Last week I visited my surgeon for the highly anticipated one year checkup. It’s hard to believe that it has already been a year because there have been so many dramatic changes in such a short period of time. My blood work came back fantastic, and the only real issue is my blood pressure….which is just a family curse. Overall I have dropped 150lbs in the past year, and when the doctor walked in he immediately started laughing in my face, then apologizing because “I just looked so much different than the last time he saw me”. So that felt pretty good. I was really nervous about the appointment because I had no concept of whether or not the 150lb loss was good, average or just okay for a guy that was my size prior to the gastric bypass. You kind of lose any concept of normalcy after a while. Even though I’m still a big guy, I haven’t been down in the 270’s since back in 1990 when I was doing the Physician’s Weight Loss program, so this is some new territory for me. What is REALLY sweet is the fact that I am now only “obese”…..I’m under the cut-off for “morbidly obese” by a couple of pounds. And in fifty or sixty more pounds I’ll only be “overweight”…..so yay for me.
I don’t do too many “normal” posts anymore, especially ones dedicated strictly to the WLS experience, so I’m not sure how to approach it….I guess I’ll do what I do best and go at it stream of consciousness style……
Lots of big changes……this blog for one. I don’t post as much as I used to, but I look at that as a sign of progress because I’m generally spending less time in front of a television or computer. When I go back and read some of my earliest posts it cracks me up to think of egg day and all of the pain with the initial recovery. The fear that I didn’t feel “stuffed” after eating one egg like so many people talk about, and how worried I was that they took the drains out too early. Oh the drains. The drains are the absolute fucking worst. Well, those and the catheter. I’m glad my skin is holding up, because apparently there are plenty of drains involved with skin removal surgery. Tet hose, having to pscyh myself up for a half hour before trying to hoist myself out of the chair……and then the landslide of weight falling off for the first few months. The weight loss has slowed down significantly, part of that is my fault, but I’ll take the 150 in a year. Looking back on the evolution of this blog has been a trip….some ranting, some raving, a few moments of brief enlightenment, but mostly it has been a much needed sounding board in the middle of all of this dramatic lifestyle shift.
Without this blog I wouldn’t have found an avenue to let my friends and family know what is really on my mind, and thankfully it keeps me from having to repeat the same WLS information over and over as people want updates. I’ve also met some new cyberfriends, found helpful weight loss surgery online communities, and made use of invaluable tools like “The Five Day Pouch Test”. Most importantly, I wouldn’t have met my current girlfriend without this blog with such classics as “On Dating”. Now we criss-cross between Kansas City and Richmond, and I can fit into the coach class airline seats as easily as I’ll (or any human) probably ever be able to. Speaking of the physical changes, I can mow my front and backyards one after the other in record time and I don’t have to plan my walking ahead of time to figure out the least strenuous path. I’ve given away huge trash bags full of big boy clothing, and am wearing fifteen year old clothes until I go from the smallest size in the big and tall stores to the large sizes in normal retail stores.
Since surgery I’ve finished my Masters in Organizational Psych with a 3.95 GPA, I performed one of my best friend’s weddings, hosted various parties at my house, visited different parts of the country….meeting up with the C.H.U.D. for the first time in DC and then rubbing elbows with Nashville’s ruling elite and drinking their wine. It has been one hell of a year.
Of course, it hasn’t been 100% dreamy…..anyone who has had this much change in such a short amount of time can attest to that. They had to take my stomach away from me because if left to my own devices I wouldn’t have lived until the age of fifty….so there are underlying issues at play. An addictive personality is an addictive personality…if it’s not food it’s something else. So once they took the food away and my favorite fatty foods started making me sick (I literally thank God for dumping syndrome), I found out the hard way that my love for alcohol was something I’d have to come to terms with. A few bites of General Tso’s chicken will have me sweating and vomiting like I just ran a marathon, but sweet sweet booze was just as wonderful as always. I’m on the wagon for the timebeing, but I’m not someone who will pretend that I’ll NEVER drink. My alcohol and food issues are intertwined, and I keep seeing my therapist pretty regularly to talk about all of this, but booze is awesome and it makes you very cool. I’ll drink some during the holidays, I’m planning a huge party for my 40th bday next year, and also there is no way in hell I’m missing the next Nashville Wine Auction extravaganza next summer. So there you go.
There has been a lot to think about in regard to the food addiction in the past year, but the positives outweigh the negatives by about 99 percent. You hear a lot about people having complications after WLS, so maybe I’m one of the lucky ones so far. Then again, I did a hell of a lot of research and found the best possible surgeon. The procedure is no joke, and judging by the sheer number of tv and radio ads for WLS I think too many doctors and patients look at this like it’s Lasik. The biggest thing I have to remind myself is that this is just a tool. No more, no less. It’s no magic bullet, it takes constant thought and planning to stay healthy and keep losing weight. But all of those things aside I’m just a lot happier with who I am, and my appearance isn’t the first thing on my mind when I leave the house.
Now hopefully none of you will have to read anything like that again until NEXT year’s checkup. While I’m yammering away, last weekend was the ultimate event of the year……Paws in the Park. Anyone who knows me well realizes I take things pretty casually and I don’t get too excited about much. However, the promise of a few hundred dogs down in our local park has me giddy months ahead of time. Not only does the event benefit our local shelter, it’s basically the coolest thing in town all year. Just a few pics of the start of the fun walk, the beautiful banks of the Missouri river, vendors and tents galore, and finally me and the gang. I hope to get even more people involved next year. Notice MY dog is the one who isn’t smart enough to turn around for the camera…..
And last but not least, since I’ve written the most typical of all mundane types of blog posts, I will leave you with one of my favorite jokes….
An old man goes to the doctor. After his exam, the doctor says “I’m sorry, I’ve got some bad news…..you’ve got alzheimer’s AND you’ve got cancer”. So the old man says, “Well, thank God I don’t have cancer”.
And that’s about it. Time for my tiny dinner.