Potato Fail

I’ve been dealing with quite a bit of pain from my exhaust port (Star Wars fans unite!). I mean my drain site. It’s closed, it’s without infection, but sweet Jesus does it hurt. I get phantom pins elsewhere, but that spot feels like I’ve broken a rib.  Despite all that, I got a call from a friend of mine I haven’t seen in a year asking if I wanted to go with him to see some Grateful Dead tribute band. While that scene is not what I normally volunteer for, I value my friendship with him more than I would like to avoid discomfort. So I napped just after lunch, and drove an hour to see him.nap-time

We caught up for a little bit. He was cooking what smelled like a tasty oven meatball pizza. I knew I could avoid that temptation because I haven’t eaten pizza in almost a year. Or less…. Anyway, he offered up some herbal painkiller, I declined. He asked if I could do shots, I said no. We went back and forth like that for a while, until I had to explain in detail what I’d had done, and how things could not and would not be the same. He asked what I could eat, I told him at this point, fish or chicken would do fine, and I’d drink water. He wanted me to spend the night but I told him I didn’t want to be that far out of my routine. Fortunately that was not something I had to explain.

My friend and I went to a local pub, one we visited fairly often when I lived up that way. They were kind enough to just cook me up three ounces of baked haddock with no butter. The vegetables were of the squash variety, and that was certainly not happening. So I asked for a little mashed potato to round the meal out.  had two or three small bites of potato. It was very dry, and not very tasty. The fish was good, but I only had room for about half of it. It did not take me long to realize I’d eaten too much. I’ve only been cleared for ground food for a day at that point, and I’m trying to acclimatize.  I ran to the bathroom to throw up, and couldn’t. I went back to the table, apparently a little greener around the gills. I knew this wasn’t going away anytime soon, so I begged off from the show. My friend kindly paid the bill, and I brought him home, and headed for my house. never-eating-again

I made it a quarter-mile before I had to pull over and throw up. Hard. Like sprain my stomach hard. The liquid/solid was over quickly. The dry heaves continued. Once I realized I was done, I got back on the road feeling better. When I got home, I figured I’d better replace the protein, so I had a protein shake. Which made its glorious reappearing a short time later while I was FaceTiming. When I rejoined the call, I had to quickly end it so I could throw up again. Let’s just leave it at I did not reach my liquid goal nor did I reach my protein goal. I have not today either, because I’m a little tentative about putting anything in my stomach.

What did I learn? The “potatoes for Thanksgiving” issue is settled. I really need to be selective about going out. I need to make a plan and a schedule for my food like now. I need to accept the reality of naps in my schedule now. I need to develop habits now, kind of like striking while the iron is hot. no-more-food

I as asked again today if I regretted having the surgery. I still can’t answer that question. I’ve still not had an episode of acid reflux, and for that I am incredibly grateful. That was the primary reason for the surgery. I’m down to 247. One more and I’m down 20 since the day of surgery. I ran into a coworker today and we chatted for a minute. A little bit later I got a text from another coworker who said, “Chris said you look skinny.” I had to laugh. Those two words, “you (meaning me, of course)” and “skinny,” have not been used in the same sentence in 12 years, maybe more. It was nice. But do I regret having the surgery?

I still don’t know.

Until next time, peeps…



Ready to Stumble

I don’t regret having Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery eleven days ago, because my weight goes down incrementally on a daily basis and the acid reflux attacks have stopped. I do, however, feel like temptation is once again knocking at my door like Cousin Eddie at Christmas.  Yes, that’s right. “Shitter’s full.” Figuratively. Only figuratively.sitters-full

A few days ago, I started smelling buffalo chicken dip. Like everywhere. Last Sunday while watching a little football, a Papa John’s commercial came on introducing their new pan pizza with cheese all the way to the sides. I could feel the crunch in my mouth. I could smell the vegetables. Today, also while watching a little football, KFC ran a commercial touting their popcorn chicken. I could smell the chicken, taste the crunch and feel the chicken juice on my tongue. It’s an almost Water Mitty-ish moment. I’m not supposed to have hunger pains, and yet I can feel it almost pushing through. walter-mitty

Is the answer, “Stop watching football?” That’s not going to happen. Resist? I don’t have much of a choice. I suppose I could go to KFC and get a little popcorn chicken. Keep in mind though that it’s only been 11 days. I’m still on shakes, semi-solid snacks, and liquids. Ugh. The shakes. I so, SO sick to damn death of shakes. Chocolate in particular. I am desperate for a change. I had spent $62 on Opurity multivitamins and Unjury.com protein powder. I like the vitamins. The powder is far too sweet for me. I just don’t like it. So I’m back into the EAS Whey powder (chocolate, of course) I was drinking prior to surgery. I’ve been asked by the surgeon and the Nurse Practitioner at the program to add Miralax and Colace to the mix for help…down below. But when I taste it, I want to spit it all back out.puke

I want the smell of chicken or fish. The texture. THE TASTE. I want to prepare a meal. I’ve been looking at some bariatric cooking blogs I’ll share with you after I start making the recipes, to let you know how they are.  They sure do look good.

Nutritionist on Wednesday, where hopefully she will advance me to stage 4, ground protein foods. That will be nice for Thanksgiving. Stage 4 would last until a little before Christmas, and then I’ll be introducing regular foods back into my diet. Good regular foods, not pizza or fried chicken. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go scramble some egg whites.winning

Call Me Mr. Swiss (because I’m full of holes)

I had my surgery November 2. No “before” pictures, no videos to provide a male perspective on this surgery, just a great deal of wondering, “Would I recommend this process now that I’ve had surgery?deep-thought

I was continually asked, “Are you nervous?” I wasn’t until I was walking into the hospital Wednesday morning before 6AM.  I was wondering what would change when (ok, and if) I walked out in a few days. It was nothing more than the fear of the unknown. The day before had been clear liquids only, and that was a little tough. I did discover chicken broth was tasty, but also discovered that even the low-sodium version is still a lot of sodium. I thought a lot about never eating pizza or fried chicken again, but soon realized that my inability to handle the responsibility such food and my body demanded was part of the reason I was drinking clear liquids.

Looks like a food funeral to me…

I had a scare a week prior, when I went in for my last visit with the surgeon. It was a Friday afternoon, my sister was with me as my medical proxy (it turns out I’d divorced my other one four years prior), and I weighed in at 280.  Why is that a big deal? Because I was down to 265 and at one point went on a carbohydrates bender, which caused me to gain seven pounds in 3 weeks.  I still dispute the actual number on the surgeon’s scale, because I went home and my home scale, which I know to be a scant 4 pounds different frscaredom the scale at the clinic downstairs from the surgeon’s office, put me at 268. But my surgeon said she was flagging my chart, and if I gained even one more pound I would be over my goal weight and ineligible for surgery that day. That threw enough of a scare into me that I went totally low-cal, down to protein shakes and one meal a day, plus a minimum of 12,000 steps a day. It did the trick. I weighed in the morning of surgery at 266.

The intake nurse, Kellie, was nice. We went through what seemed like a million questions, an IV port inserted, and my temperature brought up to above 98.6 degrees. I spoke with the nurse anesthetist and a few other nurses, as well as the surgeon. I don’t really remember being wheeled into the operating room at all. I was told I’d be brought out of anesthesia in the recovery room, and when I was awake I’d be brought to my room on the surgical floor.  I don’t know about recovery, because when I woke up I was in my room on the third floor, and I was in some serious pain.  Not an uncomfortable amount of pain, but serious, PLEASE-GOD-LET-ME-DIE pain.  let-me-die

My daughter was there, her boyfriend showed up, my sister and brother-in-law were there (all of the I know because it’s what I’ve been told), I had a flower delivery I did not respond kindly to, and I was in tears, screaming for someone to help me. No one would. Apparently they had given me pain meds that were only supposed to be given every four hours, and they couldn’t give me another dose for some time. In the meantime, I felt like I had been ripped viciously apart and left to bleed. I wasn’t bleeding, but it felt like I was being ignored. While I was bleeding. swearing

I have nothing good to say about the initial wave of nurses assigned to me post-surgically. Should I not say anything? I will, because it will serve to highlight the care I received later, but the first batch was led by Nurse Ratched who would not allow the LNAs to help me do anything, groused at them and me, talked back, and couldn’t have been less helpful.  Someone eventually told her that if she wasn’t there to help me, she could leave and not come back, and she did just that. nurse-ratched

A sweet LNA named Krissy came in and started setting things right, and an RN named Laura did a fantastic job helping a very aggravated patient get squared away without losing her cool. She was calm, cool, collected and nothing but professional. The overnight nurse continued the trend and was so sweet. My daytime nurse was a guy, and I had a male LNA, Chris, as well, and it was great. I like people who speak my language, and these two did.  A bit of conversation, just being cool and getting things done, went a long, long way. I was fortunate enough to have Dustin, the RN, again on my final day. The night nurse on my last night there, Kelly, was fantastic. I was a little iffy on her at first because it seemed like she was not patient-focused, but I was wrong. She gave me her hospital direct dial so I could skip the nurse’s station, which was huge. I let slip at one point that I had never been ignored more anywhere I’d ever been. I’d call for pain meds, and despite the fact that the floor was not very busy at all, it would be a half hour before they’d call down again and ask how they could help because the call light had not been shut off. So I’d remind them, and it would be another 15 minutes to half hour. Again and again and again. Thank God I had a catheter. If I had to wait for them to come get me to take me to the bathroom, I’d have wet the bed and sat in it for an hour before anyone noticed. I was still on attended walks when I got tired of waiting, got up, unplugged everything, went to the bathroom (after the catheter had been removed), went for a walk, walked the entire floor by myself, marched right past the nurse’s station into a “Staff Only” kitchen, grabbed myself a popsicle and went back to my room, where I plugged myself back in and got back into bed. No one said a word. No one noticed. I took off the DVT leg wraps and shut the machine off because it was doing nothing but alarming out. Not a word again. That part really concerned me about my stay, but that’s different for every hospital, I’m sure. My grandmother raves about the same hospital, and what do I know from post-bariatric surgery protocol?

I’ve been home for two days. Friday night was difficult, but I slept upstairs, albeit sporadically. Yesterday I felt nauseous all day long. I was going to go to Target, Marshalls and Hobby Lobby with my daughter to get my walk in. I made it most of the way through Target before I had to go back to the car. I felt feverish, and nauseous at the combined smell of Starbucks and popcorn.  I had just had enough. I came home, took pain meds and slept most of the day.  Needless to say, I’m behind on my water intake, though I think I’m good on my protein. I’m waiting for my drain site to close so I can shower. I slept better last night. I didn’t feel like I was ripping open when I moved, I was able to move onto my right side for a few minutes to alleviate back pain, and I didn’t take any pain meds. It is still very hard to pick things up off the floor, but it’s getting easier. I’m passing more gas, which is good because my stomach is less swollen which takes pressure off the six sutures. (TMI?). I’ve felt feverish. I’ve been really cold. But would I recommend this surgery to anyone else?question-mark

Still too early to tell.

There is Joy in Giving

It’s likely that I’m the only one wondering where I’ve been.  It has been months since I’ve been here or even felt like I’ve had anything to say. Lots happening, that’s for sure.  Since this is a blog about gastric bypass, let’s stop there first.

I can’t say I’ve made much progress toward surgery. I’ve finished all the meetings except the final one with the surgeon to get my date, and the pre-op meeting with a staff member at the program.  I met with the surgeon two and a half weeks ago. The plan was to send my paperwork in the next day, which was a Friday, and we should hear back from United Healthcare within two weeks. We’d schedule a second appointment with the surgeon, get my date, and count the minutes. Except I got a call from the Nurse Case Manager to check in, and when I told her sh should have the paperwork, she said it could be in one of two places, and it was in neither. I called the surgeon’s office, and they told me it hadn’t;t been submitted because she hadn’t done her visit notes. I WAS THERE FOR TEN MINUTES WITH HER. How hard could it be? I was FURIOUS. I tried to plan this to avoid putting my coworker at a disadvantage, to avoid conflicts with vacation schedules, to be healed in time for my trip to Charlotte, North Carolina in January…and now I am a week behind and counting. I’m calling Wednesday to see if they’ve done their job yet.

So I am on hold. My eating has taken a turn for the worse. I need to figure it out and get on top of it. It could be the stress due to the mountain of medical bills that have come in. If I had any piece of advice, and I may have mentioned this before, try to get into the program at the beginning of your health insurance year, particularly if you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) at work to help you pay for this. It is not cheap. It sure as hell isn’t free.

I mentioned Charlotte. I have been looking for years for a more temperate climate. I have a bit of arthritis and a really bad back. Winters up here are really starting to bother me, and I’m only 47!  I began looking 5 or 6 years ago for a place that was, on average, between 75-80 year round. Hawaii was out. I just got stuck on the Carolinas. South Carolina gets walloped with hurricanes, so that was out, which left North Carolina. As it happens, I have a second cousin who lives in the greater Charlotte area who has been a huge help to me as I research towns to live in. I am working on putting myself in a position to transfer departments at my job, because we have an office in Charlotte.  I am looking into selling my house, or renting it if I can’t sell it. I’ve talked with my oldest daughter about going. She seems to be okay with it. I wish she’d come with me, frankly. She’s a cool kid, and I love hanging out and doing things with her. anyway, the winters in the Charlotte area don’t get below 40, the average snowfall is 2″ or so (which is just a dusting in New England – it’s the amount that falls off the trees when the wind blows). The cost of living is comparable or slightly cheaper. And it’s a whole different way of life.

I am recalling how the staff psychologist said we would be tempted to do some crazy things after surgery.  It would seem I’m trying to do them before. As I write this, I’m bundled up in a fleece jacket, wind pants, socks and in a little bit I’m sure I’ll need a hat. I do love fall, but you know what? The leaves change in North Carolina as well. My cousin is concerned all the changes might be too much for me. New city. New job. Post-Surgical. No immediate family. I have tried telling her I was in the Navy and at 18 lived halfway around the world for three years. I’ve had a bunch of jobs since I’ve gotten out of the Navy (almost 20 years ago!), so that change doesn’t bother me, and it’s with the same company anyway.  I’d be post-surgical in New England too. So all of it is negligible. Being away from my immediate family will take some getting used to, but I used to live in the midcoast Maine region, and that may as well have been on the moon.  I rarely saw my family. And I’m only a 2 1/2 hour plane ride away if I needed to come north. I will desperately miss hiking with my daughter. We’ve been a few times and hope to go more this fall. I’ve been out solo, but she makes it a lot of fun.  And even though it isn’t the same, there is Skype and FaceTime to fall back on. I didn’t have that when I was in the Navy, so I feel like I’m ahead of the game.

Speaking of those changes the doc warned us about, I ran into some stiff resistance regarding the surgery from a friend of mine. She had kept quiet for quite  while, perhaps hoping I’d change my mind, but as it went forward and it got to the end of the road, appointment-wise, she just got…almost offensive. She didn’t see why i needed it, I could do it myself, lots of people do it. I should take yoga because a woman lost 50 pounds. It was all the textbook stuff Dr. Wagner said we’d face. I let her know that for every one story she gave me about a person losing weight, she could find 9 of people who failed, and that she wasn’t;t being opened-minded or supportive. She insisted she was supporting me. It was not a pretty conversation, and I was PISSED. I ended the friendship a week later. That conversation would always be there, hanging out there like an echo though the mountains.  I was having the surgery, and that would always be there too. Things were going to change for me. I don’t think she could handle that. I think her problem had more to do with her than it did concern for me and my wellbeing. If anything went wrong and I had to be hospitalized as a result, she would be the first to say, “I told you so.” She called the surgery “self-inflicted.” I suppose it is, but I wasn’t complaining about it. Just ugliness. And it was all like the doc said it would be. I am surrounding myself with people who support me, regardless of what I do. They want to know what I need. Can they give me a ride? Would I like them to stop by the house in the mornings or afternoons after work for a quick visit? One person offered to cook me meals because I wouldn’t feel much like cooking. I felt bad telling her I could heat up broth all by myself. Her heart was definitely in the right place, and I was moved by her kindness. Those are the people to surround yourself with. I doesn’t;t matte hat you’re having done, they want to know if I need anything from them. And I recall reading that it is important to let people help. They often take it the wrong way if you don’t, and it’s a great way to see someone take joy in giving.

Lastly, I want to thank The folks that follow the blog, and to those I follow, particularly Michelle, who posts as rny4me. It is the best insight into post-surgical life I’ve read.  If you haven’t and you’re interested, check her out. She is as real as it gets.

Could it be?

Could it be that I have not posted in over a month, while both of you readers have been clamoring for more?  A thousand apologies!  To say it’s been busy would be an understatement.  Where to begin…

I had reached a plateau weight-wise.  My dietician told be to maybe add some calories, so I added more protein to the menu, and it seemed to jump start the weight loss. I’ll be honest, I’d love to be further down in numbers, but I keep self-sabotaging because I’m spending more time on the road.  I know, I know..I need to plan for that and make adjustments.  I do, and then I see those golden arches and I’m McScrewing myself.McSick

The nurse practitioner seems pleased with my progress.  She keeps asking me when my surgery is ballpark for, and I tell her September/October, because my insurance company seems to be fairly surly and unapproachable on this subject. I’ve registered in United Healthcare’s “center of excellence” program, and while Portsmouth Hospital is not one of their centers of excellence, it is in network, which is akin to not having Ebola, but a slight case of Zika instead.  In other words, to them, I suck but I don’t suck as much as the guy who is going to Bob’s Weight Loss Clinic of Duluth or something.

I have finished my behavioral health classes, which were great, and so now have the dietician and NP visits every month or so, labs, which I got done today, and a few other tests, then a short class a few weeks prior to the surgery, and I will attend the monthly pre-op support groups because I like them.  I kept saying if I lost all the weight I would;t get the surgery, but with the acid reflux, I feel like I have to.  That and separating my brain from my stomach are the two biggest draws.  Not to worry – I am not going to lose all the weight (see paragraph 2).  Think About It

I am going to buy a bicycle, a hybrid mountain bike.  Dick’s has a nice Diamondback I like for under $500.  If I can find the recommended model I read about in an online magazine, I may go to a bike shop to see of they have it or will order it.  A few more weeks and I’m on it.  Medically, my back has been giving me all kinds of trouble.  The lower back, on either side of the spine, out to the middle of either half of my back.  It’s almost debilitating.  I really need to see a chiropractor unless one of you has better advice (that is my plea to you to tell me what you think).  I got a FitBit a week or so ago, and it has already got me hooked.  We had a fire drill at work today, and my first thought was not, I wonder of this is actually a drill?”  No, it was, “Awesome!  I get to add some steps AND some stairs!!”  That is the right kind of thinking.  I unintentionally did 4 miles last weekend on my walk, and posted my best times per mile.  The times kept dropping with each successive mile.  I loved it.  I’m using the Map My Walk app, and I listen to Nikki Glazer’s Not Safe podcast, which is a riot, and lasts for just the amount of time I am supposed to be out.Dick's

That’s it of tonight, I think.  It’s late, my thoughts are scattered because I am writing a song and lyrics keep running through my head.  That’s my sign that it’s time to head upstairs, put the floor AC unit in and hit the hay.  Next time I will discuss the misnamed sleep study I took at the beginning of the month.


The (Relational) Space Between Us

Hey, it’s not as bad as it sounds.  We had our third week of what I have begun to call “Fat Class.”  Week three is reserved for prospective bariatric patients and the support people.  It was a full room, and good for those people who brought someone.  There we were, the 5 or 6 of us who brought no one, in the back row looking at each other knowingly.  We live alone, some by choice, some not, and I am confident we’ll figure something out when the time comes.  I’m sure I could get a member of my family or a co-worker to come and sit with me to make sure I’m okay.  I’ll sleep downstairs to be close to everything relevant.  But this night, I was flying solo.  Come to think of it, if I were a pilot, flying solo would be a badge of honor; it’s something one has to graduate into.  Go me.

flying solo
from robynhobson.com

It was a good class, which surprised me, because it wasn’t as much about food as it was relationships.  One of my favorite sayings regarding the fairer sex comes, of all places, from Popeye: “It’s been proven through history that wimmenz a myskery.” Dr. W. was discussing the relational system, and how it needs 3 things from all involved to keep going

  1. Flexibility
  2. Adaptability
  3. Accommodation

    Feminist popeye
    The mystery is what the hell happened to her forearms.

If one of these things is missing, the system starts to break down.  To put these things into a diagram, draw a box, and write “ME” in it.  Then draw a large circle to the right of that box.  To the right of that, draw another box and write “YOU” inside.  That circle represents the relational space.  This is where things get worked out.  I pour in my thoughts, needs, hopes, and wants.  You pour in yours.  And from that we get our compromise.  We say, “When you ____, I feel ______, and what I really need is _____.”  Keep in mind, this means that we have to tell people what we want, and we have to be direct.  Now, write all the wants and needs in the circle.  Remember the Tinker Toy exercise, where we draw spokes off the circle and figure out how to get these things in the circle?  We are NEVER, EVER stuck in a problem!voodoo doll

Picture instead a fight. Arguments and fights happen when we don’t use the relational space, and instead go around it.  Draw an arrow from your box around the top or bottom of the circle directly to your partner’s box.  Admittedly, I have worn a path of fire in the area around the outside of the relational space.  Which is why I was alone on support night, let’s be honest.  Anyway, that path leads to the pyramid of escalation.  On the base, level 1 is discussion and compromise.  Level 2 is “Attack, defend, counterattack, retreat.”  Level 3 is the level reserved for goading and button pushing (you know who you are).  Level 4 is verbal abuse – demeaning, name calling ugliness.

Careful, lady.  I’ll bite that finger clean off.

And the tip of the pyramid is physical abuse.  If something comes at us from levels 2 or 3, we must always respond from Level 1.  We could say, for example, “Could you help me understand what some of your concerns are?”  It gets to what is happening in their head, not addressing the escalation.  Nothing good ever comes from anything above level 1!

Before the class  started, I was talking to a guy in the back with me.  He mentioned that he’s been doing the exercise, eating the way he is supposed to, and he still feels like he’s gaining weight.  I feel exactly the same way!  I met with the dietician Friday, and she thinks I’ve hit a temporarily plateau in my weight loss.  She thinks because I’ve been trying to stick to 1200 calories a day that my body thinks it’s starving and is slowing things down.  So we’re going to add a few hundred calories a day and see if that changes things up.  I also need to change what I eat every day for lunch to keep my body guessing.  Not the first time I’ve heard that.  So tomorrow I will spend time looking for other lunch alternatives.  I was only up a pound over a two week period, but I still see that as going in the wrong direction.  I mean, I wound up here by overlooking one pound at a time.  It eventually became 100.  As the saying goes, a nickel here, a dime there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.  At least I think that’s the saying.

Gain weight

I was approved for the in-lab sleep study two Wednesdays from now, so I’m (not) looking forward to that.  I mean, I sleep naked, so between having to wear something to bed and being in a strange bed on a weeknight, I may not sleep at all. Thing is, the in-home sleep study isn’t as comprehensive, and apparently many people end up needing the in-lab study anyway.  So no sleep, and I might get to come away from it with a stinking C-PAP machine.  And I get to go to work the next day.  Awesome.

No Sleep
Thursday’s warning to my coworkers

The Neurologist and the 4 Components of Functional Eating

What do the two have to do with each other?  Absolutely nothing.  It just describes my day.  Or perhaps a secret 8th Harry Potter book.  You decide.

I went over this afternoon to see the neurologist for a consult.  It was supposed to be for sleep apnea, common for us non-wee folk.   But it also became a consult for my migraines.  I bought my very first house in July of 2015.  bout 3 weeks later, I fell down the second floor stairs, and hit every damn step on the way down.  I was buck naked and holding an empty laundry basket at 6:30 in the morning.  When I hit the bottom, I thought I had broken my hip.   I decided that if I could put weight on it, it wasn’t broken.  I limped around the kitchen – not broken.  I had to go to work, so I hopped in the shower.  A burning went up my arm – it turns out I had a second degree burn on my forearm from the carpet.  I got to work and my eyes started going in different directions.  I left work after a few hours, spent the rest of the day in the Emergency department, and have had migraines since, including one Thursday that brought for the first time nausea and vertigo.  That scared me a little.  That was not my first concussion.  Far from it.  I am not a pro football player, but I was a boy, and I am now a man, and I find myself sometimes in situations that result in concussions.  Don’t ask.  And if you haven’t seen the Will Smith movie Concussion, see it.  Great movie.  Not really about football at all.

Anyway, the neurologist gave me the choice of what to treat first.  I decided to treat the sleep apnea.  My reasoning was that I have to sleep every night, and I do not have migraines every day.  Also, there is a chance that by taking care of the sleep apnea, it may take care of the migraines.  The reverse is not true, and could also result in more kids for me, the side effects of which did not seem particularly pleasant.  So the medical group will submit to the insurance company for preauthorization, and we’ll see if I can do the in-lab test because it’s more comprehensive and I want this taken care of.  I rushed back to work for three meetings, then got back in the car and went back to Portsmouth, literally across the street from the neurologist’s office, for the behavioral psychology sessions required through the bariatric program.

Tonight we discussed the 4 components of functional eating patterns:

  1. Portion regulation – have a strategy
  2. Food selection – read the labels!
  3. Interval eating – eat by the clock, anywhere from every 2 to 5 hours. Meal, snack, meal, snack, etc.
  4. Compensation – if you overdo it on food and possibly stretch your pouch, then its time to increase your exercise, reduce your calorie intake, or both.

Good stuff.  Next week we’re supposed to bring at least one of the people in our post-surgical support them with us to class.  I will be attending alone.  I have support, but they will only be here if I call them.  I kind of prefer it that way.  Perhaps I’ll feel differently when the time comes.  My family are the type that are always offering to jump in and help.  I love that about them.  There are a few others, a few people at work, and a few people outside of work, but they have their own lives.

Do any of you have any thoughts about this?  I’d love to hear them.  By the way, dear reader, if you are considering bariatric surgery, I strongly urge you to subscribe to two blogs I absolutely love: rny4me just had gastric bypass surgery and chronicles it warts and all, and banded carolina girl offers a fresh perspective and encouragement.  I’ve drawn a lot of strength from those two, and I likely have not told them in any way, shape, or form, but thank you.  You are keeping me on the path.

Is my fall a fail?

It feels like it’s been a million years. Not that I haven’t had anything to say; I just haven’t had the time to say it.  I’ve read elsewhere school has been crazy for people.  It’s been crazy for me too.  Thing is, I’m in too deep to quit now.At the bottom looking up

Along the weight loss narrative, I’ve met with the staff psychologist, who is an ex-Air Force vet and I really like him.  It was a quick one hour session to sort of point me in the right direction behaviorally.  He says that in order for weight loss surgery to be effective for the patient, they MUST make changes in their behaviors surrounding food and coping. Sounds pretty simple, right?  It isn’t.

I met with the dietician, which I may have written about.  Hydrate, add protein shakes.  400 calories for meals, 200 calories for snacks.  Something every two hours.  She’s nice but I wouldn’t want to cross her.Angry Woman

I met with the physical therapist, who only needed me for one pre-op visit.  She said because I have physical issues, all I need to do is walk, not for distance, but for time.  45 minutes, 5 times a day.  That’s been really hard.  I’ve been fighting migraines for a week now, and yesterday it finally won.  It made me sick for the first time, gave me vertigo for the first time ever, and strangely, made me eat, probably because I was so stressed about it.  I was worried it might be a vitamin deficiency.  I even stayed home from work because I was still feeling the effects of it this morning.  The good news is the I meet with the neurologist next week and can discuss it further with him then.Migraine

I’ve gone to a pre-op support group. That was interesting.  I am really not used to saying this at all, but I felt like I was being judged for being the skinniest one in the room.  It’s all relative, of course, but man did I feel out of place.  It was great though.  There were panels, questions from the audience, the psychologist was there, the dietician, and several former surgical patients to talk about their experiences.  It’s nice to know that we will get through this.

I also went to the first of 5 behavioral classes put on by the psychologist.  That too was good.  It wasn’t an hour and a half where they just read the book to you.  It was practical, it was useful, it was interactive, and I got lots of good information.I learned that y responsibility throughout this process is to keep on track regardless of what is going on around me.  I need to control my own environment.  I need to have confidence I can keep the weight off.  Dr. W talked about flight sim training for pilots, and how when they go inside, the people running the sim ill throw one thing in to knock them off kilter, then another, then another.  They make failure a virtual guarantee.  Why?  Because (and here is the take-away) smooth sailing is not your friend.  We need to learn how to course correct on our own.  Having everything go right is not the way to get that done.  We need to face the challenges in order to overcome them.  Finally, we cannot view our FALLS as FAILS.  We just need to chalk it up to experience and move on, like when Tom Brady throws a rare interception (not a word from you haters out there).  He knows he will get another chance to get back out on the field and turn the INT into a TD.  That’s all we’re looking for throughout this surgery process: a win.Brady TD

Lastly, I met with the nurse practitioner today, who is on her way to Hawaii right about now.  That was sort of ho-hum, even though I like her. I got to meet her dog too, which was great.  A 5 year old yellow lab who loves to be played with and pet.  I talked to her about the migraines.  She talked to me about staying hydrated.  It was straightforward, but she did say I am in a really good place.  I weighed in at 275, but I don;t need a lot of the attention most of the others need, medically speaking.  She said she wishes I could get the surgery now.  I told her I really needed the behavioral piece of this because there are parts I am not telling her or anyone.  Like how much I ate out last week and the week before.  How I cut out of there and went to McDonald’s after my visit.  Why?  No idea.  I wasn’t even really hungry.  I guess I just wanted the salty taste of the fries and the mixture of the hamburger and the cheese swirling around my tongue.  It makes me so scared that I am not going to be able to modify my behavior enough to have this surgery be successful.  Apparently not scared enough to stop, though.  McDs Weight


Restaurant Eating is Going to be the Death of Me

I just balanced my checkbook and realized how much I ate out over the last three weeks. So rather than blog about my journey here (I really dislike the word and its overuse), I apparently went out eating.  So, sorry.  Like you were hanging on every word…

I have an appointment with the dietician tomorrow.  The conventional wisdom is that my caloric budget is going to be raised. I wonder if I’ll have the guts to tell her I’ve beat her to it and done it myself.  Friday I have an appointment with the program psychologist.  I’m looking forward to both visits.  It will be interesting to see what the next stages bring.

I got a very nice compliment from a co-worker today.  I walked in to my office, and my co-worker, who usually starts in with things to do before I even get my coat off (note to reader: NOT the way I like to start my day), says, “Hey, I don’t want you to get a big head or anything…” I was wondering where this was going.  She continued: “…but you really look like you’re losing weight. I can see it in your face, and your head is getting smaller.  You had a big ol’ fat head.”  Just take a moment and bask in the glow of that statement.

I have lost weight. My head is getting smaller.  I can feel my waistline shrinking.  My unused belt loops are seeing some action, which is fun for them.  I really need to be careful about doing so much eating out.  Not sure if I told you all, but I bought a diabetic cookbook at Barnes & Noble.  I’ve made two dishes from it and LOVE them!  Last night (and tonight) I had Chicken and Spinach Avocado Lime Salad.  Homemade dressing that is FANTASTIC…I can’t wait to have more for lunch.  Red, orange and yellow mini peppers, thinly sliced red onion, tomato…it is SO good.  Perhaps I’ll post that recipe, giving full credit to the publishers of course.

Time for bed.  I have an interview tomorrow for a promotion.  Not sure how good my prospects are, but I am cautiously hopeful.  If I don’t get it, I am not going to let disappointment drive me to the buffet table. I am gainfully employed, I have a great family, people who love me, and it’s time to make changes.  Those changes have to last for the rest of my life, regardless of what life throws at me.

Bring it on.