Saturday, February 27, 2010


Today I felt fine.  I even slept on my stomach last night.  Not too sure if that's something I should have done - but it certainly didn't cause me any pain to do it.  The only incision that is still sore is the 2 inch cut on the top of my belly where the port is located.

I've definitely noticed my hunger increase.   Having a Jell-O cup or two just doesn't cut it anymore.  Thank God I move to mushy foods in three days.  I already have in mind what I want.  A "Wendy's Chili". Mmm Mmm, Good!

I wanted to talk a little about negativity from friends.  I don't think they intend to be negative with their comments or questions, but they certainly come across that way. Tonight I had an online chat with someone who had also thought about having this surgery.

Friend: so how do they tighten and untighten the ring

Me: there's a port just under the muscle of my stomach
and they just inject saline into it
Friend: and how long will you keep this in?

Me: for liiiiiiiiife
you remove it and you go back to your old ways
and gain all the weight back

Friend: not if you learn why you turn to food and switch to a healthier lifestyle

Me: um.. it's recommended that you don't remove it
it CAN be removed but if it's helping you to keep the weight off, why do you want to have it removed? So I can eat a whole plate of food?

Friend: i get it now. you have no control. you've tried but without this you won't be able to control what you eat

Me: that's why people get gastric surgeries, right?

Friend: sure
It felt as though I was being called a "failure" because I decided to have surgery instead of trying to lose the weight on my own.  It also seems as if I should be mourning the food that I will no longer be able to eat.  It's amazing how others act like you've never considered these things.   Will I miss eating popcorn? Pizza with all the crust? Thanksgiving dinner and eating until I can't move? Yeah.. a little.. but not NEARLY as much as I'll miss wearing a smaller pair of pants,  not having to take this blood pressure medicine, and a lack of a high level of self-confidence that I'll lose if I did continue to eat all of those things and thing some.
Just something that caused me to pause and consider the intention behind the words.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Day After

I've completed surgery!  You might be wondering how I feel.  I have to say that I'm in pretty good spirits.  It's now been 24 hours since I've awaken from the anesthesia. Let me give you a run down of the day of surgery.

Tuesday, February 23
11:30am - arrived for surgery and completed paperwork
12:00pm - I go back into the room where I strip down and get into my gown. Met a ton of nurses and doctors who will all have a hand in my surgery. They were super nice. This is where whomever is there with you for support can be with you.  Lauren was great to have around. She kept my mind off of what was about to happen. The nurses all do their spiel about their role in the surgery and to give me info for what to expect once I wake up from the anesthesia.
1:30pm - I head into surgery.  There were a ton of people in that room!  They were all talking to me. By this time I had gotten an injection in my IV to relax my nerves. The last thing I remember is getting the gas mask.
4:00pm - I wake up from the anesthesia and a nurse at my side.  I was trying to speak but it was like I had the words in my brain but I couldn't get the words out.
6:00pm - I made it to my room. Met all of my nurses who would be with me during the night. They were all very nice!  Denise is a spitfire nurse that loved to laugh and make me laugh no matter how much it hurt to do so.  I really enjoyed our chuckles. Pam was with me overnight and she was very caring and helped me walk the halls.  You see, you have to walk in order to work out the gas that's inside of you.  During laproscopic surgery they fill you up with gas so that they can maneuver inside of you. So you have to burp and pass gas A LOT to get it all out. Fun times! hahaha

One of the things I noticed is that I hadn't been peeing since I got to surgery. This was a good 8 hours that had passed.  Once I got a couple of bags of fluids in me, I was up and down all night going to the bathroom. It was definitely good practice in moving around.

Now that I'm on day two post-op, I'm actually feeling pretty good. I don't have much of an appetite but I am moving around a lot more. Sipping my water and my protein. Trying to get in some broth, sugar-free pudding and sugar-free popsicles.  You'd think it wouldn't be an issue - but honestly, to eat/sip is a lot tougher when you're not really wanting to because you're not really hungry.

Each day it gets better.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Big Day

Tomorrow by the time - I will be the recipient of a lap-band.  Tonight... I'm excited and nervous. I don't think I'll have a hard time sleeping considering I'm really tired tonight. I just remembered how I needed to get a post in on the eve of surgery. 

Today I ate something that I probably shouldn't have and now I'm a little worried about the outcome of that choice tomorrow. Hopefully I'll have enough time that passes for the food to have worked through my system. I don't show up for surgery until 11:30am and the surgery doesn't take place until 1pm.  This gives me a fair amount of time - considering I can't eat or drink anything from midnight tonight until after surgery.

My main worry right now is managing post-op.  It'll be nearly 8 weeks of liquids and mushy. I finished a week of Optifast and lost 10 pounds in a week! WOW! I definitely felt like I had. The pants felt less snug. Just imagine what it'll feel like after another week!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

OptiFast is NOT Fast Enough...

Today is day three of the OptiFast Weight Loss Plan to get my fatty liver in shape.  Let me tell you this... I AM HUUUUUNGRY!  Oh. My. God!

The first day I cheated a little.  I was doing great until I had visions of the leftover chicken alfredo in my refrigerator.  Surely enough, I ate it.  I mean... how could I NOT?  I'm only having 960 calories a day.  The leftovers added about 700 more calories.

Yesterday I went the entire day without cheating.  What a success!  However, today I woke up hungry as hell and with a headache that's pretty much lasted all day.  Enough of the complaining though.  I'm looking at this like a test.  If I can make it through this, I can make it through anything.  As much as I love the chicken noodle soup OptiFast packet (and yes.. it is REALLY TASTY), I am not satisfied and just want a little more of something else.   I'm sure I'm not the only one who's cheated on this diet prior to surgery.  I'm also sure I'm not the most flagrant. 

To make it through the days I drink LOTS of decaf tea.  Might I add, lots of Jell-O too.  You're allowed that during this time.  They say no more than three servings of sugar-free Jell-O but they're only 10 calories each - or some nonsense like that.  So, what if I have 4?

I stepped on the scale today and I have lost 4.4 pounds in just a day and a half. Is that right? That's a lot I thought, even considering that I had that chicken alfredo.  What if I didn't have the alfredo? Would it have been a 6 pound loss?  We'll never know. All I know is that this week of OptiFast is not going by fast enough.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Coming Out as a Lap-Bander

When I chose to have the lap band procedure I was pretty sure that I was going to keep it a secret. I would tell a few people here and there but for the most part - it would just be a pact with myself. You know.. the whole, "ain't nobody's business but my own" type of thing. As I progressed through my scheduled nutrition classes and a meeting with a doctor for the psychological evaluation, I've come to realize that I can't do this on my own. If I'm going to be successful, it's going to take a village (to quote Hillary).

Living in a state separated from your family isn't exactly a situation you'd want to have as you're embarking on this life changing procedure. I was given approval by my insurance company and given a surgery date (both were told to me during the same phone call) well before I decided to tell anyone what I was intending to do. I included a couple of friends who already knew my struggle with weight and they were supportive - but now comes the next step.

Who knew that telling people that you're having lap band surgery could cause so much anxiety?

Outside of telling two of my friends, I told my boss the week I found out about the insurance approval and surgery date. She would have to know because I'm taking off a full week to have surgery. She was supportive, just as I knew she'd be. So supportive that she is the one driving me to the hospital on February 23 and is planning to stay with me until I'm out of surgery. That shows you just how supportive she really is! Next, I told my father. This was a little nerve racking. It totally brought me back to being 24 and coming out as a gay man. You get anxious, nervous, a little frantic even. What will they say in response to what I just told them? Would they think I was taking the easy way out? Do I think I am taking the easy way out? Would they try to convince me that "I'm not big enough" to warrant such a serious surgery? Then when I told him, he simply said, "Do what's best for you - this will just stay between you and me." It almost felt like it was like I just came out to him and he's "protecting me" - or was it because he preferred that I tell my brothers and my sister on my own? I've yet to tell my siblings. I guess I'll tackle that this weekend. I came really close to telling my older sister last weekend but chickened out.

I had a conversation with my boss that centered around my telling the staff. My reasoning was to have the information out there so that they can support me the best way they could. Her initial idea was that it's no one's business other than my own and those I share it with. In a way she's right - However, I wanted to share it with everyone. It makes talking about things a LOT easier. It's very similar to owning and accepting your sexual orientation as being gay. I'm owning and accepting that I am having this surgery. There's nothing to be ashamed of. I've tried well over 20 diets in my lifetime. I've taken several types of appetite suppressants and "fat burning" pills. I've once hired a personal trainer and I've bought over a half dozen diet books. The only weight-loss strategy I've successfully mastered is the art of the Yo-Yo Diet.

Coming out as a lap-bander has given me strength. As I tell each person, I realize that they all just want me to be happy and healthy. It makes the process a lot easier. Today at work, I told 5 people about the surgery. Each time it became easier and easier. Tomorrow I have one last person to tell. It's a lesson I learned at 24 - The more people you tell, the more power you give yourself to be the most successful YOU that you can be and the less power you give to the secret you're hiding.

Today, I've decided to live in my own truth.

Friday, February 12, 2010

And the Countdown Begins

Today marks 10 days before I take the leap into better managing my health. As I sit here, ankles hurting (from what I'm not sure), I have been reflecting on my journey to have lap-band surgery that will take place on Tuesday, February 23, 2010.

I remember how I went to a weight loss seminar early last spring. The presentation left me less than excited. I thought, "Okay. This is clearly not the thing for me." I mean, geez! They expect me to make all of these changes? Don't eat this.. eat this instead. You can't have that! By the way, you know you will not be allowed to drink alcohol, EVER again? I left the seminar disheartened and thinking, "I think I can do this..." However, I wasn't extremely confident.

A couple of weeks later I made the call to set up an appointment to meet with the doctor who offered this seminar. I ended up canceling the appointment because I learned that my insurance wasn't going to cover any of the surgery. I soon dropped the idea. At least for a while.

About eight months later, I investigated the options my insurance did allow. It led me to another doctor's office and another weight loss seminar. This time around it ALL felt right. I felt better informed and there was a rapport with the speakers this morning. They had an entire system in place to guide you through the process.

Now, as I look toward the days closing in on my surgery, I stepped out on faith that I am making the best decision for myself. I want to be healthier. Slimmer. More fit. Have less pains. Be in the best shape mentally and physically that I can be.