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25 years ago today….

I woke up sober and have done so every day since…

So yesterday was a mile stone of sorts…yes, it was 12-12-12, better known as sound check day….get it? Check 1-2-1-2-1-2. Yesterday also happened to be the 25th anniversary of my sobriety. Coincidentally it was also the 25th anniversary of the last time I wore handcuffs….well at least wearing handcuffs against my will. And today I celebrate the fact that I have woken up sober every day for the past 25 years.

25 yearsIf you want to do some quick math I am 48 years old which means I gave up drinking when I was 23 years old. When I quit drinking I was really in the prime of my “party” years, and while my drinking career was short, I will say it was pretty illustrious. I joke with people and tell them that from the time I was 20 until I quit drinking that I never fell asleep or woke up, I just passed out and came to.

My time spent in the bottle was an interesting time and has left me with many memories, some very good and some very not so good. There are also quite a few lost memories as well, I know these will be something I will never get back, but they sometimes surface by way of a stories that old friends will recant back to me. This doesn’t happen too much, as I have lost touch with most of that group, and rarely see these people.

Thankfully I never had to hit bottom before I figured out that my addiction to alcohol was going to be a serious health detriment and would take me to an early grave. For the most part when the decision was made it was easy for me to throw the switch and stop drinking. I did work a 12 step program for a year or so and I did do a 30 day stint of out-patient rehab, all of which helped me to understand my addiction in greater detail and give me the understanding that I am not wired to ever be a social drinker and be able to drink in moderation.

Today I am a different person than I was then, and there is no one in my current circle of daily friends, acquaintances and co-workers (wife included in this) that knew me when I did drink. So for many when I posted a status yesterday on Facebook that it was my 25th anniversary I am sure it was a surprise for most to know that I am a recovering alcoholic. This is a badge that I am not ashamed to wear and have worn it with pride most of my adult and sober life. I am, and always will be, an alcoholic, I am a recovering alcoholic, and I continue to beat the addiction a day at a time. Albeit most days I don’t even think about it and the temptation to drink alcohol has long gone away, but I am still ever vigilant that it could only take one drink for me to slip back to a place that I don’t ever want to revisit.

In many ways my alcohol addiction parallels what I face today. Though in this circumstance I feel that I did experience rock bottom with my weight. Just as I knew 25 years ago that if I continued on the path I was on, the alcohol would probably kill me sooner than rather later. Today I find that I am on the same path just in a different vehicle that is speeding me to an early grave appointment, and if I don’t stop my current situation and make some serious lifestyle changes soon, I will surely die sooner than I want. So for me my decision for WLS is a lot like the decision I made 25 years ago to stop drinking. I am making a decision to live a better and healthier life than what I am today. The difference is today I am married and have children and this decision isn’t just for me, but it is for their sake as well.

So here is to another 25 years of sobriety…I hope that with the changes I make I am around to see my 50th anniversary.

Twilight…not the vampires

Well the process keeps moving in a positive direction. Yesterday I had the joy of going in for an upper endoscopy with Dr. Dan. Again, I will preface this by saying that once again I had another positive experience with people at Summa – Akron City Hospital in general, from the free valet parking for the procedure to the nurses in the Endoscopy unit, everyone was great to work with. The procedure itself was pretty non-eventful and there is not much to remember. The procedure was performed while I was under the influence of a “twilight” sedative and I remember very little. I woke up in the recovery area with pretty much no recollection, though I do vaguely remember the sensation of something being in my throat, but I wouldn’t classify it as painful, only a mild discomfort. All in all the worst part of the whole thing is that they numb the throat first with some spray while you are still awake. The spray tastes somewhere between dirty socks and dog doo. Why they couldn’t have sprayed that in my throat after they gave me the night-night juice I will never know. Note to self, ask the doc that question the next time I see him.

So I can tick another pre-req off the list. Now on to my appointment with the nutritionist tomorrow.

One lump or two…Part Deux

Okay….so now I know what it is like to get a mammogram. Ladies the secret is out, the next time I hear a woman complain about how painful or uncomfortable it is to get one it will take me about a millisecond to do a cannonball jump into that conversation! And when they ask me “how do you know what it is like?” I can pull out my “I Got a Mammogram Once” membership card and wave in their face.

Seriously, it is a pretty unsettling feeling sitting in the waiting room with a half dozen other women waiting to get called back. I didn’t sleep all that well the last few nights, and this morning when I got up I felt around one last time to see if by some great miracle the lump had gone away. No such luck, it was still there, and I was going to have to keep my appointment this morning. While I haven’t been completely unnerved about the lump, I was still fairly concerned. From my symptoms and the research I did online I didn’t think it would be cancer, but stranger things…right?

When the nurse came and called me to go back with her, I envisioned that I was being led to some sort of medieval torture chamber. I have heard plenty of stories over the years about this mythical machine that mashes women’s mammary glands to abnormally thin proportions while it takes ages for the image to be taken. The machine as a whole did not look too imposing and after the nurse put some funny looking stickers on my nipples she took the first image. After the first image I inquired that was it? I wanted to know when the real squeezing was to begin? When would I have to bite down on my belt so I wouldn’t cry out? Was she just warming up, when was she going to bring the real pain? The reality, she brought me some mild discomfort. So now in the immortal words of Paul Harvey, I know the rest of the story.

As a whole the mammography process was fairly straight forward and within 10 minutes of having my man boobs squished a little and imaged from multiple angles I was diagnosed with having gyencomastia. I was given an information sheet that explained what it is and the causes. I discovered that it can be caused by a variety of factors, including the medications I am on, hormonal changes as I grow old or there are some more serious things that will cause it, most of which are most likely not applicable to me. So all in all, much ado about nothing, I just need to follow-up with my GP and see if there are some meds that may be causing this issue.

So the answer to the quest was, one lump…and it seemed that it was made from artificial sweetener.

Not looking to buy any more crazy…I am all stocked up!

Well I just finished my first of two required visits with the Psychologist at the Bariatric office. For the time being it looks like I have her green light and only need to complete the next meeting. The meeting itself was good, Dr. Perkins was very nice and it was a good conversation. Mainly the questions were about if I knew what I was getting myself into and how I was planning on dealing with it. There were the obligatory family history questions, past history with any forms of therapy, and if I had any drug or alcohol dependencies. I was a little disappointed that she didn’t ask how many times I flew across the Atlantic last year! Basically my childhood is pretty bland, parents were married, lived in the burbs, no one diddled me as a kid, and I don’t think my dad ever took a belt to me, though I was grounded many, many times. The discussion got interesting when we talked about the 80′s and my use of alcohol and other mood enhancing substances during those years. I don’t think she was expecting me to be as blunt and honest as I was. Truth be told I had a lot of fun in the 80′s, I mean it was a great time to be in your early 20′s, what do you expect it was the era of pre-AIDs and mid-Coke. There was plenty of fun to be had by all! All in all this meeting was good, painless, and somewhat uneventful. Next up my Endoscopy next Monday and my meeting with the nutritionist later in the week.