is my own from my own experience with her. **

Whats up with this “Miracle Morning”?

If you have been around here for any sort of time you know how I am searching for all the tips and tricks for making the most of everyday; how to be productive, how to be positive, how to be successful, the list goes on.

I found though this research that having a set morning routine or daily practice is the most agreed upon way to remain productive and positive all day. By establishing a set practice you can train yourself to start with intention everyday.

Most people have a routine that they do daily without even knowing it, like setting their clothes out the night before or prepping the coffee for the next day. The common theme is eliminating stress or making something easier for yourself.

Let’s be real. 90% of us hit snooze 2 times, pick up our phones, start the social media scroll and before we know it were running behind.

We then rush to shower, get dressed and hopefully grab a coffee before we have to run out the door. This is a high stress situation- starting your day with a very high level of cortisol can cause all sorts of issues like weight gain, poor sleep and acne.. who the hell wants to deal with that on top of what life already throws at us unexpectedly. Not me. nope nope nope. Solution…Morning Routine.

How to start a Morning Routine

While there is no “right” morning routine I have 3 major principles of a morning routine that I have found to be most helpful.

  1. Mindset Focused
  2. Anti-Stress
  3. Self- Centered

Mindset- Focused

Mindset is EVERYTHING. I have said it before and I will say it again, and again. If you have a negative mindset, you will not live a positive life. I know its not a given that we will wake up in a good mood, but through a mindset focused morning routine, we can quickly change that around. I listen to a podcast every morning. My favorites are The Brendon Show, and the Rise podcast. I also listen to The Angie Lee Show and some others. The most important thing is that I find these to be inspiring and they give me something to think about for the day. If you are not a podcast person, I also recommend reading some sort of personal or professional development. Grab a cup of coffee and read for ten minutes. Get your mind flowing in the right direction and set the tone for the day.

Anti-Stress

A morning routine should be something that sets you up to be productive, whatever that means for you. For example, my mother wakes up 3 hours before she has to so she can look at her email, download recipes and listen to ted talks in her bathrobe; while I wake up and immediately head for the gym. I don’t find that searching though Pintrest in the morning is anti-stress and she doesn’t find weightlifting to be particularly wonderful either, but when we talk before we both head to work we are both in the correct head space to take on our day.

Self-Centered

Whaaa? You’re telling me to be self-centered?

Yes, girl. You deserve to be a little bit selfish. Especially when you are focusing on your mindset, your growth and your passions. If you are not selfish it’s not going to work. Due to the nature of self- discovery, self-growth and self-worth you need to focus on… yourself. Sure the laundry needs to be folded, the lunches need to be packed and there are 500 emails sitting in your inbox BUT putting those things before yourself is detrimental when setting up your day. When being self-centered it is important to look at the root of the self. What grounds you? What makes you feel most at peace? What keeps you focused on not stressed? The answer to those questions are what you should be focusing on when you create a self-centered practice.

For me. I am most at peace sitting outside in the early morning with a cup of coffee and listening to the nature around me and grounding myself in the earth. Sure that’s some hippie shit answer but it’s the honest truth.

If you still don’t know where to start ask yourself these three questions when you wake up.

  1. Where is my head at? What do I need to do to get it where it needs to be?
  2. Is there a stressor that is causing me to be in a negative head space? What can i do that will be proactive and productive in reducing that stress.
  3. What can I do for me to be sure that I am my best self as I take on my day?

5 Ways Listening to Podcasts Has Improved My Life.

Over the last month I have been starting to establish my brand and start to make my entrepreneur dreams a reality.

As many of you know I am associated with Beachbody and have been studying their business model for years. They have 4 non negotiable actions that have proven time and time again that help to move the needle forward. One of them- personal development. Ten minutes a day of personal or professional development is a required activity to help you achieve your goals. However, have I done this everyday? HELL NAWW. Who has time to spend 10 minutes reading a book every morning when I could be sleeping in?

Enter the new Podcast craze.

GIRL, this is a GAME CHANGER. My life, my mindset, my reality has changed since I started listening to podcasts EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

Morning Mindset

The first way that listening to podcasts has improved my life is it has improved my morning mindset. Everyday on my way to my 9-5, while I am sitting in traffic, I listen to a podcast. Think about it, you’re sitting there pissed off because Suzie in her fancyass Audi just cut you off and you are running late for work, but you got your girl Rachel Hollis in your ear telling you exactly how to achieve that goal you have been sitting on for years, its not so bad. I am listening to uplifting, inspiring words each morning and it lights a fire under my butt to get to work. While working my 9-5 is not the thing that sets my soul on fire, however it is a stepping stone to reaching my ultimate goals. I see my job as a tool to learn and grow professionally so that when I am ready to take that entrepreneurial leap and go all in I will have the resources, the knowledge and the confidence to make it happen.

Learning for FREE

Podcasts are essentially giving you free information. You want to know how to eat clean?…There is a podcast for that. Want to learn how to create a Facebook marketing campaign?…. There is a podcast for that. Professionals in each space spend time each week talking to their listeners about their zone of genius. For me I am listening to other boss babes and learning how they built their empire using social media for sales and influence. Listening to a half hour podcast is much easier for me to do everyday than it is to take a class at my local community college or sit down and read a text book.

Constant Productivity

By listening to podcasts instead of watching Netflix, for example, I am being consistently productive. We live in a world full of noise. Some noise is productive, and some is not; like spending hours scrolling though Facebook or Instagram.

I am writing this blog post now but I am also listening to a podcast about building small business and my brain is lighting up with ideas. There is no shortage of consumable content in your desired field.

Empowerment

I find daily empowerment by listening to these podcasts. Especially in the saturated market that I am in, it’s SO hard to feel like I can do this, like it’s worth it; these podcasts lift me up and make me say “Well why not me?Whose to say that I can’t do that? Who says that I am not fun or interesting?”

I am someone who speaks up, someone who wants to share my knowledge and opinion with people who are like me. These podcasts are people sharing their knowledge, wanting to help their listeners, these people are just like me.

I Am Not Alone

Not only has listening to these podcasts inspired me in my life, in my day to day- my 9-5, but it has taught me that there are THOUSANDS of people out there that have the same problems, the same concerns as me. All I have to do is type in my problem and there are so many episodes by so many speakers talking about that concern. Podcasts, if done well, are so authentic and therefore inspiring. I feel like these women understand me because they have been where I am.

Blogger With No Laptop

It is every bloggers worst nightmare.

All my ideas, my drafts not to mention my outlet. GONE.

It has been a dark period friends, but never fear! My laptop has been fixed and I have a notebook full of ideas for you to consume.

In my time with no laptop I started writing for myself in a notebook… and I noticed the side effects that it had on my mental health. There was something so liberating about writing for me. My messy thoughts and scattered brain on paper.

No editing, no proofreading, no impostor syndrome- just clarity. I was happier, less anxious, and way more focused on other things in my life and not just the nasty voices in my head.

So I have decided that since I started this blog for me, I am going to do a series. I am going to write for me. I am going to share my prompts with you and I encourage you to write with me. Open up the dark corners of you. Learn something new, get those thoughts out on paper – you never know what may come of it.

Come with me, dear readers.

Let’s Adventure.