Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Catching up; Fill 1 and a Memorial Day 5K

Well, everyone, I really wanted to post sooner but time has really gotten ahead of me. I have been juggling a lot of day to day stuff, but I am happy to be back. Reflectively speaking, I am happy to say that I have not gained any weight. Why do I say this? The old Fat Bastard would have blamed the busy past few weeks on the gorging of burgers, Philly cheese steaks and pizza on the “who has time to think healthy on a day like this?” frame of mind.

My wife is recovering from a hysterectomy. The surgery went well and she is recovery faster than I thought. But the driving to sports practices, house cleaning and puppy training has fallen on my shoulders. She handled this task well a month ago for my surgery. So, now is my time to shine. Now, with the kids being out of school, everything should be easier to manage.

I have not lost any weight and had my first fill yesterday. But like I said, the victory is that I did not gain. It seems as though I hit a major plateau. It’s like my body is saying, “Hold on you Fat Bastard. You starve me with a pre-op diet of protein shakes for two weeks. You put this strange thing on my stomach. Then you stick to clear liquids for a week. No way, my friend, I’m going to hold every calorie you give me now.”

Why is it a victory? Simply because throughout the last two weeks I have been able to maintain a decent workout schedule and even added lifting weights to the mix. I try to get three lifting and three cardio sessions per week.

My other big victory – I entered and walked in a Memorial Day 5k. In fact, I finished in 43:36 placing first in my age group of walkers. I would have like to have jogged it, and if I did, I would have never placed first in the runners. But, for my first 5K, I am happy. There is another one in July that I am looking forward to. Don’t know yet if I’ll walk or run.

As far as my first fill, I have an AP Large Lap Band that holds 14 ccs of saline. There were 1.5 ccs in there, which I suppose is standard. He explained that generally 1 cc remains in the port and tube. So, yesterday, he added 3 ccs. I asked him if that was somewhat aggressive and he said that it was but that since there was so little saline in there, there was room to play. He said that the next few adjustments will probably be somewhat less aggressive as we will be chasing the ever-elusive Sweet Spot.

It’s hard to tell whether or not I feel much restriction yet. Yesterday, I was limited to liquids and yogurt. Today, I was able to start with a little bit more solid foods. So I will have to keep you posted.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Men vs Woman in the game of weight loss

Amy W. once commented -

ooh, only 6 more days! That is exciting! Pretty soon you will be six months out and smokin' all us girls in weight loss and we will cuss you for being a man and "having it easy"....hahah...just kidding....kinda :)

For the past few months, this statement has weighed on me. (pun intended)

Don't get me wrong, it's not because I believe she is incorrect. She's not. Every weight-loss effort that my wife and I have made has always ended with me making greater progress. I have seen it first-hand.

Though I stray from mainstream religions, I have a very deep belief in God as well as science. He has given our two genders very different internal wiring systems. That is really the only answer and it is a simple one at that. But in my efforts to examine certain truths about my Fat Bastardness, this truth has been simmering on my back burner for some time.

Until last night. One of my favorite shows is Real Sports on HBO. This show's mission is to profile key players and issues in the sporting world and bring to light many stories that you may never come across as a regular sports fan that just watches for statistics and win/loss records. A recent episode caught up with Kyle Maynard, a former high school and college wrestler missing four items that any wrestler calls essential; arms and legs.

Now, I have been familiar with his story. I wrestled in high school and college and coached the sport for many years. Often, as my kids are all athletes, I keep the show on the DVR if I come across something they might be interested in. This one was a keeper.

But on my second viewing, another aspect became even more apparent to me. Kyle was asked about what advantage he had over his able-bodied opponents. His answer - his mind. His situation, from day one in his life, forced him to ignore his situation and move forward with a vengeance to get what he wanted. The interviewer called it "relentless." I agree. Later, Kyle made the statement that if his life could be done over again, this time with him having arms and legs, he wouldn't. Because his situation (I don't use the word "disability" because he refuses to call himself disabled) has given him the mental tools that he otherwise might not have.

How does this apply to the man vs. woman weight loss factor? My weight roller coaster has always been fueled by the two extremes. If I'm "dieting," I am losing tons of weight. If I'm not, I'm consuming more calories in one meal than most would consume in a week. I subscribed to this because simply because I could have. I had no mental tools that made me appreciate that just because weight drips from me faster then my estrogen-stacked friends, that was no way to operate.

Now, step 2 is to engage this new found realization into habit.

Lastly, on many facets of life, I readily admit that men have it much easier than women. I could not even imagine birthing a child and would probably freak with every monthly visit. The only advantage of being a woman band blogger, from my nonsensical, comedic perspective; you guys get to talk about topics that would get me reported to the good folks at Google. I'm quite certain, none of you would like to hear about any of my grooming methods. Also, you guys can exchange clothing. Sure Andrew and I could ship boxes of clothes from one another, but let's face it - men are too unorganized, too irresponsible and too aloof to make something like that happen.

Have a good week all.

Monday, May 17, 2010

All Liquid Survey Wrap Up and Bandster Hell

Well, the verdict seems to be in.

After reading everyone's post, I have to agree with Gen that there does not seem to be much correlation between the all-liquid diet and speed of recovery.

That said, my doctor would argue that the all-liquid diet is not necessarily geared to that anyway. It's for making a smoother transition to the post-op days of being limited to clear liquids and then now on smashed foods or mushies.

For myself it seems as though that transition was pretty smooth, until a day or two after starting the smashed food phase.

So, this is Bandster Hell. Fabulous.

About two days after starting smashed foods I noticed my appetite beginning to increase and it being harder to push my bowl of mashed potatoes away. I am fine in between meals, but when I do finally eat, I feel like I could eat a house. This weekend I went to Eat and Park with my wife and daughter in between two soccer games. For the rest of the world, Eat and Park is a Denny's or Perkin's-like restaurant with a monster salad bar and sometimes buffet. We caught them on a Sunday morning brunch buffet with lunch and and breakfast items. In no time at all, I had housed about one scrampbled egg, about 3 ozs of mashed potatoes and half a cup of chili. I was satisfied, but I could have tripled it all if I wanted too.

So, until my first fill, it looks like I'll have to depend on the same will power that has nourished my pre-op diet for the past year.

Weight-wise, remember, I began this journey at 361 lbs. Went in for surgery at 309, weighed 281 at my first follow up 5 days after the surgery. The days following my first smashed meal, I actually gained a few pounds and was up to 284. A little disappointed, I knew it was better to simply follow the course laid out by the doc. I did however change my reliance on mashed potatoes. They were the quick meal and I figured adding some extra dry milk would make it protein rich. But, there are still carbs and not necessarily the good ones. So, I am leaving the mashed potatoes for only one meal a day if at all and instead taking bean soups, black bean or lentil, pureeing the solids and eating that. Also, I made a concoction of ricotta cheese, mixed with almond extract, Splenda and some powdered protein mix. This morning I was back to 281. My second follow up is Thursday.

Lastly, I am up to 71 followers. Who would have ever thought I could make so many friends? Great to meet everyone, if I don't follow yet, going through my list of followers to make sure I'm following you is on my To Do list. Give me a few days, I'll catch up.

Monday, May 10, 2010

In defense of the all-liquid pre-op diet

I asked my doctor today about my theory of the all-liquid diet. I estimate that the all-liquid pre-op diet shrinks your liver and with a smaller liver, the doctor does not have shift and root to do what he needs to. Less gas in the abdomen so there is less gas the days following. So I asked if it is a direct correlation between quicker recovery and the all-liquid diet? He responded "that is a possibility" but that the effect is unintended. The smaller liver makes everything go much safer.

So, seeing as how I originally started this blog to help pre-op readers, I am asking that all of you post a comment to this post that answers the questions - A) Did you have a severely limiting pre-op diet? B)On a scale of 1-10, what was the most amount of pain you experienced during your first week of post-op? 3) At what point did you a)quit taking pain meds b)start driving again c)go back to work

Had the doctor have said something like "You're exactly right, I have always known that with such a strict pre-op diet you will certainly recover quicker" I had planned to draft a heavy endorsement in defense of the hellish all-liquid diet and suggest that if their docs will give them the option, to definitely do it. Answering the above questions may really help someone out.

PRE-OP readers- Remember, I am not a doctor, the furthest thing from it. I actually majored in English. I am happy to share my experience with you, but you should certainly consult with your doctor before taking any action on anything this Fat Bastard has to say. Therefore, please do not start an all-liquid diet, or do anything outside of what your doctor instructed before speaking with him/her first.

On to smashed foods

I know everybody calls it mushies, the word seems so emasculating - so I'll call it smashed.

I expected to go from clear liquids to full liquids, but the doc said that my progress has been good, I am not soar or in pain. How great is it to not have to eat a fruit-flavored something.

Because of the proximity, I was able to hook up with a friend after my follow up appointment today. Mashed potatoes and broccoli cheese soup, food with texture - nice!

Considering the pain factor, I'm at little to none. I feel the port from time to time, such as sitting forward, but it is not painful. Neither is coughing or laughing which was a bit painful in the first few days.

What is the key to the recovery? Check out the next post, I'm conducting a bit of a survey.

Thank you for the comments everybody.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Day 2, what in God's name is that "full" feeling?

So, it's Friday morning. The past day and a half has been very strange. I haven't had solid foods for more than two weeks and have not even had a protein shake since Tuesday, but seriously, the very site of food is repulsing me. I'm supposed to eat 2 oz of jello or popsicle, regular calorie stuff, four times a day. In addition to drinking my water. If I even look at a glass of water I start to feel a 1000 pound watermelon in my abdomen.

But, other than that, I feel really good. The gas is still there and I think that may even be what is causing the full feeling. But there is less and less gas as I walk and walk. Gas X strips help too.

Also, I haven't touched pain meds and I hope to drive tomorrow. I really only could have used them at night while I was trying to sleep. Mainly because I can only spend about ten minutes on my back, so I typically sleep on my sides. When I was in the hospital I woke up about every hour from the pain of trying to shift. Last night, I fell asleep on one side, woke up at about 2:30am to roll over to the other side and then woke up again at 5am to roll over again. Tonight, I'll wish for the best.

Regarding Rosie, I expect her home in about two hours. As for her name, I shared all of your suggestions with the family. But in the end, we are going with a joke that I made when we first met the dog. I kidded that the name should be Tres, you know, Spanish for 3. But we're going to add a Y to make it Tresy. This way our Boston Terrier, Rex, won't get confused.

I would have preferred the name to have been better associated with my surgery. But, if you think about it, the name is much like this blog. Calling a three-legged dog Tres is at best not politically-correct. But that's my brand of humor. In my opinion, you can't really resolve a problem until you have examined it mentally and emotionally. Wouldn't laughing about it be an indicator that one is dealing well with the emotional side? Hence the name, Fat Bastard.

I'll check in again soon.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wow, the grass really is greener . . .

Just a quick line from Blackberry to tell everyone that everything went quite well. Pain is manageable, mostly just gas. Cotton mouth is almost gone and I am not even feeling sluggish anyomore from the anasthesia. Thanks for the great support everyone, and the dog names, too.