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Are you sure you want to do this?

Last day of Optifast – Surgery in 2 days

Somewhere I think I fucked up the timing of days in my earlier posts.  Anyway, to set the record straight, 48 hours from now, at least by the time this is posted, I will be under general anesthesia and have probably 4 or 5 people standing around me talking about what basketball teams are still left in their bracket.  (If you are in the Ukraine and don’t know about March Madness…sorry I got nothing for you here…Google it)… Oh and at the same time said people will be perfoming a surgical procedure that will forever change my life.

Getting my head in the right place and keeping it there has been difficult at times during this process.  I have had many distractions along the way, and my spouse is still continually giving me the vibe that she really does not want me to do this.  Two days ago a friend of ours was over and they were wishing me good luck and asking about the procedure.  The entire time I could see a look on my wife’s face that looked like she just wanted to blurt out that I am making a mistake and she doesn’t want me to do this.  It was really not hard to mistake that look, if we were playing poker I would have folded in a heartbeat.  Then last night we found ourselves alone in the house and having a conversation, mainly we were talking about our most popular topic the kids.  I know eventually the conversation would turn towards my impending surgery and eventually my wife asked me if I was ready for Thursday.  I told her what I have told everyone these past few weeks.  Sure I am ready, but am I scared, anxious, excited, nervous?…yes…in fact hell to the yes! I am all of the above and then some.  Then she said 8 words to me that pretty much confirmed that she really isn’t 100% behind me.  She asked “are you sure you want to do this?”…it was not hard to see she wanted to talk about this, and honey if you are reading this I am sorry….but at that time I just couldn’t go into a long conversation or debate over the reasons of why I am doing this.  I really just wanted to avoid that conversation last night…right or wrong, for me I simply answered “yes, I am sure” and left it at that.  And that folks pretty much will kill a conversation if you let it…and I did.

This surgery is something I have been preparing to do for the past 6 months, and the original thought of going through this was probably close to a year ago.  The road has been long, and certainly not easy, I have been examined, poked, prodded, are-you-sureinvaded and I have whipped my debit card out to pay $40 co-pays more times than I want to know.  I have worked hard to get and keep my head in the right place, I know the risks during surgery and post surgery, I know there is still a long road after this and this will not be an easy process to get to where I want to be.  I know that this will not be easy on my family, I know this will effect me in ways I don’t totally comprehend yet.  I know all of these things because I have read and done my research and listened to others that have gone before me.  If you are reading this and contemplating surgery, do your research!  Because it doesn’t matter how much you know about it, you will quickly realize there is much you still don’t know.  This is something I have not gone into without considerable thought.

So to answer the earlier question again….Yes, I am ready…I am ready to change my life for the better and to live a healthier and happier lifestyle, whatever that ultimately looks like.

Girl Scouts and Russian Brides….

Day 26 Optifast and T minus 4 days until surgery.

Well I successfully navigated my last weekend on Optifast.  Overall it has been a looooong 26 days with a lot of ups and downs along the way.  There were many temptatrions along the way and the capper was Saturday when the doorbell rang and I need to pay for my wife’s Girl Scout cookie order.  I came close to just giving them the money and telling them to keep their damn cookines, but my son was at the door with me and he grabbed the order and disappeared before I could get the money out of my pocket.  The family did their part and has kept them out of my sight and have not put them in the pantry next to my yummy Optifast shakes.  I still haven’t quite come to grips yet that I may never have a thin mint again, let alone a full sleeve of them and a tall glass of milk to go with it! For my Ukrainan brethern that have not had the opportunity to taste a Thin Mint or a Tag Along…you don’t know what your missing.  And for the record I did Google  Girl Scouts in the Ukraine and the first Google sponsored ad was for www.RussianBride.com….go figure.

I can’t wait to get back to a  I just want to get to the point where I can have something “normal”  For whatever the reason I have been craving a giant sea scallop seared in olive oil and lightly dusted with a little seasoning…Which is something that I believe I will be able to eat after I am able to have “real” food again.  But why this is the thing I am craving most is beyond me,  probably much better that I crave this than a sleeve of Thin Mints.

So tomorrow is my last day on Optifast (Yoo-fucking-hoo)  and Wednesday I start on an all clear diet with nothing to eat or drink after midnight.  Need to be at the hospital by 6:00am on Thursday, surgery at 8:00am, out of the anesthesia by 11:00am and asking for my first sponge bath by noon.  Okay…scratch that.  More like asking for more pain meds at noon, I probably won’t be up for that sponge bath until at least later that afternoon.

Well folks that is all I have for now. I have a lot swirling around in my head and trying to find the time to get it all out prior to surgery will be difficult. I am hoping that while I am off I can address a few things that I have been wanting to write about and spend sometime writing more lengthy posts.  So if I don’t post anything again before Thursday don’t be too alarmed…and if I don’t post anything within a few days after Thursday, well then you have every right to be alarmed.

 

What is a Non-Scale Scale Victory?

Day 23 Optifast – 7 Days to Surgery

Well I am at exactly one week to go until my surgery and as of this morning at 10AM I am cleared for take-off. I went to my final weigh in and I am happy to report that I have lost another 6lbs for a total of 30lbs down since starting Optifast 23 days ago!  Amazingly enough I climbed two consecutive flights of stairs last night in the parking deck at work, and I was able to do it without stopping!  Sure I was a little winded at the top, but just a month ago the elvators were broke, and when I HAD to walk up the stairs I had to stop once to catch my breath.  And when I got to the floor I was on it felt like my heart was going to jump out of my chest.

It is amazing the NSV changes that I have had in losing just 30lbs.  Another NSV victory sort of is that I stood on the scale last night and it actually registered a weight and not ERR.  So that is what is considered in my book a Non-Scale Scale Victory or a NSSV.  There have been other NSV’s such as the movement of belt loops, my work clothes are certainly much baggier and don’t fit well.  Not that they fit great when I was 30 lbs heavier.  I also notice it is easier to do just the little things like put on my socks in the morning.  For those skinny people reading…while these seem like minutuae details, to someone that is morbidly obese these are things that are contended with on a daily basis.  Nobody I am sure is proud of things like this, I know I am certainly not, but it is the reality none the less.

So my final testing really wasn’t much of a test, it was a sit down with an RN and a nurse from the anestigiologist department to go over my medical history, what drugs I am on, and any potential problems they should no about.  One last thing they told me was if you start to get flu or cold symptoms to call the doctor.  I swear if somebody gets me sick between now and my surgery I will seriously injure them!

 

Tuesday’s aren’t a good day for cows around here…

Optifast Day 21 of 30 – 9 days until surgery

Sorry loyal readers, it has been a few days since I have “blogged” something. Have you ever started something with great intentions then it becomes an albatross around your neck and you have a hard time keeping up with it? Well if you have never had that feeling, then you should start a blog! Sometimes tough to write for 6 people and 1,000 Ukrainians, but I am dedicated to this and I will power on spreading my wit and wisdom to the masses. If I can provide just one chuckle in one Ukrainians day, then I can go to bed content that I have done well in the world.

So a lot has happened since my last post and at the same time not much has happened either. I am 3 weeks into the Optifast diet and still going strong. I am seeing a lot of NSV’s on a daily basis and I think I am just a whisker away from actually being able to use my own scale to track my progress.  Huzzah! Speaking of tracking progress I am currently testing out a new Fitbit that I bought with my own hard earned moo-la.   I will be doing a post specifically on this new technological marvel in the very near future.  If you are so inclined to buy one yourself before reading my upcoming awesome post then please feel free to click on the Amazon link to the right of this post and then search for Fitbit.  And you too can have it delivered to your doorstep in less than 48 hours and you will be helping out by supporting the site and chipping in for bandwidth costs.

Chick-fil-A-Cow-lgSo this morning was my HIDA scan  that took place at the 7:00AM this morning.  Again, this isn’t a painful test, but it is uncomfortable laying flat on your back in a stationary position for almost 2 hours on what can be described as a half step up from a bed of nails.  Also, I got the benefit of being shot up with a nuclear tracing dye, which mean that for the next 72 hours if I were to try to go through an airport I am going to set off some alarms.  So I guess it probably wouldn’t be a great idea to visit the White House either.  When I got back to work this morning I did turn the light off in the bathroom just to see if my pee glowed in the dark .  I found out two things….One, it didn’t glow in the dark and two, the guy in the stall next to me wasn’t particularly amused with my experiment.

So many of you are all probably wondering why Tuesday’s aren’t a particularly good day for cows? Well to go along with my scan today I had an overly talkative nurse that decided it was her job to keep me company during the entire time I was in a my uncomfortable supine position.  Obviously she had a captured audience, so she went ahead and used that to her advantage, and decided to play the part of chatty Cathy and regaled me with stories from her past and present.  One of which she found to be particularly amusing about the time she went to a meat market and asked the check out woman that day where are all the cows at that are normally in the adjacent field.  To which the checkout person replied…”Oh, Tuesdays aren’t a good day for cows around here.”  Which yes, I found a little bit amusing the first time, however by the fifth time I felt like she was a spokesperson for Chick-fil-a.

So folks..the countdown is in single digits and I am starting to get anxious.  Check back soon for my full review of my new little Fitbit.

 

 

 

And the hits just keep on coming…

Day 15 Optifast – 14 days until surgery

Well this journey that started out a year ago just doesn’t seem to get any shorter.  Just got a call from the Jeff the “scheduler” at bariatric office.  Apparently after my meeting with the surgeon yesterday they decided to order a HIDA scan (which stands for hepatobiliary iminodiacetic acid scan…yeah say that 3 times fast) for my gall bladder prior to my surgery.  So next Tuesday I get to visit Barberton hospital at the crack of dawn…literally the crack of dawn and instead of starting off with a cup o’ joe I will get a shot of nuclear tracer dye followed by a chaser of some some other drug concoction that makes your gall bladder go into hyper drive and act like it is trying to do the Kessel run in under 12 parsec’s.  And the entire time this is taking place you are laying flat on a table and trying to stay as still as possible while the gamma ray camera is taking pictures every minute or so.

I went through one of these 3 years ago and on a scale of zero to this F’ing sucks…it is somewhere around a mild to above normal pain in the ass.  It isn’t overly painful, but it can become damn uncomfortable and I detest getting shot up with any fluid that has the word nuclear associated to it.  It gives me the feeling I am in a Matt Groening cartoon and I work at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant.

So for now the hits just keep on coming

Just got thrown a curve ball…

I should have known that today was going to be just one of those days when first thing I found myself running late for work.  From that point on the day just has started to spiral downward culminating this morning with my final visit with my surgeon Dr. Adrian Dan.

To start with, the waiting room was jammed this morning and it was practically standing room only.  Which when you are standing in a bariatrics office lobby….let me clarify this point…a small bariatrics office lobby…and it is at its capacity of morbidly obese people…I am strying to stay out of the way of walkers, scooters and oxygen tanks.  I was also reminded that however I currently feel, I am doing better than a lot of other people. Side note…best line of the morning I overheard…A person coming out from his meeting with the doctor.  Boasted he is down a 110lbs (big kudos to him!)…then asked if it was windy out, because he was afraid he would blow away.  Bahahahahahahaha!

So when I am finally called back (45 minutes past my scheduled time) I am ready to talk to the doc and get back to my day, I jumped on the scale first…good news there…down another 2lbs for a total of 24lbs lost in two weeks!  Then to an examination room to wait to see the surgeon.  After about 5 minutes a doctor comes in…not my surgeon, but the surgeon that is doing a fellowship with the bariatric center.  Okay…no problem…he goes through everything and answers most of my questions and I am still feeling okay….agitated and getting hungry I wait for Dr. Dan to make his arrival….20 minutes later….the doctor makes his appearance and announces that he is sorry for the wait, at this point I have been in the office for over 90 minutes (in Ukrainian time that is about a yoctosecond of radiation half life if you were near Chernobyl when they had their “little” accident.)  So Dr. Dan is a busy guy…I get it and he is just direct and to the point.  Though his direct and to the point news that he gave me took a lot of air out of my sails.

Side note….All through this process I have known that there may be a chance that when I wake up I may or may not have had the bypass surgery, but they will have performed a sleeve gastrectomy.  The kicker is that if they do the sleeve, they still want me to go through the bypass 12 – 18 months from now (again, in radiation half life…a drop of borscht in the borscht bucket of life.)

When Dr. Dan came into the room he was pretty blunt and straight to the point…he let me know that given my BMI, my height and how I carry my weight that the chance that he will perform the sleeve gastrectomy is near certain.  And will only do the Roux-en-y (ggastric bypass) if all of the stars are aligned perfectly and he feels that it is 100% absolutely safe to do the bypass.  Which would mean that he wants me back for the other procedure next year….fuck…fuck…and double fuck…this was not the news I wanted to hear today.  Not in the least or the slightest was this the words I wanted to her him speak to me.  Through the process I always felt it was 90/10 that it would be the Roux-en-y…now it looks like those odds swung to 1/99….let me repeat…fuck…fuck…and double fuck!

I new this was the possibility…but now it seems like a certainty that it will be that way.  So needless to say this was a curve ball I new I could possibly see, but when it came I was caught looking looking for a different pitch.

 

Where you won’t find happiness….

Day 14 Optifast

This is the week where things are all coming to a head and to coin the phrase…shit is about to get real.  Yesterday I attended a mandatory 4 hour lecture on what to expect pre-op and post-op.  My wife did attend this with me and I think that she walked away from that meeting scared to death.  Through out the entire process I have done my homework and there were few surprises for me in meeting.  Most of the information that was disseminated yesterday I have read or heard before.  Though the fact that once the surgery is done they do not ever want me to chew gum again was a new one for me….I know crazy right? But it is a safety issue, because if you were to accidentally swallow the gum there is a chance that it won’t pass through the system and it has to be surgically removed.  So I guess Dentyne will just have to do without my future business.  I will admit, while I knew most these things, when it is laid out in front of you, and you know that your surgery date is less than 3 weeks away.  I will try to put this as succinctly as possible.  It certainly tightened my sphincter muscles yesterday hearing it all spelled out like it was.

Unfortunately, much, if not all of what my wife heard yesterday was new to her, from what actually takes place during the operation to the staged recovery process.  This was a little disappointing, as I had sent her some video links early on in the process for her to watch, but by her own admission she said that she never watched them.  Nor had she researched anything on her own during the last 6 months.  So here is something for those that maybe going through this process in the future and you happen to stumble upon this.  COMMUNICATION is important with your wife, significant other, life partner or whatever the case maybe.  This is a fucking scary process, and if you don’t have a support system in place and someone you can talk to, it becomes exponentially more daunting.  I am probably just as much to blame in this as her.  I have spoken to others that are in the process of WLS or have already gone through it, but I have neglected probably the person I should have been trying to speak to the most.  Is it my fault?…her fault?  At this point it really doesn’t matter I am moving on with this and in a little over two weeks we will be dealing with post-op recovery.

One interesting question my wife asked me, or at least a concern she has.  She wondered if I would be happy after this is over, having to be so restrictive on certain things and always having to deal with the after effects, eating certain ways, needing to stay hydrated differently (can only drink a few ounces of fluid at a time, so it is important to regularly sip on something.) The only thing I can say is that I am not happy now…nor if I stayed the same course happiness will not be appearing on my horizon anytime soon.  What I don’t know, I don’t know…no one can gauge if this will make them happy or be a burden they loathe.  Am I trading one burden for another?  I won’t know that until I am living it daily.  What I do know, daisiesis that if I don’t do something to make a significant lifestyle change, it really doesn’t matter because from what I understand, you won’t find a lot of happiness looking at the ass side of a daisy.  And that is what my view would most likely be sooner rather than later if I don’t do this.

So tomorrow I have my last meeting with the surgeon before my actual surgery.  I have a list of questions to ask him, and my wife will be there for this meeting as well.  After this meeting I have a mandatory exercise class on Friday and final weigh in and pre-op testing next Thursday.

Oh..one final thing.  My first official Optifast weigh-in was yesterday as well. I have dropped a total of 22lbs in less than 14 days. It may sound like a lot and to a normal person that is, though when you are tipping the scale near the baby hippo range, 22lbs is a baby step in the right direction.  But it is the right direction and as my nutritionist told me when I weighed in two weeks ago.  That number will only go lower from here on out….and he is correct.  If anything the loss has made me just feel better overall.  I can’t wait to see how I feel after I lose 220lbs.

Nothing witty to say…

Day 12

So far so good for the most part. Yesterday was an extremely difficult day and for the first time I felt hunger pangs. I slipped a little last night and had a hand full of almonds, peanuts and raisins. Again, skipped my last Optifast supplement in lieu of my transgression.

So I haven’t blogged in a few days and there is much rattling around and in my brain that I am going to try and spew out here.

The first thing I have to say is that I went to the Bariatric office on Friday to pick up my next 10 days of “groceries.” While I was there I figured I would try to sneak on to the scale and get an idea of how much I lost. I know I have lost some weight as the NSV’s were prevalent. But none the less I really wanted to get an understanding of how my efforts were translating to pounds lost.

So while I was paying for my food I asked the front desk receptionist (who for the record is very nice and always helpful) if I could just sneak on to the scale and see what I weigh. She said “sure no problem, just give me a second.” She was dealing with another patient picking up his groceries as well so I hung out for a few minutes. I was a little bit in a hurry and it seemed to be taking a while, but I am patient. So after about 5 minutes a nurse comes to the door and calls my name. I didn’t recognize her and have never dealt with her before and immediately I got the you are bothering me attitude. The first thing she said in her best nurse ratchet voice was “next time please call ahead if you want to do a weight check.” In my nice voice I tried to tell her that I just wanted to slide in and get a weight check. It didn’t need to be documented, I just wanted to see my progress before the weekend. Which then I got the lecture that everything had to be documented. So long story short in my not so nice voice I thanked her for accommodating me and I got on the scale. Now here is the good part…for the first 9 full days of the diet I lost a total of 18lbs. I was ecstatic about that drop. I knew give the NSV’s that it would be significant, but that number was above my expectations. So we will see how the weight looks tomorrow for my first official weigh in.

There is more to tell, but I blogging this from my phone and my thumbs and thoughts aren’t aligning at the moment.

So for now to be continued….

Sent from my iPhone

I cheated…well sort of…

Day 8

Well I finished my first full week on Optifast with a cheat last night…well it was sort of a cheat.  What was it that finally “did me in” you ask?  Was it pizza that I have been in the presence of multiple times since I started?  Was it junk food? Chips? Crackers and cheese? Was it a last grasp at something decadent and sweet?  Nope it was a fresh oven baked chicken tender crusted with plain corn flakes and some parmesan cheese….okay it was actually 2 chicken tenders and they maybe totaled about 3 oz. in weight.  Was it technically a cheat?… yes it was, but I skipped my last supplement of the night and was able to justify it all in my head that I did not sabotage anything too severely.  All in all if you look at one of the supplements I was loseweightprobably pretty close nutritionally with what I had vs. a chocolate peanut butter Optifast bar.  Whatever it is I will fully admit that I am now 99.9% compliant and I slept just fine knowing it.

So I have gotten the question a quite few different times now, how much have I lost?  So far I just tell people that I haven’t weighed myself yet because it really doesn’t matter, if I am doing what I am supposed to be doing then how much weight I am down makes no big difference.  Right…perfectly justifiable answer.  It’s complete bullshit…I am dying to know how much I have lost so far.  I just don’t have a scale at home that will actually produce numbers when I step on it.  The one I have is doesn’t go past 400lbs. (somewhat embarrassing to tell others) I did step on it the other day for excrements and borschtguffaws, but all it read was ERR, which I was pretty sure that was going to be the case, but I felt compelled to try nonetheless.  I am kind of hoping that by the time I go to surgery I may actually see a number.  I will get an idea next week of where I stand as I do have to go in for a weight check and a blood screen to see if my body is dealing with the Optifast okay.

I do know I have lost weight.  I have a few NSV’s one being that I moved down a belt notch this morning.  So I know I am losing, just won’t know how much until next Wednesday.  And honestly it doesn’t make a difference I need to just stay my course until the surgery and I will know that I have lost weight, there is no way that I can’t lose weight.  I am eating just under 1,200 calories a day.  Which for you Ukrainians out there that is about four jars of this delicious treat.

 

 

 

Do you want a cookie and other stupid questions…

Day 6 and I am going strong on the mostly liquid Optifast diet.  Yesterday I had a stalk of celery with my tomato soup (totally within guidelines of the diet.)  I have to tell you, I don’t think celery has ever tasted so good to me.  Just to have something that crunched when I bit into it was a treat.  So far  I have been doing 3-4 shakes, 1-2 soups, and 2 bars a day.  So the only actual solids I am ingesting are the protein bars.  While they taste pretty good, the volume just doesn’t make up for it.  I really try to regulate those to being used as snacks or when my food cravings are the lowest.

When someone hears that I am on a “liquid” diet they all ask if I am starving all the time.  One of the things that I have noticed during all of this is that I never have really felt that I am starved, but then again I never feel like I am full or that my appetite is completely sated.  It is hard to explain, it isn’t horrible, but it also isn’t the bees knees.

So the readers in the Ukraine know and the other odd followers that I have know that I beat some serious temptations over the weekend.  Obviously this diet has affected my family as well as my co-workers.  The very first day that I started nocookiemy diet I was offered a cookie by my co-worker who new that I had just kicked off my weight loss journey with my first chocolate shake.  And then a mere 4 hours later he asked what I was doing for lunch.  Nice right?  Way to rub it in Josh…way to keep it real for me.

I would have to say the worst has been yesterday morning when my wife asked me in all seriousness, would I like to go to the grocery store with her.  I mean..are you kidding me?  I was nice, but I told her no, I don’t think that is the best thing for me to do today.  Why in the world would I want to be in a building where all I could see is food…all types of food, healthy or not I can’t have any of it for quite sometime.  I guess overall I was a little discouraged as she then said “well it isn’t fair that you get a pass on going to the grocery store”.  No two ways about it, that stung a little, the percentage dropped a few points on how much I feel she is truly behind me on this journey.

I did tell her that no I really didn’t think it would be best for me to go today, and that really this month is something I am just trying to get through.  It would be diffrerent if I was aleast post surgery and could at least go pick out soft foods or foods that I think will taste good pureed (can’t wait for that stage.)  I get the feeling that again, her fears are manifesting themselves and popping out in odd ways.  While I have tried to be nice and she always says she is behind me when I tell her that I need her there.  I still just wonder if that is the case.

Well, day 6 is almost over and I have to beat one last serious temptation.  I am buying 8 large pizzas for a group of people at a meeting tonight.  I just need to pay for them, and then stay the hell away from that table.  Wish me luck!