With all of the craziness lately, I think it is fitting to settle down for a relaxing and healthy weekend with one of those gratuitous milestone posts…..here’s NUMBER FIFTY!
My liver is fully functioning again, my right thumb is almost back to 100%, and this is the first (and last) truly “free weekend” that I’ve had for a while. You know, I realize it might look like I am into some pretty crazy shit, and I guess I am, BUT deep down I’m just an old suburban midwestern guy. I’m almost 39 years old, and as it is appropriate for my age, during the spring I look forward to nothing more than getting up early on Saturday and heading to the farmer’s market. Though it is small, I am very, VERY loyal to our local Parkville Market. I will on occasion venture down to the River Market or out to Brookside, but I’d much rather give my money to our twenty wonderful farmers and vendors.
Due to my own laziness and busy schedule, this morning was my first visit to the market this season. Granted, there isn’t a ton of stuff available right now……spring onions, mixed greens, asparagus, herbs for planting, etc. But that’s beside the point, there isn’t anything as nice as getting down there around 7am on a sunny Saturday morning and just smelling that spring air, no matter how plentiful the bounty. Of course, this is also my first trip since surgery…..so I didn’t let myself go crazy. There’s nothing worse than letting farm fresh veggies wither and die in the fridge. I did pick up some rosemary and summer savory plants for growing, as well as some mixed greens, gorgeous baby arugula, and some stunning morel mushrooms. Sure, they are an extravagant expense, but what the hell, I mean just LOOK at these things….
I realize that what I need now is at least a day just to relax, detox, and have some nice healthy food. It’s very easy to slip into that trap where you get into the convenient slider foods because you are busy, and because sometimes you STILL lose weight despite eating them, but I’m not crazy…..I know that the only way to sustain my success and remain healthy enough to have the occasional weekend that rivals ancient Rome is to treat my body right the rest of the time. So with that in mind I think I’m going to get some light yardwork done, watch a ton of HowardTV, and make a great salad that I can eat for the next couple of days.
I’ve got the mixed greens which I will supplement with the arugula……and for the dressing I’m going to modify a Giada (aka Skull Baby) recipe by starting with some good fruity olive oil, fry big hunks of the spring onions in it, then add halved garlic cloves along with whole stems of rosemary and savory (so that I can remove them). Once I remove the garlic and herbs, and the onions are good and soft, in goes a handful of chopped fresh parsley and thyme, along with a little fresh lemon juice. Off the heat, a little balsamic, some salt and pepper, fried garlic hunks go back in……and it’s ready for the greens. For the protein I’ll add some sauteed bay scallops that were on sale, and a side of glorious and indescribable sauteed morels. Not a bad Saturday afternoon and evening.
Christ I’m boring today. That’s okay I guess, but there has to be more…… oh yeah, this week I’ve been obsessed with a couple of phrases. I do that from time to time and I wear them out to the point where my friends just go “stop”. The first one is “sex crazed and retard strong”; I’ve been using that to describe myself a lot. And the second is calling someone a “baby gorilla”. Long story involving a torture contest on Stern with guys getting waxed and Don Rickles in the movie “Dirty Work”…..I won’t get into it. It’s a beautiful spring day in Kansas City today, and I’m having a tough time cranking up the angst and irony machines…..so I’ll stick with the mundane. After all, it’s my 50th post I’m sure I can think of several things I have learned since surgery….
First of all, surgery has reversed my lactose intolerance. I’m sure the nutritionists would not like me using milk (whole milk from Shatto Farms!) as a source of some protein and delicious beverage, but now that I don’t have to run to the bathroom after drinking it….. I love the stuff. You know what else I drink that I’m not supposed to? Orange juice! Yes, I drink whole milk and I drink orange juice….I’m officially out of the closet with that. No clue what would reverse the lactose intolerance, but the funny thing is, a friend of one of my professors had gastric bypass and BECAME lactose intolerant for the first time after she had surgery. It’s bizarro bowel syndrome!
I don’t feel too bad about enjoying delicious, whole milk after finding out the other day that I can no longer eat one of the most important basic food groups…………bacon. How fucking cruel is that? Well, I CAN eat it (just like I can obviously still drink bourbon…at weddings), and I can see where it could become the KING of all slider foods, but I had a couple of pieces the other day….I think for the first time since surgery, honestly. I’ve had chopped bacon on salads, but not whole pieces. After two pieces, the telltale signs began….slight sweat, nausea……not close to full-blown dumping syndrome with the dry heaves or anything, but an effective behavior modification measure nonetheless. I just cannot eat extremely rich or fatty foods in anything close to a full portion without serious physical consequences. I guess that is a good thing, it’s just so goddamn cruel. I mean, bacon. Come the fuck ON! Too much sugar or too much fat equals some mental reinforcement that approaches the Ludovico Technique from A Clockwork Orange. Before long I’ll be at a restaurant, a waitress will ask if I’d like a side of bacon with my omelette, and I’ll shit my pants and start crying.
I can go through my daily liquid intake a lot easier than I thought I would be able to. I can’t CHUG anything, but if I’m thirsty or have a strong taste for some Crystal Lite that day, I can put it away. At first I thought I’d have to take one sip, wait five minutes, take another sip, wait another five minutes, etc. It’s not that way at all. I can sip pretty steadily. No complaints there.
I’m sure I could dissect the minutia of daily life and come up with a list of things that are either annoying or great about post-surgery life. The whole story at this point is that I have absolutely zero regrets (other than when some fast food commercial comes on TV and I go….OH SHIT! WHY DIDN’T I GORGE ON THAT BEFORE I HAD SURGERY! GODDAMMIT!), and everything that was positive in my life has become more positive. I am actually at a place now where the first thing on my mind when I interact with people ISN’T my weight, and I can come across as unbearably engaging and chatty…which is just my style. I have that certain…I don’t know what. Sure, I’m well past the halfway mark, but I do have more weight to lose. It will come off, just not as quickly. There are little reminders and reinforcers along the way that let you know you are on the right track. For example, a couple of weeks ago when I went to buy slacks for the wedding I had to keep trying on smaller and smaller sizes in order to get it right. Then when I found a cool camp shirt that I wanted to buy, and they didn’t have a small enough size in stock for me (smallest they had was a 2X…and it wrapped around my stomach), that was a pretty good moment that I had to gloat about to the clerk. Another twenty or thirty pounds and I’ll be shopping at “normal” stores….sure, I’ll be buying their biggest sizes, but anything is better than your run of the mill big and tall selection. Now that school is almost over for real (3 more Tuesday night class periods), I’ll get back into golf, and I’ll have a much larger range of motion and the stamina to play a couple of rounds if I want to. When I fly to DC in 2 weeks, Nashville in July and Chicago in September, I won’t have the usual two weeks of dread beforehand, thinking about the size of coach airline seats.
When you drop about 135 pounds you begin to realize that your weight has not only been a burden your whole life, but also your biggest crutch. It is the excuse that lets you put limits on everything that you say and do. Now that I’m beginning to get past a lot of that, I realize how much free time it brings, and how wonderful AND frightening that really is. Carrying that much weight around is like having a big filter on you at all times. Now, for better or worse, I can start seeing possibilities that I haven’t seen before, and interact with people without constantly trying to make up for the fact that I’m really fat. I’m still a big guy, that is true, but now I’m not always thinking “okay, I’m the fattest guy in this room, class, department, building, city”…..ad nauseum. There is the tendency to regret not doing the surgery ten years ago, but I honestly don’t think I was at a mental place to handle it then. I’m almost forty, I’ve lost a lot of years due to the weight, but this was exactly the right age to do this, so again, no regrets.
And I guess since this is the gratuitous milestone post I need to throw the gratuitious “before and after” in here. Did my best with my remedial photoshop skills, and I wish it looked more dramatic than it does, but you get the general idea…..
So there you have it…..nine months down, many years to go. Overall, I feel like a pretty lucky guy. Lucky to have missed out on any serious health issues before my surgery, lucky to have the cog in the machine job that I do, and lucky to have such great family and friends. More good stuff to come here….we’re doing a big bbq contest next weekend, I’m heading to DC a week from this coming Thursday, Nashville in July for a wine event that makes the list of “Top Ten Charity Events in the United States”……so barring homelessness due to unemployment in these uncertain times, things should be okay for a while.