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…



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 Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

There are a million little things going on around me.  I’m nearing 50. Donald Trump could possibly become president.  My iPad is next to me open to Tumblr and my phone is on the other side as I maintain a text conversation with a co-worker.  I’m debating texting my ex-girlfriend soon to be current girlfriend while she’s on vacation in Florida (she really needs the time away – her job is really high stress, as is the rest of her life).  I applied for a different job in the same department today.

My mind today

That is not what is getting to me.  Yesterday, I posted from an AAU-type sporting event as I was sitting on some bleachers that were killing my back.  I talked about needing to have a meal plan for every meal of every day, and sticking to the plan.  So last night as I watched Jurassic World (again), I carefully put my menu together.  I googled 1200 calorie and all kinds of things came up.  I ended up on Pinterest after a time, which was also surprisingly helpful.  My menu and my shopping list were ready, in my hardcover notebook.  I made sure to put it in my backpack so I’d take it to work and not forget it.  Afterwork, I did my shopping.  It’s surprising how expensive “fresh” can be.  I didn’t even cover the bottom of the grocery cart and it was over $100. But whatever.  I need to eat healthy because I am unhealthy and trying to make a change. Grocery-Cart-with-Planning-Notebook

I went back out into the cold, loaded my grocers in the car and put my cart away.  I was watching a striking woman and her probably 8-year-old daughter make their way to their own car.  I am always curious about what people drive for some reason.  Like maybe I judge them the same way I judge them by what’s in their grocery cart.  Come on, I know you do it too.  PostSecret brought that into my consciousness.  Thank you Frank Warren.  Anyway, I put the cart away, thinking about getting home and making a banana smoothie, which was on the menu because I figured it would be late.  I got home, and as I was getting out to bring the groceries into the house, I realized I’d left my notebook, the one with the menu inside, in the grocery cart.  At least I hoped so.im-with-stupid-arrow-up-t-shirt

I got so upset that rather than make a smoothie, I popped a couple breaded chicken patties in the oven after I got done cutting my strawberries and green onion (not meant for the same meal). When they were done cooking, I brought out 2 potato rolls, cheese slices and chipotle mayo.  And they were goooooood. I just could not take the edge off my hunger today.  I tried water, I tried cottage cheese. Nothing was working. I felt like the Nutty Professor at the Acupuncturist. Still hungry?  UmHmm.    Still Hungry?

200 calories a pop for the patties alone.  But there’s always tomorrow.  I am getting discouraged, but I know it’s temporary. I bought a fitness ball at Dicks and I will do crunches in the morning and pushups at night.  I take the stairs instead of the elevator, and park farther away.  Once it warms up I’ll go outside to walk at lunch. This too shall pass.  I just need to stay focused.

I’ll end on a happy note.  I called the store, and one of the cart wranglers turned it in, so I will go grab it before work tomorrow.  Also, I made myself a menu spreadsheet so that it’s there and not in a notebook that can get left at the store.  Sometimes I need to stupid proof myself.


From Cracks to Chasms

I am a creature of habit. Unfortunately, I am a creature of bad habits. That being said, you’d think I was writing about some epic fail I had yesterday. I am not. I got on the scale in the morning yesterday, and I was down to 276.6 pounds! I should mention it was very early, I didn’t have my glasses on, and could have been standing on my toolbox. 

Here’s where the bad habits factor in. I ate poorly several times last week. I went out to eat more than I should have, ate things that got me here in the first place, and yet still lost weight. Are you seeing where I’m going with this? My mind says, “You can cheat and still lose weight! This is great – let’s hit the buffet!” You see, I’m like an alcoholic, but with food. I can’t cheat, because the cracks in that foundation quickly turn into chasms. Today I have to take the time to carefully put a two week menu together and stick to it. There is no point in planning if I’m not going to follow the plan. 

Happy Sunday everyone!