Tuesday, June 8, 2010
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
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
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
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.
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
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
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
But then, on Sunday, something happened. See, a week ago, my sister in law suggested I go meet a black lab at one of our local shelters. She says the dog has a great attitude but is missing a paw. I said "yeah right, I have the time to adopt a new dog." Surgery recovery, daughter in three sports. Time is not an option. I didn't give it another thought.
But as the surgery approached, I began feeling this sense of gratefulness. I have this tremendous opportunity here, afforded to me by work, family and friends. This surgery, if utilized correctly, will greatly improve my life. How in God's name am I going to pay this forward. On Sunday, while at the pinnacle of this dilemma, I get the e-mail from my sister-in-law. A picture of Rosie, the three-legged pooch is the shelter's Facebook dog of the week. 10-months-old, been in a shelter for all but 1 of them. The paw was amputated after it was injured but never healed correctly.
Dilemma solved, she comes home on Friday.
Now, the new dilemma is the name. She does not know her name very well, so we are considering changing it. I am looking for a name that pays tribute to my endeavor tomorrow, any suggestions?
I will update as soon as I'm home on Thursday.
See you on the other side.
Monday, April 26, 2010
I am one week in, as today is Day 7. After counting the days on a calendar, I suppose I could have waited a day to get started because there will actually be 15 days of all-liquids before May 5. But one day is nothing. I was just eager to move forward.
This weekend I traveled with my daughter to a soccer tournament in Ohio. My wife was flexible enough to help me determine, which will be more painful, staying at home where I will be less busy and more tempted by food or to go out of town. Had the weather had been any good I may have stayed home, so I can depend on grass cutting to keep me busy. But when I saw the weather forecast - I began to pack my bag.
Friday night through Sunday morning I was fine. I didn't even balk at explaining my surgery to the parents of other players who would often eat together for meals at the hotel. At first, I was concerned that my daughter (16 years old) may get embarassed. I have learned that anything that can be seen as a topic of conversation can cause undue embarassment to a female teen, but for the most part, she is not like that.
But then, there was 10:30 am Sunday morning. After the last game of the weekend. We were at Bob Evans, the two of us and two other parent-daughter combos. The worst part of a brunch is you don't know what to eat, breakfast or lunch foods. The best part, at least if you're not approaching a surgery date, is that if you just played a weekend of soccer, you can order both. AND . . . they did.
Chicken tenders and sunny-side-up eggs. Cheese sticks and bacon. These are a few of my favorite things.
But what made my abdomen do a flip, cinnamon cream pancakes. Has anyone been there recently? I had not, but I saw the picture on the menu and said wow. Then someone had to order them. Right? They just had to do it.
So, somewhere along vacation this summer. I'm stopping at Bob Evans. It may even be for just one bite and then throw the plate away. I'll chew 50 times and not drink anything 2 hours before or after I eat, but doggoneit, I'm gonna have a bite of those.
But for now - Muscle Milk Light, one scoop of chocolate and one scoop of banana. Mmmnn!
Thursday, April 22, 2010
If I keep repeating it, will I eventually believe it?
Truth be told, it has not been so bad. You're never very full, but so long as you don't go more than 5 hours in between shakes, you're never really starving either.
Of course, reasoning like that does nothing for you when you are preparing your kids'meals, smelling the smells and stirring the pots. Test in self discipline - PASSED.
May 5 can't come soon enough.
Everyone, thank you for all the comments on my last post. Addiction sucks huh?
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Here is the background story. As I mentioned before, this past weekend was a work event I have been planning for the past few months. Things were hectic, though it all ended well. In the morning, we served doughnuts to a staff of volunteers and there they were. Chocolate or glazed covered discs of fried dough. I probably could have eaten one, even two, without much harm, but it was nerves that drove the desire at all. The event was getting to the point where it was going to start running itself and I was crazy. I stepped out of the area and found a co-worker smoking a cigarette. Now, I chewed snuff for years and quit about seven months ago for the surgery, but cigarettes I could pick up and put down easily. So, I enjoyed a smoke with my colleague and found that it calmed me, allowed me to think a bit more clearly.
The following Sunday, my brother-in-law and my sons are in the car together. Somehow the discussion of alcohol began between my brother-in-law and I. I am not much of a drinker now, but don't ask me to recall too many Friday or Saturday nights from my college years. My 13-year-old kidded, "I enjoy a cold beer every once-in-a-while too."
This child and I, probably more so than my other two kids, have more in common when it comes to personality traits. Very instinctive, very impatient and very need-it-now. Knowing that he has probably already been in social situations where he was offered alcohol, I tell him he should wait even longer past 21 to try alcohol because he and I have the same "addictive personality."
Mind you, the same personality that would have driven me to eat four or five doughnuts the morning before.
Sure, it's a real concern. But it is it too simple to classify every over-indulgent act an example of an addictive personality? And remember, there is not a single court room that allows for the "addictive personality plea" in cases involving drugs, alcohol or even gambling. Though, addiction treatment is often part of the sentencing process.
Whatever the case may be, I wish they made a pill for it.
Monday, April 5, 2010
But I have not been without epiphanies or reality checks. The first one directly involves my two week hiatus in posts.
It is funny how old habits don't die very easy. I have seen a glimpse of the horrible habits that have gotten me into this mess. Since the stamp of approval from my insurance company, the 40 inches of snow that has plagued the Northeast has melted to show the list of Spring chores around the house. My daughter is playing on two club soccer teams and her high school track team. An ambitious work project has eased its way outside of the typical 40-hour work week. And, the brake line in my Griswold-like mini-van has collapsed and will be in the shop until Wednesday, when I am scheduled to have jury duty. Oops, don't forget Easter shopping and cooking.
And what does all that mean? When was the last time this fat bastard has seen a treadmill? Food intake has been more than it should be. Don't get me wrong, I haven't fallen completely off the wagon, but the horse pulling the wagon has begun to slow.
Habits don't change easily, do they? The funny part is, I believe that if I checked, I would find a direct correlation between how much I post on this blog and how often I work out. Thanks for being there.
At any rate, my gym bag is in the car. Time to whip that pony back on course.
I hope everyone had a nice holiday.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Not a half hour from clicking publish, my cell phone rings with a Pittsburgh area code. My mind began developing a flattering and unique way to begin developing four-letter words.
But, this Wednesday was never in the cards. You can unclog your ears Dash, the profanity is for another day. My surgeon's schedule was very flexible because he is new to this office and there is not yet a flurry of people that have gone a full six months of pre-op diet, nutrition ed, etc. Turns out, that just means less access to the OR for him. He only has every other Wednesday.
Work commitments on my end made May 5 the first available. So, fine, it will be a spring band. Sure, I would have loved it to happen now. But I am more excited to have the date, etched in my Blackberry.
So, six weeks, I can do anything for six weeks. So I get to spend more time consider the psychological aspects of all this and continuing read more blogs.
With my cut off day approaching too soon, and my insurance company not yet offering the proverbial "thumbs up," I have returned to solid foods. Wed, March 24 was the last possible date for surgery, if it was going to occur prior to a major event I am planning for work on April 10. If the surgery occurred after this Wednesday, I risk not being 100% on the day of the event and the days leading up to it. I was a little bummed at first, but I must remember to think with grand vision and not be so fixated on the right now. It is more important that I have the surgery all together, not that it occur prior to this event or that. I had some big plans this spring and summer, such as tearing up local bike paths with my son and running a 5K or two. Not that they still can't happen, but it would have been more fun had the surgery occurred yesterday, so to have enjoyed those things after the first few weeks of sudden weight loss. It would have been nice if it would have gone that way, but BIG PICTURE my impatient, needy, childish alter-ego, BIG PICTURE.
Will the irony be, now that I have been on solids since Saturday (I figured if I was going into surgery on Wednesday, I would have known by Saturday) that they will call today and say "We are pleased to tell you that your insurance paperwork has been approved and we understand that you have been on all liquids since the last week of February, is Wednesday good for you?" I believe DASH is in Australia, right? She'll be able to hear the profanity down there.
Keeping the faith.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Special thank you to Manda Panda for nominating me for a Sunshine Blogger Award. I do really struggle to name 12 of my favorite blogs, just like the Beautiful Blogger Award a few weeks ago.
Instead, I'll encourage you to check out her blog. She is on a bit of rough spot as of last week. Send her good vibes.
Not all bad news though, I confirmed that the paperwork was sent and is going through the channels. In my dealings with the good people at UPMC, I am confident that they would not have submitted an incomplete packet. So as the phrase goes - any day now.
Regarding the all liquid diet, today day 17. If I had known it was going to be this long, I would have started a few days later. But I suppose it was a gamble anyway.
Funny how our minds can be our strongest ally or worst enemy. For the past 2.5 weeks, I have been a rock of discipline. Didn't feel an ounce of temptation. But for the past two days, on one hand I have been struggling to get all my shakes in - just not hungry at all. On the other hand, head hunger is kicking my ass.
Maybe it's because before my last surgery date, when it was postponed, the surgeon said "At this point, your liver has shrunk and if you ate a low fat diet for a week, we would be okay." Maybe it's because I have read on a few blogs of people that cheated and their surgeon never knew. Maybe it is because I just made a lasagna for my family (I fancy myself a bit of an amateur culinary specialist and lasagna is one of my solids), but foods are speaking out to me. More like blaring at me.
The positive side is that I weighed in a 296.5 this morning. I started this journey at 361. My wife quipped this morning that I could stay on all liquids for a month longer and not need the surgery. Yeah right, c'mon, I'm a Fat Bastard. I'd be 380 two months later.
Have a good week everyone.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
You would think being around food at this point would be difficult, but really at this point I'm numb. I've sat in a restaurant twice and prepped dinner for the family a few times. All obligations, but, you wouldn't think I'm going to voluntarily put myself in front of temptation.
But . . . what about one of my favorite shows? Man v. Food? An avid foodie touring the country showcasing a destination's best foods and ending each episode with a restaurant challenge, such as a 10 lb stuffed pizza in an hour, 5 hoagies in 45 minutes or 6 of the hottest wings on the east coast. It's on the Travel Channel - give it a watch.
I appreciate the host's genuine excitement for food and some of the unique foods and restaurants. And oddly, I can sit through six-episodes and feel not an ounce of temptation. Not in comparison to last night, when my family met two other families for dinner. I was fine until my favorite at that restaurant was passed under my nose, shrimp and garlic pizza. That hurt.
To update, I called the surgeon's office Friday. They are hoping to have authorization from my insurance company this week. I have not been fantastic about a blogging midweek, but trust me, when a date is set, you will all know it. For those of you new to my blog. I have put myself on all liquids because my surgeon just transferred to this hospital and supposedly has an open schedule. My hopes are that when the scheduler says "we can pick a date two weeks from now if you'll start all liquids today" and I'll say "Guess what I've been up to." Hope it pays off.
Someone asked me about my preference for protein supplements. My favorite is actually Myoplex Lite, the individual packets of powder make it easy. But it mixes with skim milk making the whole shake about 280 calories. My surgeon's office says no more than 800 calories a day. Muscle Milk Light on the other hand mixes with water allowing four shakes all just under 800 calories.
Have a good week all.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
My surgeon's office allows 2 cups of raw vegetables a day if I choose, "to make it more enjoyable." I haven't had any yet as I don't believe they really would have made a difference, let's face it, this 2 weeks on all liquids is meant to be endured - not tolerated and certainly not enjoyed.
But, at a head table, skipping the meal was not a choice. But I prepared for this, I was ready. I took three rigatoni noodles, one slice of pork and lots of kraut and two tongs of lettuce and cucumbers - no dressing. At my seat, I jumped back and forth from nursing on a lettuce leaf, moving a noodle around my plate to spread the sauce around to appear the serving was much larger and cutting the pork into tiny pieces and hiding them in the mound of kraut. No one seemed to notice.
That is, until one of the caterers came around to clear tables. She took my plate, began to turn around. But apparently I wasn't as slick as I thought. She turned around again and asked "Was everything okay?"
I wanted to say "thanks lady, it was bad enough I had to sit here and watch everyone eat all night, and bad enough that I had to feel every fiber of meat on my knife and fork, but do you have to call me out?" But, I suppose I should be happy that she cared enough about her work to make certain that nothing was wrong. How many people does she deal with that have been consuming nothing but protein shakes, broth and jello for five days? So I said what I should. I looked puzzled as to why she would be asking and said "Everything was fantastic, thank you. I just took too much, my eyes were larger then my belly."
I'm only a few days from attending my last meeting and I really hope putting myself on the pre-surgery diet early pays off.
Have a good week everyone.
LDswims has also nominated me for a Beautiful Blogger Award and I owe her a big apology for not catching that before posting a few days ago. What is most silly about it is that she and I are both on pre-surgery diets and could probably swap many stories. Her last blog describes the pain and anguish of running into a package of Thin-Mints. I've put a few of those away I assure you.
Admittedly, I am struggling to find the time to post new info and read up on everyone's blogs. On top of which, I still do not have all the ins and outs of making certain that I am a follower on everyone's blog who is listed as a follower of mine. No offense intended.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Now, I am supposed to:
- Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
- Copy the award and place it in your blog.
- Link the person who nominated you for this award.
- Tell us 7 interesting things about you.
- Nominate 7 bloggers.
- Post the links to the 7 bloggers you nominate.
Seven interesting things about me-
1) I have a talent that is somewhat counter productive to weight loss but fun nonetheless. Because movies and food are probably my most favorite ways to spend free time, I've developed an ability to pair the best food with any movie. For instance, using some of my favorite movies Tommy Boy = Fettucine alfredo with shrimp and chicken. South Park Bigger, Larger and Uncut = Chinese food. The Breakfast Club = Sausage Hoagie with peppers and onions. Rocky = chicken wings.
2) I lost both of my parents (mother had breast cancer, father had an anuerism) before I turned 25. That which doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger.
3) Despite conventional thought, I love discussing politics and religion. If these topics frighten you, your core beliefs on these topics are not yet strong enough to be tested.
4) I drive a mini-van. Though I don't feel like less of a man because of my vehicle, I do sometimes consider how I would look in a house dress. They look so comfortable.
5) If I could change the course of life I would be performing stand-up comedy. I have no regrets, I love my life and am very fulfilled. I just enjoy comedy.
6) I'm horrible at ping pong, but can play a decent game of tennis for a Fat Bastard.
7) I cry at the end of most movies.
I'm sorry everyone, I simply cannot choose seven bloggers. See those head shots to the right? They are my banded blog friends and I have a hard time ranking them. Sorry.
Something they said before, when I transferred hospitals, stuck in my mind. "Because the doctor just arrived here from his last hospital, his schedule will be really open for a few months."
So, translation - if I start my liquid diet now, that will be one less hold up. This may lead to me being on all liquids an extra few days, but what is the harm in that? Maybe the surgery can actually occur within the next two weeks.
So, it's back to the blender for me. I actually started yesterday and so far, it feels better than it did last time. The dull to sharp belly pains are there, no doubt. But mixed with my personal promise to not be too grumpy at home or allow the energy loss hurt me at work, my positive outlook is lifting me past the physical distress. Agghh, that sounds like some self help babble in a cheesy How to Fix Yoursel and Love Yourself book, huh?
I have been reading everyone's blog and wish to offer a thanks to those who nominated me as a Beautiful Blogger. I hope put the finishing touches on that entry tonight.
Friday, February 19, 2010
But for now, the small details are not as important. Put simply, this past week has been over-scheduled and stressful. We've all had those weeks when family, work and personal obligations meet in one giant crap storm.
So, in the past week, I've forgotten to drink my water a few times. Time didn't allow for double checking that I packed my vegetables for work. I've slept less, exercised less and blogged less.
I'm not a different person than the Fat Bastard of old. My personality will not change. Weight loss surgery or not, psychological flaws corrected or not, I will always be me. And if this is going to work, weeks like this must be endured and can not be the gateway to a two-year bender of fried chicken and nachos. May the endurance begin.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
As this Florida boy hates the snow, I have been using a treadmill at the YMCA. The current blizzard and recent 15 inches of snow kept me from the Y today, but I'll be there tomorrow.
Also, check out Big Daddy the author was just banded.It is good to have another man in blog land. Not that I am not enjoying blogging with my new female friends, I don't get why so many men don't utilize this kind of support.
Monday, February 8, 2010
Gen pointed out that there may be certain factors that fuel bad decision making by those of us that are fully aware of what a healthy lifestyle consists of but have little success in living that lifestyle consistently. She said that the choice is not so "simple" and went on to compare the addiction of food to the addiction of alcohol.
See, decisions are very simple. Every person that may have answered a really important text while driving or stayed up an hour later than they should have because their favorite TV show is on a season finale, has grappled with doing something they know is probably a bad idea, but did it anyway.
Now that is not to over-simplify what fuels that decision, which is why what Gen said is important. The decision to over-consume is quite a simple one, fueled by some very complex issues that differ from person to person.
While working as a reporter for a tiny newspaper, I had a sit down with a psychologist that hosted free support meetings for people who have a loved one grappling with addiction to drugs and alcohol. We discussed the nature of addiction and I made the reference of comparing food addiction to heroin.
He looked at me, dead in the eye, and said "The two have nothing in common." Walking out of the meeting, for a minute, I felt stupid. I am fully aware that the chemical addiction a heroin addict feels is non-comparable. If I go 24 hours without a hit of alfredo sauce, I am not going to begin sweating and shaking.
But on the other hand - it is much more "simple." Not a more simple problem to resolve, but a more simple problem to understand. There is no moderational use of cocaine. I won't feel like I deserve a hit of crystal-meth because I ran a 5K earlier that day. You either use illegal drugs or you do not.
But, food is a different issue all together. A serving of most pastas are okay with the right sauce and that the serving is a small side to a protein packed entree. 2 oz of cheese is the right serving for your turkey pita. But too much of either of these and you could be on a dangerous road. To me, one of the most enjoyable foods with almost no nutritional value, chicken wings with bleu cheese, would be an okay twice a year indulgence if paired with a major event like running the aforementioned 5K. Ask a recovering alcohol addict what a twice year bottle of rum would do?
So, are the addictions similar? Probably not. In the end, I am sure us Fat Bastards have it a lot better off.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Those friends didn't last and my days standing at that pulpit are over.
So, welcome, my new 28 friends, I'm flattered that you are here. Kathi (www.kayvee-dontlookback.blogspot.com) answered my last post with an awesome way to "follow" blogs and get alerts on my dashboard when there are new posts on my friends' sites. A few people, offered insight to the my technical question and all are appreciated and do work.
Regarding my surgery situation, last night I attended my first of two post-op support meetings that my insurance company wants me to attend in order to cover my surgery. It was sort of a reality check for me. (remember from my openner, the term Fat Bastard is a non-offensive, humorous way to discuss anyone who has struggled with weight) I am starting to develop a theory that Fat Bastards can be split into two groups.
Group A, of which I am a part, knows the dos and don'ts of healthy living. We know to exercise four to five times a week, to avoid foods high in fat and sugar and choose a daily caloric intake based on factors of age, health, gender and lifestyle. We know this, we simply choose not to.
People in Group B simply don't have a knowledge of that healthy lifestyle. Honestly, I am not intending to be judgemental. I used to believe that information taught in schools, with the food pyramid in elementary school to the discussion of metabolism in high school health classes, was common knowledge. But as I sat in this meeting last night, listening to questions, this became apparent to me. One woman seemed shocked at the idea that there was a direct relationship between calories burned and calories consumed and that relationship will ultimately impact weight loss or gain.
In the end, I hope that this new knowledge for Group Bs becomes the beginning of a new life. For myself and the other Group As, we have a completely different issue. Why, in the name of Sausagito (the name of the God of my non-moderational church), do the Group As know exactly the right thing to do but fail to make the proper choice?
I plan to spend sometime this weekend catching up on everyone's blogs, see everyone soon.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
But when I click on Follow on someone's blog, it is like my profile is deferred to a Yahoo user profile, not my blogger profile. My picture isn't there - nothing.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
It seems that many people I have discussed this with always seem to prefer keeping their weight loss efforts a secret. I read on one of your blogs today of an author planning on a band install and is struggling to explain to their mother what their intent is.
Funny, isn't it? Not to preach here, but I believe that if you are a life-long Fat Bastard you have lost weight on more than one occasion. For myself, I have lost and gained more than 400 pounds in 20 years. I am quite certan that I began each diet by vowing not to tell anyone what I am up to. Why do I do this?
I know what the reason is. If you are (or were) a Fat Bastard, so do you.
You try and justify your vow of silence with a reason like "I'm doing this for me, no one else, so I'll keep it to myself because it is no one else's business.
But in this situation, honesty really sounds like this - "What will they say in a week from now when they see me finishing the fifth slice of an 8-slice large pie with double cheese and sausage? Better keep my mouth shut, just in case."
Then what do we do, after we fail at diet attempt number 104, we find consolation in eating by ourselves. Not just a meal. So much food and at such a fast pace that food doesn't have a taste.
Such is the life of a Fat Bastard.
My name is Jordan, I live in western Pennsylvania. I have a wonderful wife and three children 16, 13 and 11.
Thank you everyone, for reading and leaving comments. Some of your blogs I have not found yet, but please don't be offended, I'm working on it.
Friday, January 22, 2010
So, here's the deal. Throughout my months of visiting the dietitian and getting all the tests, the bariatrics office had two surgeons, both of which maintain private practices. Recently, the surgeon I committed with left and went to a larger hospital in larger town about an hour away.
I wanted to go with him then, but I denied myself that because of a battle I have been grappling with. There is only one major provider is in this area that pretty much runs the show. I grew up in South Florida, Miami to the south, Fort Lauderdale to the north. A world's difference in just about every facet of life. When there is more than one provider, competition for my business drives better service. In this neck of the woods - not so much. This region is filled with pocket towns that have one gas station, one diner, one Chinese restaurant, you get the idea. Maybe it is because I didn’t grow up here and don't understand the mindset, but I always seem to feel as though I am bothering the gas station attendant when he has to get up from his stool to run my credit card. The expression "Have a nice day" is rarely said.
So, when I first arrived here I turned my nose up to this area. But I found myself getting too negative. I mean, who the hell am I to tell people to "be nice?" If I am going to be happy here, the round peg and square hole routine is going to have to stop. This mindset is precisely the reason why I did not follow my instinct and go with the first surgeon, who about a month ago left my area hospital to go to the larger hospital about an hour away. I considered staying with him at the smaller, much smaller, hospital, therapeutic to my assimilation effort.
What is the expression about first instincts?
Last Tuesday morning was the last I spoke with the bariatric center where I started, and it was me that called. I can only be told, "We'll call you when we know something" so many times. I mean, wouldn’t it occur to someone that after my surgery has been postponed twice, I might be a bit anxious. I don't want to seem high maintenance, but at least patronize me with a phone call every afternoon and say "The surgeon couldn't call you insurance company yet but he will very soon. Gosh, I know you must be a bundle of nerves."
Already, I see the difference at the larger facility. I called yesterday morning, Thursday. It seems as though the doctor’s files traveled with him. They said they would call me back before Friday afternoon. Maybe I was too negative after my first experiences, but I thought "Sure, I'll call you Monday afternoon and you'll say that you were going to call me last week but you really had not found anything out yet."
Before lunch on the same day, the office manager called me herself. She said that her main responsibility is pre-authorization and the only thing not in my file from the move was my insurance info. So I gave it to her. An hour later, she called again. Mind you, the first office has not called me in four days. the second location, where at this point I had not even committed to yet, has called me twice. Sunshine is starting seep through the clouds.
The good news is, the office manager, not the surgeon, was able to get concrete answers from my insurance company. The bad news is that, yes, my insurance company requires that I attend two post operative support meetings and get a clearance with a cardiologist. The office manager, like the lady at the first location, said that this is the first insurer they knew of to have such a requirement. Then, I had to ask it.
"Had I have initially came to you, is the support meeting requirement something you would have found out ahead of time? The office I have been working through only filed for pre-authorization about 72 hours before my surgery and 10 days into my liquid diet."
Answer- "More than likely we would have caught it, but I can't say for sure. See, we file for pre-authorization before you start your liquid diet, and if your insurance is one that we are not very familiar with, we call them before your first appointment and get a checklist of everything and then review it with you while you are here."
Proactive and transparent. Two qualities I admire. Yes, I am sold.
Now that this post has taken way too long, I'll cut to the chase. I will attend support meetings the first weeks of February and March and then we have a pre-op appointment, two weeks on liquids (again) and then under the knife I go.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
At this point, my insurance company wants a peer to peer review with my surgeon. On either side, I get answers as firm as bowl of warm of cottage cheese.
From my insurance company, I get very few answers as to what it is they are not satisfied with in my pre-authorization paperwork. Seems to be a different answer every time I call. Customer service is polite, but flimsy. They seem to paint the picture, "Gee, all we want is a call from your surgeon, is that such a problem?"
Apparently, it is. It has been nearly a week and my surgeon has not called. I call both the bariatric office and his private practice (he does general surgery as well). The bariatric office keeps saying that they will call me when he can speak with the insurance company and his private practice seemed annoyed that I am asking questions like "Do you forsee an open 10 minutes on his schedule where he may call?" Remember, it is their office, not the bariatric office, that submits the paperwork to the insurance company.
At this point, I'm starting to see things from the insurance company's standpoint. Yes, a week ago they were the crapbags putting me through this and I certainly don't love their non-transparent ways. But apparently, that is the nature of the insurance business. They are the keeper of the keys and they can't be beaten, so why not play to them? If the Doc would make the call, I would at least know where I stand.
I guess that is why I am so disgusted by the federal government's new health care plan. Personally, I'm a conservative. I believe that competition drives down prices and demands higher quality in any product market. In my opinion, the biggest reason health insurance is so expensive is because only so many companies are allowed to do business in a particular state. As consumers, we can't go to another business when we are not satisfied with the services we are getting.
But, after the 2008 election, I thought "Well, we'll soon see if Canada's or England's plan can work here." Doctors, nurses and everyone in health care will be government employees. Sure, our taxes will double across the board, but the health care debate will be over. Don't get me wrong, I consider this a horrible plan and the complete opposite from allowing competition to work its magic, but at least health care would be available to all. This current plan, does neither except make it illegal to not have health insurance and does little to make it affordable. I don't know from what perspective this seems to be a good fix.
Anyway, I went ahead and started liquid shakes again. It seems so much easier. If I get miserable, I'll eat something. But at this point, it is just so much easier taking that guessing game out of the equation.
Oops, it is getting close to 9 am. I do not blog during working hours, so until next time . . .
Saturday, January 16, 2010
My doctor was in surgery most of the day yesterday and when he was out he could not get a hold of anyone at the insurance company. He hopes to speak with them Monday or Tuesday, depending on that call, the surgery could be the next possible date or may have to wait until I attend two post op support meetings.
Yes, I was most definitely disappointed. I think what sucked the most was working throughout the afternoon yesterday, watching the clock and my cell phone. I knew that the closer 4 pm came and my phone did not ring, the least possible I was going for the install on Monday.
My doctor took me off the protein shakes. He explained that by now, what needed to happen to my liver has happened and so eating low fat foods in sensible qualities and I will be okay, even if the surgery were next Wednesday or Friday. I'm sure I'll still have to be on clear liquids the day before, I think that is pretty standard.
There is a positive side. I have seen one of my strongest overeating triggers in its rawest forms. See, I was in a situation that I couldn't control. I wanted it, I needed it and I crossed every bridge that I had to in order to get it. But now, I can't control it. So, there I was, told to get off protein shakes and what did I want? Well, if I couldn't have my surgery, I wanted a dozen hot wings and a Philly steak hoagie. That, I could control. But yes, reason kicked in, and, you know, for a minute I contemplated staying on the shakes. It would have been safe, but over compensating. The equivalent to mail order nutrisystem or the "you name it diet system." Deemed for failure. In the end, regardless of what I would have consumed last night, I still am not in control over this aspect of my surgery, no matter how frustrating that is.
So what did I eat, I took my sons and my father in law to a local restaurant, had a grilled chicken breast, a ton of vegetables and a cup the best veggie chili I have ever eaten. I actually brought a cup home for a snack this weekend.
Funny, if the core of my insurance issue is post op support, I would love to share the above with the insurance company.
Thank you everyone for your comments, they are of great comfort. I hope everyone has a great weekend.
Friday, January 15, 2010
It seems as though my insurance company has issued a letter of denial to my surgeon. I went through this before, when I was supposed to have my surgery on Nov. 9. The bariatrics center and I accomplished all the things on the list of that letter for this attempt, but one of the items indicated that I must attend two post-op support meetings. I would have done so but my insurance company never informed of that requirement, despite the fact I called them two or three times and asked if there were any potential problems.
Since November 9 and I found out about the denial, the bariatrics center has not had any post-op meetings, they don't start again until later on this month. They were kind enough to meet with me once more to discuss post-op exercise and also invited me to attend the public information meetings everyone must attend to begin the program, where I was able to meet and ask questions to two lap band patients that have been successful. The bariatrics center documented both meetings and submitted them with the second round of pre-authorization materials.
I spent some time on the phone with customer service from my insurance company, and it seems as though my surgeon must contact their doctor for a "Peer to Peer Review." This all transpired yesterday (Thursday) and my surgery is scheduled for Monday. My surgeon was in the operating room all day yesterday and is returning there again this morning for another procedure. I am told that he will call this afternoon.
What if his morning procedure goes longer than expected? What if all the company doctors he can speak with take the afternoon off? Another northeastern snow storm moves in? His office is invaded by a band of angry termites, the building is evacuated, he remembers he must make the phone call, runs to his car but realizes he left the number on his desk and the extermination team has already begun fumigating with poisonous fumes? OK, the last one leans to the ridiculous side, just a little.
I have been walking around like a child readying for Christmas morning for the past two weeks. How deflating.
However, I am trying to keep things in perspective. After all, my bariatrics center did tell me not to eat any solids, so I suppose there is at least a 50/50 here, right? And although my "Christmas present" may be a little spoiled, in the end, my longevity is really what is at stake. I want to live longer than my parents who both had passed before I was 25 (breast cancer and aneurysm). This is only a tool to achieve weight loss and health, not a cure. So, I have to view this as an obstacle, one that will me stronger for having negotiated it.
However, I must say, my viewpoint was significantly different, as was my demeanor, about 18 hours ago.
Please everyone, hope for me, I need it.
By the Mrs. Amy W., I watched your video last night. Congratulations, I love victory stories.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
It started Tuesday night. My daughter is doing homework and has been for the last two hours. She started shortly after dinner, which my wife made, which was a typical frozen bag of pasta, meat and vegetables in a oily, buttery sauce. With three kids, three sports and a high school play to drive to, those meals are sometimes the best available.
So, my daughter, says she is hungry. I was unpacking and hooking up the new TV I got for Channukah/Christmas from a loving wife that knows how much I will enjoy it while being off from work during post op. What kind of father would I be if I allow her to interrupt her homework efforts to prepare something to eat while I'm wrestling with TV cords?
Check the freezer, hmmn, a burger? That would be easy, put it in a pan, continue assembling the 9,000 lb stand where the TV will sit, flip the burger - you get the idea. Perfect, right?
I'm a bit of a hoobbyist chef. I hate cooking the ready to prepare meals, like the one prepped this very night, but I love the labor of food prep. When preparing meats, I'm a medium rare guy. But in my house of 5, I'm the only one. Everyone else , their burgers must resemble the color and consisteny of a hockey puck. When I believe the burger is done, I have to verify there is no pink, so I make a little cut, lift the burger with the spatula and pry the sliver further open with my fingers to verify. It's perfect. I place the patty on the bun and, out of habit, I lift my hand to my mouth to rid my finger tips of the oily burger residue.
Mind you, through the whole cooking process, I smelled the burger as it slowly accepted the salt and pepper I added to it. I listened as it sizzled. And I was a rock of will power, not even tempted.
So here I am with my thumb and forefinger a hair from my mouth. Frozen with fear. I yell some vulgarities and wash my hands with soap and water - twice - just to be sure.
Insult to injury, I food shopped last night!
Thank you to all the commenters, you guys are great.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
On the protein shake front, I'm actually feeling a bit better. Last night, I drank my shake and didn't have a desire for the Jello I've been relying on to fill me up. Strange, I almost feel as if the diet beat me and my body just said "To hell with it, I'm not even going to be hungry anymore."
The issue has been with exercise, which was heavily stressed by the bariatrics office. Within the last 5 months I gradually craeated a 5-day-a-week, one-hour per visit habit. ButI have gone just one tme since starting all liquids. I was on the elliptical for 20 minutes and had less energy than I did when I started 40 pounds ago. I guess that is what you can expect on 600-800 calories a day.
My fear is being back at the drawing board when my suregon clears me to start exercising again. I'll be able to walk on the treadmill without his clearance, but he told me stay off elllipticals and bikes until he says.
Where I could use some help is in getting my protein post surgey for the first one to two weeks that I am on clear liquids. The dietician suggested New Way or Isopure protein supplements. They are not bad, just overly sweet. The New Whey tastes a little like someone did not stir the Kool Aid with enough water. I understand there are a few no flavor whey protein powders, so my thinking I could mix that with some chicken broth. Has anyone tried this?
Again, a big "oops' on the comment thing.
Monday, January 11, 2010
It got worse with kids. Running too and from sports events and other activities, food is always on the go. Can it be done healthily? Sure. McDonalds sells yogurt and apple slices. The larger mega mall-style gas stations in this region even sell carrot and celery sticks. But the healthiest choices are the least made. And besides, a double quarter pounder tastes too damn good.
But in the last six months, it has been much different. I am much more in tune with my body's wants. Before going on all liquids, my family dined out at least two nights a week. If it was Italian food, it was a grilled chicken salad for me. I would enjoy a slice of pizza after the salad, but was satiated by that one piece and did not end up feeling bloated and needing a nap. A year ago and not in "diet mode" I'd easily eat a half of a pie, take a nap and wake up hungry. Very little protein, no vegetables, no fruit - so the nap was almost a guarantee. Now, I like the way I feel when I'm eating healthy, and I believe this will be why this change will work. I am not dieting, I am changing my methods.
That does not mean I'll never enjoy any of the items that are on the top ten list of foods guaranteed to make you need Rolaids. But they will be few and far between and never in two meals back to back.
But for now, I have six more days of meal replacement shakes, one day of clear liquids and then the big day. I'm feeling good as my body has adjusted to 600-800 calories a day. I am excited about showing up for my "band install." I am looking forward to beginning the new life.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
It is now Saturday morning, I'm 8 days from surgery and have been on meal replacement shakes for the past 5 days. I have slowly gotten used to it but it hasn't been easy. Hunger came and went, as did bouts with extreme mood issues. You try not to take it out on the ones you love, but emotions can be as much of a bitch to manage as hunger. Yeah, I apologize a lot.
My surgeon and his staff suggests Slim Fast or Carnation Instant Breakfast for meal replacements. Carnation has only 13 grams of protein and really does not hold you off. Slim Fast would work, and I have plenty. I actually have a few cans from the past few "diet" attempts over recent years. You know, the diets that "This time will work." But I found Myoplex Lite at GNC. The taste is a bit more palatable vs. Slim Fast and has 5 more grams of protein. It also thickens quite a bit, making it a little more filling.
I am also allowed sugar free jello, which I haven't really had until last night. I think I'm pretty typical in saying that every attempt to lose weight is normally botched on weekends. It must have something to do with the work week's rigid schedule vs. the loose weekend. Jello will have to see me through.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
The minimal amount of calories is supposed to shrink your liver, making it easier for the surgeon to do what he has to. Which, in the end, I suppose is a good thing for me. The less prying, pulling and shift by him and the less pain I should be in for afterward and the sooner I can get back to work.
I have beeen DVRing a few movies so I can watch them while I'm at home - thinking about what I need to be doing at work.
Love of food? Yes.
A history of failing to moderate any vice-like substance? Sure.
Use of food to accommodate other emotional needs or insecurities? If you insist.
I have always been a fat bastard. The name fits much like Ray Liota’s description of his friends in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas. “You know, we always called each other good fellas. Like you said to somebody, you're gonna like this guy. He's all right. He's a good fella.” While in high school, my weight became easier to accept because I played football. If six or seven of us were grazing at a Chinese buffet or chicken wing place, 4,000 calories were easy to justify . . . because we were fat bastards. One guy would steal another guy's chicken wing, and he was a fat bastard. When the wing thief had a handful of fries missing, he'd look up in horror, find a giggling comrade and say "You fat bastard!"
Now, nearing 40 years old and more than 325 pounds, it’s not that funny anymore.
For the past 9 months, I have been going through the surgery process, various medical tests and meeting with a dietitian. I originally started at 361 pounds. I had my pre-op appointment a few days ago, and now I am almost done with the first of two weeks on all liquids and then I'm under the knife.
Generally, the whole process should take 6 months but I had a battle with acid reflux to resolve. I never realized I had a problem, though I sometimes needed an over-the-counter antacid for heartburn, that was when I ate too much, too quick. But, nevertheless, the reflux was picked up during my upper GI test and the surgeon called for an endoscopy to verify there was no damage to esophagus. But, damage there was . . . in the form of ulcers. So after two months on a prescription, the ulcers have healed and now it seems all is clear.
The purpose of this blog is simple. I have taken great comfort in reading about so many other people’s procedures and I feel as though I owe it to the weight loss surgery community to share my story. Maybe my words will be helpful for someone else.
In addition, I am hoping that the phrase said by writer John Dufresne rings true, "We don’t write to be understood, we write to understand." Who knows, maybe an epiphany or two about being a fat bastard will occur.