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It’s good to remember where you have been and where you are today. This is where I have been and I am somewhere else today.

Hard work pays off and there is no such thing as an easy way out or taking shortcuts. It’s a lifestyle. Then everything falls into place naturally.

P.S. I know I am bad at updating this and continuing the sharing of my journey. It’s hard to write down because it takes me back to that exact moment and feelings I’ve had and have about it. And if you have managed to find your way in here, let me know and let me know if you would like to continue reading.

#perfectlyimperfectme

/just Alex

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What you put into your body is the key to your success. This is what my pre workout meal can look like:

Chia pudding with oats in yoghurt, topped with bananas, raisins and acai berries.

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For a long time I didn’t know that I had a complication due to my gastric bypass surgery. I thought I had back problems, problems with my spine and disks.

It all started with a photoshoot at my work and I was carrying and moving very heavy pieces of furniture. It was a two day shoot and on the second day I had the most intense back pain ever. I couldn’t even move and I was sat in the back of my car crying, rocking and swaying back and forth. I placed all the necessary phone calls. My boss sent me straight to the doctor, I couldn’t drive the pain was so bad that a friend came and got me.

This started my back pain journey and after this event I spent several hours in the doctor’s office, getting x-rays, regularly saw a chiropractor and a physiotherapist. Nothing got rid of the back pain and it kept coming and going for more than a years’ time. I was prescribed heavy painkillers in the hundreds and I hated that I took them so frequently and regularly. But it never helped with the pain. My dad walked in on me many times and found me crying in fetal position in agony on the floor. It sometimes got so bad that I cried out that I would rather die than go through this anymore... Begging to make it end in any way possible… The pain never stopped and I started to accept that this was my life and I was going to live it with this chronic pain.

By this time I had moved out of my dad’s place and into my own apartment in the city and everyone in my circle knew that Alex suffered from chronic pain in her back and dumping episodes. It was my everyday normal.

Then one day it all changed and my world was thrown upside down…

I remember the entire process like it was yesterday. It was a sunny Sunday and I was out with my closest friends having lunch. Then the normal nauseous and sick feeling started creeping up on me, the pain in the back started. But this time it felt different and I remember feeling very uncomfortable and it kept escalating. I took refuge in my car and told my friend to join me after they were done. They found me in the back seat in the car on all four, crying and doing the swaying. The swaying was synonym for Alex having one of her pain episodes.

Afterwards they told me it scared the shit out of them. I had never looked that bad they said, I was white as a ghost. They insisted over and over that I should go to the emergency room. I didn’t want to go because what was the use? No one could do anything anyways and as usual I just had to sit this one out, it would go away. I was so wrong, this one never went away.

By this time my friends had taken me home and had done everything in their power to make me comfortable, reassure me and kept insisting that I should go to the emergency room. To them this was not normal, to me it was my normal life. Somehow I convinced them that I was okay and I even swore by it and I told them to please go and enjoy the rest of their day, I would be fine.

I spent the entire afternoon and night battling my so called back pain. I don’t know how many painkillers I took, but I took enough to knock me out and if I woke up I took more. I took more because every time I woke up the pain hadn’t gone away. This is how I knew this episode was different, this is how I know that something was wrong… This is what scared me.

It was now about 1 am and what felt like the millionth time I had woken up in pain. By now I was terrified. I called my father. I don’t think any father wants that kind of phone call, and it genuinely breaks my heart how I sometimes have scared him and how worried this process has made him.

He was on his way, he also knew something was very wrong this time. He begged me to please call 112 on my own, he could do it but they wouldn’t understand the seriousness of the situation if he called. At some point I broke and came to the realization that something was very wrong

I dialed 112 and explained my entire back problem issue process. She could hear in my voice that I was scared, she could hear from my breathing that I was panicking. An ambulance was on the way. The 112 operator stayed on the phone with me the entire time, reassuring me with her words and letting me know the ambulance position.

My brother arrived first and entered my apartment with a bang. As soon as I saw him I asked for my father and gave him the phone to speak to the 112 operator. The ambulance was here and were trying to enter my area and find my door, he went down to help and too look for them. And as fast as my brother had arrived he had disappeared again. I didn’t want to be alone and it felt like a lifetime, where was everyone and I started crying out for my father.

All of a sudden they were all there looking at me laying in my bed, looking at this hopeless girl. What where they going to do with me? What was wrong with her? The ambulance personal started going through the textbook question, checking my heartbeat, checking my pulse and so on. Then I registered the question:

Does your daughter suffer from mental illness, is all she wants drugs?” the ambulance personal asked my father.

Photo by: Sandra

(www.sirijani.com)

I have never seen my father so mad. I had never felt so small. Did they seriously think I was faking it? This is why I don’t like hospitals because they always minimize my pain and brush it off as nothing, suck it up kind of mentality. I believe that hospitals and doctors should never make you feel that way because we place our most valuable commodity in their hands, our life and automatically we give them the utmost trust. This kind of relationship should be respected.

My father quickly put them in their place and the subject was never opened or brought up again. I was now taken seriously and the ambulance personal was fully aware that something was seriously wrong with me and I needed to go to the hospital straight away. But no one knew what was wrong, no one could put their finger on it and diagnose me but it wasn’t just so called back issues.

By this time I had been given several shoots of morphine and muscle relaxants. My breathing was so bad they tried to force me to breathe into a paper bag, apparently I was putting my body into a state of chock with my breathing.

Even though I was so called drugged up beyond belief, it never stopped or eased any of the agony, the moving, the discomfort or the crying that came with it. I even needed to be carried to the elevator. They had placed a chair in the elevator for me to sit on but I couldn’t even hold my own body up anymore. I was about to fall off the chair but the ambulance personal caught me, I was so weak. I was carried onto the stretcher and finally I heard the sirens from the ambulance rushing me into the emergency room.

I was meet with what felt like a million nurses and doctors, all working in sync and strategically trying to hook me up to every machine to read all my vitals. Measuring blood pressure, EKG, breathing, temperature and so on. New intravenous needles were placed in both hands and arms to give me more medicine and to hook me up with fluids. The ambulance personal was giving the emergency room doctors the brief on me and it chocked them. How much morphine had she been given and she is still awake. Six shots of morphine and two shots of muscle relaxants and I was still standing, I should have been knocked out a long time ago. A normal person apparently wouldn’t be awake.

I kept fighting with them because I didn’t want to lie down, it hurt even more to lie down and sitting up crunched over was the only thing that gave my any form or relief. I kept begging them to please help me, please help me take this pain away, please, please, please just help me… Please help me because I can’t take this anymore… I felt every tear fall down my face.

They asked so many questions, poked and prodded at me so many times over and over again. They just chook their heads in disbelief because no one seemed to understand what was going on with this patient of theirs.

Photo by: Sandra

(www.sirijani.com)

Then this one doctor was standing next to me. I don’t know when he entered my room but to this day I still remember his face but not this name. He was young and tall, lean built with dark eyes and curly hair. He was standing by my bed asking if he could touch me and if I could let him know what pain level between 1 and 10 I was feeling. He repeated the process over several places over my stomach area and then he found the magic spot. He had pressed his finger deep into the left side of my stomach areas and as a reflex I was about to knock him out. It hurt like hell, it was a 20 on the pain scale. He mumbled something and then walked away.

I didn’t pay much attention to it until he came back only a few moments later. “You need to have surgery, now.” Great I thought because that meant I would be put down and at least for a little while I won’t be able to feel the pain. All the morphine had put me in a heavy daze and I was there but not there at the same time. I was aware but I was not. I remember asking for my father and if he could join me in the surgery room. They all laughed at me and explained very kindly that they couldn’t exactly place him on a chair in the corner.

When I feel low, all I want is my daddy. Daddy is my rock and with him by my side I can handle everything. And then I saw his familiar warm face, daddy’s face. He was there the whole time, he always is and when he heard me calling he showed himself reassuring his ailing child that he wasn’t far away.

The doctor exchanged a few words to us. “She needs surgery now, it’s something in her stomach and I think I know what it is... preferably I would like to do a CT scan of her first but there really isn’t time... I’ll put a camera in her to confirm my thoughts before anything… it will be more of a we will see what happens when we roll her in kind of process...” So I knew I was going to be cut open, but I didn’t know what for. At this point I didn’t really care and I didn’t put much thought to it. I was in morphine la la land by now.

As I was being rolled away down the hallway I turned around too look for my dad. There he was. I smiled, waved bye at him and told him I would be okay. He said he loved me like he thought it might be the last time he tells me and made a small waving motion with his hand.

What we found out later is that that doctor saved my life. If I didn’t come to the emergency room that night, I would have died.

Too be continued.


Perfectly imperfect me

/just Alex

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Sometimes you just need to have fun and let loose, go wild or whatever you would like to call it! I am a real chick, lady, woman, girl kind of girl and I need to have my eyebrows on fleek and I can sometimes cry if I break a nail. But I am also a bit “boyish”. I have a love for cars, nice speedy cars and preferably driving them fast and hearing that engine rev. Damn. It’s from growing up with all boy siblings and my dad, I remember how my jaw dropped when my brother came home with his Audi A6. I call it the bat mobile, all black and I was smitten the very first time I slipped behind the wheel and took it for a spin. That’s why I today love my car, it’s a driver’s love my little gem of an Audi (we keep it in the family).

I am a bit of an adrenaline junkie and I have tried things like bungee jumping and skydiving is something that is on my bucket list. You need to do things that excite you and a couple of days ago I feed that adrenaline junkie in me and ticked off a bucketlist must do. I caught a friends post and before you knew it, me and a group of friends was on our way to the shooting range.

For whatever reasons I have always wanted to try to fire a real gun with live bullets, in a controlled environment. It tickles my pickle.

I am all about safety first and I have an incredible respect for guns. They are scary as fuck, partly because of the damage a gun can do. However, I give praise to Pangamera for their professionalism, handling and making it a very fun filled experience for us! I highly recommend going to them.

Safety first was on the list, read all the rules and walk through of the process, a gun, the range and what we were going to do. We got to fire 4 different guns and 100 live bullets, a favourite between most of us was the 9 mm Beretta. It’s firing the very first bullet that was scary for me, the recoil feeling of the gun and the power you have in your hand. It’s the most nerve racking and exciting thing at the very same time. Adrenaline high.

So if you are a little boyish adrenaline junkie like me and would like to try something different or maybe is this experience also on your bucket list? Then visit Pangamera's website (http://www.pangamera.se/ ) and see what you fancy doing. Book your next company event there or maybe is it a great idea for a bachelorette party! They have several different packages to choose from so go ahead and choose your type of fun!

I’ll be back for sure and doing it again!

/just Alex

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She is my inspiration and every day she makes me feel so beautiful – inside and out. She is my best friend, no correction, she is my family.

She is the first one and so far the only one I let take photographs of me baring it all.

This is one of her favourite photos of me.

Photo by: Sandra (www.sirijani.com)

This photo was taken of me right after I was fresh out of the hospital from Ileus strangulation surgery number two in October 2016. I was determined not to let this brake me, I am not broken. I am strong and a strong mind will give me a strong body.

This was my way of healing, baring it all.

With this photo I first went public with my story and body. Sandra shared my story and I remember sitting with her on my couch watching her edit and write a fitting caption. This is when this whole project started and an idea for sharing my journey was first born. Sandra always thought I was unique, it was a unique journey, mind-set and a story I actually didn’t mind sharing. Maybe something not everyone would be comfortable doing but maybe can I inform and help someone else on a similar journey. I was going to make this topic and my body comfortable. Bless her heart for seeing it before me.

We even listened to inspiring music while we were discussing my pictures. Watching her hit the send button was one of the scariest things I had ever done. What will people think? What will people say? It was scary because I am very sensitive to negative comments and I didn’t want to experience negativity. It is not in my values to be evil or share evil and hurtful thoughts or words to someone. If does not do anyone any good to share those words, keep those comments to yourself. Values to live by.

The love and feedback I got back from posting that picture was heart-warming, and made me shed many blessed and grateful tears.

I wish everyone has a friend like her, god only knows how much I love and appreciate her. If it wasn’t for her and all the beautiful souls I have in my life, I don’t think I would bare it all so publicly. I am so grateful for all my loved ones, they inspire me and motivate me so much all day, every day. They make me a better person. They make me strive to be the best Alex I want to be.

Remember you become like the people you drink coffee with.

I am perfectly imperfect me.

/Alex

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Five days a week, sometimes a bit more and sometimes a bit less, I am stuck in front of a computer screen at the Zebra Collection office and that’s where I make magic happen.

I love the office life, it fits me like a glove.

My office life work is a different kind of passion, but nonetheless a passion. I don’t know how you can do great work if you are not passionate about what you do. If you do, let me know?

I don’t know what to call myself and it is not really important in our office to have a business card with an “official title”. How we choose to work is more important and the fact that we are a team, and when the team works then the dream works.

Styling for a mini photoshoot is included in my work description

But six years ago I was the first employee that my boss hired for Zebra Collection and my title then was the PR and WEB manager. It is still one of my main responsibilities, but I have evolved and I learn and do new things all day, every day. I am the right handed go to woman, the fixer and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

/just Alex

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I am perfectly imperfect me and this is my body and all the stories it has collected over the years. I have traces from my former big self; cellulite, stretchmarks, loose skin and so on. I have tattoos and they each carry a personal meaning and a story behind them. I have scars from multiple surgeries and I have racked up a total of 5 surgeries to this day.

But we only live with the scars we choose.

Photo by: Sandra (www.sirjani.com )

Clothes: ICIW (www.icaniwill.se )

My scars, my body, my tattoos are my stories and it’s my personal journey and diary in one. It is a constant reminder of where I have been and where I am today. It’s a good reminder. Each time I look at my body I am so grateful and thankful for life. It could have been much worse. So many people have it worse. I just don’t look like the girls in a magazine. Big f-ing deal.

Learn to love thyself.

I am perfectly imperfect me.

/just Alex

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…the continuation.

Many doctors. Many questions and a whole lot of waiting is what I would call this last and final part.

I start off in a private room waiting for the doctor who called me back to the hospital. In this process of what feels like an eternity already, I am signed up on a study involving Gastric bypass patients and the effects after it. I have to fill in a form and answer pages of questions, and donate blood for testing. Honestly I would have never said no to signing up for the study. Why? Because we need more information regarding gastric bypass surgery and since I am already in it, why not let me continue on this guinea pig rollercoaster.

Maybe can we learn something more and valuable information about gastric bypass surgery. The whole reason for me writing down my story.

I also find out you can do a reverse gastric bypass surgery. It is very rare and I wasn’t even aware that it existed and could be done. A referral has been sent to the obesity specialist centre here in Sweden that can perform this kind of surgery. An opportunity for me to explore this option, if I want to, and to ask all kinds of questions that I am searching for answers to. As well as they will have questions for me…

Basically all I do now is wait, wait and wait a bit more. It feels like it’s a never ending waiting process. Waiting for one doctor, waiting for my room, waiting for another doctor, waiting for blood test, waiting for a pre surgery shower and the most important wait – waiting to have surgery. Not knowing when it’s going to happen was the worst part for me, not that I was going to have surgery again.

I just wanted it to be over and done with it, like always so I can go back to my life. But since I was not dying, there was no rush.

I am hungry, no I am starving! I am tired, so tired that I can’t even fall asleep. I want to drink water, my mouth feels like the Sahara desert and then some. But most importantly, I just want to know when I am getting the surgery. I keep asking, is it a matter of hours or days? Don’t know. Can I go home and wait? No. Please? No. Why? Because when its time, its time. It’s not what I want to hear. I try everything, still I get a no.

Why do I want to go home and wait? I hate hospitals, literally, and I just want to feel comfort in this hardship. Every time I have entered a hospital someone very near to me has passed away or I am cut open. I hate hospitals.

An array of doctors make their way to me and ask me the same annoying questions each time they change shifts. I want to tell them all to fuck off and please read my file instead. I had shut down and feel hollow. I had a room and I am sharing it with 3 other people. I caught them staring at me sometimes. No wonder, I am just laying on my bed staring into empty space and tears continuously drippled down my face.

I have called my dad and threated to leave this hell-hole of a hospital. Telling him I’m going to pull out all the cords and walk out of this place if I don’t get any answers by 7 pm. What I didn’t know was that my poor dad was on his way to the hospital. He sat outside my door the entire time but was uncapable of going inside, knowing that if he did I would make him take me home and he would be too weak to resist his ailing daughter…

I love my father more than anything and he made the right decision that day. What I didn’t know was that he was fighting my battle for me, with me, telling all the nurses and doctors that they needed to do something. He kept sending them in one by one. He is the one that told them to give me a sedative, he can’t bear the thought that I am sad, breaking down, you name it... I didn’t take it at first but after the nurse insisted it would calm my nerves and make me feel a little better - I swallowed it. I can't remember if it made any difference.

There is not one doctor that has met me that day that has not given me the look, the look of empathy. I am so grateful that they all understand, they all understand this is difficult for me. They all understand that this shouldn’t be happening and that this is too much for one personto handle. They all understood my feelings and it's was okay, it was normal and would even be too much for them to go through. They all did everything in their power to make me feel better and give me any form of reassurance they could.

A specialist had been called to do my surgery, Doctor Mikael E. I remember his aura when he entered the room and I sat up in the bed to meet his gentle eyes. A very tall and very proper man but so warm in his voice. I remember specifically telling him I would be fat any day again then ever have to go through this, it’s not worth it. It’s not worth it to me. He was chocked and moved by my words and then this big manly doctor shed a tear, moved a piece of hair out of my face, looked me straight into my eyes and said he would do everything in his power to fix me.

This resulted in a surgery taking 4 hours instead of 1 hour.

I was just about to give up. The time has passed 7 pm and that was my deadline for getting the hell out of there. Then like an angel from nowhere, there was my father standing at the end of my bed. I cried even more, a sigh of relief to see him. He told me everything was going to be okay now. He had entered my room only because in the same moment all the doctors arrived, dressed in green. Doctors dressed in green are OR doctors and it was time to roll me down, down to the operating room. Daddy only came to tell me he was here, he was there the whole time and it’s all going to be okay and daddy loves you and will be right here when you are done.

You know, I love my father more than life. He is my rock. He is my everything.

You would think this rollercoaster is over now right? No way. I remember the transporter, the nurses, and the anaesthesia doctor all being so wonderful to me while I was in the final stages of being prepped for surgery. It’s the empathy.

I am in the OR and it’s a familiar place. The green clothes. All the machines. All the lights. All the beeping. All the trays. All the screens. All the cords that are being attached to me one by one. The nurse even points out my real EKG heartbeat on the screen, noting that I have it tattooed on my body.

BANG. A side door opens and I see a nurse and hear her say “Roll her back”. What, wait, say what? What does that mean I cry out? I means roll her back and take her out of the OR we need this room because an emergency patient has arrived. In less than a second I freak out and panic, I start pulling at all my cords and shouting I had enough, I am leaving this hell-hole. Before I do any more damage the nurse holds my shoulders down and asks me to breathe with her. Just breathe, inhale and then exhale, slowly. I could hear my surgery room doctors discussing if this was really necessary, look at her they said, she has started the process, could this not be solved in another way, are there no other doctors or rooms?

If she had entered the room 1 minute later it would have been impossible to roll me back. I was only 2 essential steps from being knocked out, a gas mask and anaesthesia to put my lights out.

The nurse kept talking to me and reassuring me that they are doing everything they can not to roll me back. Begging me to focus on my breathing, she pointed out that it won’t be good for my surgery or recovery how I am feeling. Also pointed out that she could tell by my swollen eyes that I had been crying a lot but we were so near the finish line.

They never rolled me back and out.

A few moments later they apply my gasmask and asked me to take big and deep breaths. It’s like someone switches of the light in you and I was gone, I was sedated. Sedation is a lost moment in time that you have no recollection over whatsoever. It is not the same as sleeping.

I wake up in the recovery room, in a heavy daze of morphine. It’s over and a sigh of relief comes over me. Now I can heal and focus on moving forward. Thank god.

Recovery was the same process and I stayed in hospital for a few days. I was on a liquid diet for 14 days and I was the same old Alex that asked everyday if today was the day I got to go home. I was a star patient and I did everything they asked me to do in order to heal as well as possible. I met all my doctors and specialist to talk through it all and eventually I was allowed to leave on the 31 march 2017. They quickly realized that I was the kind of patient that recovers better from home.

This is the end and I'll wrap up this third journey of Ileus strangulation surgery by saying. I am one lucky bastard and there is not a whole lot of people who love life the way I do. Three times I have gone through this process and it is unfortunately something I am all too familiar with. But I will never ever let this process or anything that happens to me ever bring me down.

All I want to do is live and live that life well.

That is my life goal.

I am perfectly imperfect me.

/Alex

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It is my mantra:

I am perfectly imperfect me.

What does it mean? To me it means I am a perfect version of myself with all my so called bodily flaws. There is no such thing as perfect and striving to achieve photoshopped, edited, filtered bodies in magazines and all over social media channels just isn’t realistic.

It is not a body goal anyone should strive to achieve.

Tomoe Soft Cup Bra

bought at La Leia in Malmö, Sweden (www.laleia.se )

Photo by: Sandra (www.sirjani.com )

We all should instead strive to love ourselves in the skin we are in and the body we have. Embrace ourselves. There are no flaws there are only perfectly imperfect versions of us out there, and we only have one go at life and taking care of ourselves, so let’s do it damn well. Let’s do it in a way that makes us all feel amazing about ourselves and teaches the next generation good values and views. That is my life goal.

Harness Thong

bought at La Leia in Malmö, Sweden (www.laleia.se )

Photo by: Sandra (www.sirjani.com )

I will love you for you and I want to be loved for being me.

I am perfectly imperfect me.

/Alex

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​Do you know what it was that finally pushed me over the edge when it came to my weight? 

I broke a chair when I sat on it. 

Yeah that’s right, suck on that one and how it feels to do that in a public place. Worst shame I ever felt. You know that feeling when you just wished a big hole in the earth appeared below you and sucked you in? Exactly that feeling. 

Photo throwback to Sweden 2008

Today I am thankful, it was a wakeup call.

I am perfectly imperfect me.

/just Alex

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