Daily Archives: February 27, 2008

The Six Month Checkup

 Be warned, this post is one of those boring surgery-related updates, I’ll be back to my usual bullshit later this weekend when I share about the lord telling me exactly how the damn gays are ruining America…….I know, I was pretty shocked to hear it too.  And I’ve never heard the lord say “damn” before, so my guess is he was totally serious.

I just got back home from my six month checkup at the surgeon’s office.  In short, my blood work looks fantastic and I am down a total of 110 pounds.  He told me this is above average, and I was glad to hear it because I have no concept of what “normal” weight loss is anymore.  I was worried that the few times my weight loss has slowed down as I worked through the “things that stall progress” portions of the learning curve may have put me behind.  But, with the holidays jammed in there along with my laziness due to the weather when it comes to physical activity…..I’ll gladly take the 110.  I know many people will react to my attitude like I’m crazy or ungrateful because losing that amount of weight in six months is phenomenal, but to them I say…..it has still been a hell of a lot of work to get here, the surgery is just one tool in the constantly evolving arsenal. 

I guess everyone who has gastric bypass is paranoid about their vitamin intake, with all of the stories about people ending up in wheelchairs due to B12 deficiency.  With that in mind I grilled my surgeon pretty good to make sure all of my levels were okay.  All of the biggies were well within “normal” range, and even though I’m very conscious of getting them all in every day it was good to hear.  I had some worries about the efficacy of the sublingual B12, but that looked just fine.  Protein levels are great, and my blood pressure has been steady lately around 127 over 74.  My Vitamin D levels were a little low, which was kind of a suprise because I take an extra supplement every day for that.  The doctor wasn’t too worried about it and told me “as soon as you stop being such a gothic queer and get out in the sunshine when the weather improves that will change”.  He kept poking me in the chest as he told me that.  As I rained blows down upon him I thought to myself….”you know, I really do move around much easier now!”. 

Before I shit-hammered my doctor, we did have a good discussion about animal vs. vegetable proteins, satiety and worries about pouch-stretching.  I also told him that about once a week or so, for whatever reason, something just won’t begin digesting quickly enough and the pressure will build until I go to the bathroom and hack it up….then everything is fine.  He chalked it up to the learning curve, and I can’t say that I disagree because it is happening less and less frequently.  Sometimes my stomach is more sensitive than others I guess, and sometimes when I let myself get too hungry I either eat too fast or don’t chew enough.  Using vomiting as a release valve is just a disturbing thing to have to do….and I wouldn’t even call it vomiting, it’s more like deep coughing now.  As far as proteins go, one thing that is becoming extremely obvious is that when I eat animal proteins like eggs, beef, etc., I feel full quicker and I stay full longer.  Then when I eat a vegetarian meal (which I’ve been doing a LOT more lately) like that chickpea mixture or this 13 bean chili that I really like, I notice I can eat quite a bit more of it without getting full.  My concern was that I may be taking in too many calories, and of course the paranoia about stretching the pouch with too much volume was the biggest worry.  He assured me that vegetable proteins are going to digest a little quicker, meaning you can eat more without getting full as quickly, and that if the weight keeps going down then you’re not stretching the pouch.  I’ll monitor how much of the various vegetarian/bean dishes I consume, with his comment in mind that “if you’re eating too much at once you’ll know it”.  I DEFINITELY know what it feels like to eat too much now, this is all just such a big learning curve that I didn’t know if there were any big drawbacks to a more vegetarian lifestyle after surgery.  When I did my last stint with the KU weight loss research project, the protocol we followed was to eat 3 HMR meals per day along with all of the fruits and vegetables (minus potatoes and corn of course) we wanted to eat.  I did lose some weight doing that, even eating HUGE volumes of fruits and vegetables (8-16 servings), so it only stands to reason that using beans as a major protein source won’t hurt me.  Also, the concept of “a lot of” anything is so different now…..when I eat 3/4 of a bowl of vegetarian chili I think of that as “a lot”.   Speaking of that, I get a lot of my stuff from Whole Foods now that I can afford it due to the quantity I need, but most stores do carry “Bob’s Red Mill” items.  Their 13 bean soup mix is excellent, and I don’t have a label here in front of me but I believe it’s very high in protein….something like 12 or 14 grams per serving.  That stuff, plus the greatest product ever invented…New Whey liquid protein, guarantees that a veggie diet can include enough protein to keep you healthy.  Maybe I really am a gothic queer like the doctor said, because beans, tofu and seitan are my favorite things to eat now along with bloody cuts of beef and various entrails (my iron levels are a tiny bit low, so now I can really come out of the offal closet without shame).  No in between there…..I do love seafood a lot, but the hell with poultry….I’m all about vegetarian dishes (I have dreams about the Korean dish Soon Tofu, and the Indian chickpea miracle called Chana Masala) but I’m just as happy to eat straight-up gore foods like liver, tongue and sweetbreads.  Maybe it’s just a subconscious thing that won’t allow me to become too much like hippie scum and go vegan…..all I know is that pieces of animals that processed some type of fluid are magically delicious. 

I guess that’s about it for today.  In all, a great day.  The weather is decent, I’m making good progress with my health, and I don’t have a ton of crap to do for work before this weekend.  I am behind the eightball when it comes to homework, but when am I NOT?  And joy of joys, the “Bodies Revealed” exhibit opens at Union Station this weekend so I’ll be seeing that very soon without having to travel to a different city like I thought I would.  I wonder if the same religious protesters who used to picket in front of my store when I managed a Priscilla’s will be there to greet me…….it will be like old home week! 

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