Monday, December 19, 2011

Cookie fudge sabotage! And, severe back muscle spasms

Actually I'm quite surprised that I haven't gained more weight than I have. I've gained about 3 pounds since the Beginning of December. I blame it on my holiday cooking and luscious fudge. Not only am I a gourmet cook, but I am also one hell of a good baker. I'm not really too worried about the weight because some of it is most likely water bloating. I'll take my water pill this morning. I didn't take them Fri-Sun because we were shopping and all that. I didn't want to be running to the Macy's potty every 10 minutes.

Nonetheless, I am the cookie/fudge king. I like Christmas and what would Christmas be like without cookies? So I baked and decorated dozens upon dozens. I have my fudge down to an art. The first time I tried to make the fudge, I did it the hard way bringing the mix up to 238 degrees ect... and they turned out sugar grainy even though I used confectioners sugar. I made ginger bread, sugar, and Hungarian Pecan cookies as well, but here is my sure fire fudge recipe... It's so easy it's stupid and the fudge comes out perfect every time:

First I put about 2 tablespoons of butter into a medium sized pan and let it melt without burning. Then I add one can of condensed sweet milk plus 1 1/2 to 2 cups of sugar and a dash of salt then I bring it to a boil while stirring like a crazed man so it doesn't burn. Then I remove it from the heat and add chocolate chips (doesn't really matter what kind. You choose.) and a good cup to a cup and a half of small marshmallows or jet puffed marshmallow cream for the jar. Finally, I add the optional nuts and stir it all together until it is completely and evenly chocolate color. Then pour it out evenly into a glass pan or something that allows the fudge to spread out to an inch or so thick.

Yesterday I tried adding 1 1/2 tablespoons of vanilla extract and Ghirardelli white chocolate chips with almost two cups of chopped pecans. KILLER GOOD!

Now the trick is to eat and taste just a bit while cooking and then stay away from the finished product. Yea right. Just remember that, if you've had bariatric surgery, your body is going to try to keep as much of the fat in the fudge as possible. My weight loss really stagnated, but I can get back into the ballgame in two or three days.

Back pain: I think the shifting fat (downwards) has pulled on my back which resulted in a spasm pain that wrapped around my entire abdomen. I had to start wearing this funky back brace just to stand up. Today I'll call the doctor and see if he wants to check out my spleen or anything because sometimes the pain can be quiet severe. I wonder... is this phenomena common amongst bariatric patients?    

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Yet another band adjustment and a new weight loss sprint

Yesterday I had another saline injection into my port. The surgeon suggested 1/2 cc and I suggested 1cc so we met in the middle and went with 3/4 cc. I should have asked him how many total cc's I have had. By my estimation, I've probably maybe had about 6 3/4 cc. I don't know what the average is. However; I do know that I now have to be patient and careful taking my bipolar meds. I can't take more than one at a time and I have to let each one settle through the opening otherwise they seem to get stuck and that's a bitch. Anyway, I've only been eating hot cream of wheat (Maybe you folks in Russia know what grits are. Basically the same thing). For the first time I really have to let liquids settle through. If I drink cold water or iced tea I can feel it sit there. It goes down fairly quickly, but I still have to be mindful.

I did have a blood test result that showed that my liver and kidney functions have come down closer to high end normal. It's a good thing. I know that the 20 to 30% of my liver that is working is doing a good job. I didn't have a platelet count done, but I should have. I imagine it hasn't changed much. It's probably bouncing around 70,000 to 90,000 (150,000 being low end normal and 250,000 normal). I am seriously low on vitamin D3. I've been taking 6,000IU, but they have been gelcaps and they haven't done a thing. My primary care physician has instructed me to take 5,000 to 6,000IU of tablet form of vitamin D3. And, I should try to take them with food to slow the absorption. As far as nutrition goes, I'm doing fine with the high protein diet and bariatric supplements. I have been getting B12 injections every month from the surgeon.

I had a mess of a time with my insurance and the surgeon's billing service. The invoices showed that I owed $750 USD as a co-pay. I talked to the insurance at length because I didn't understand why I was paying an 80/20 split on the surgeon bill when I didn't have to on the hospital bill. And then they said that I had to meet the co-pay minimum and I told them that I already paid the hospital $4,500 USD and that should more than cover any co-pay requirements. My biggest concern really wasn't about the $750, it was really that I thought I was being cheated out of my lifetime benefit of $7,500 USD. They paid the hospital their $4,500 (and I paid my $4,500) so they are all taken care of; however, they only paid the surgeon $1,250 leaving $1,750 yet to be paid. As I know understand it, the insurance will keep paying for the "adjustments" until they have exhausted the $1,750. So, I'm not going to lose the $1,750. I have a friend who's insurance paid for the surgery, but then only paid for a few of the "adjustment" appointments and now she's on her own and she can't afford to have the adjustments so she's kind of screwed. All that money; all that effort and she's stuck.

My damaged cartilage feels better so I hit the gym yesterday and today. Yesterday I took it easy and only walked on the treadmill. Well, kind of speed walking. I don't know how fast I completed the 2 miles, but today I did and I broke my old record just walking like a madman instead of jogging. I figure that as long as I don't jog or run I shouldn't be re-injuring it. After yesterday my left MCL hurt, but I know that pain and it's just inflammation and I can ice down for that. Anyway, today I played basketball against myself for 45 mins to an hour (not sure again) and I worked up a healthy sweat. Then I went back to the gym and there was no treadmills available so I worked out on the machines until one became available. It's usually not that busy and there are plenty of mills, but there was the entire retirement community there today??? So I got on the treadmill and did 2 miles in exactly 31 minutes which I think is good because I am still getting over an injury.

One last thought: My bipolar disorder is becoming more intense as I age. I do have my meds adjusted, but sometimes I'm barely able to keep it together. Not so many panic attacks, but more manic behavior. Bless my wife for not choking me in my sleep. Also, the weight loss and the exercise have done nothing to improve my chronic spleen pain so I still have to take oxycodone twice a day. I think it's a low dose and it only takes enough of the pain so it becomes tolerable.   

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Back from NYC

I hadn't realized how long it had been between posts. I was under a deadline to finish a polished Part One (143 pgs) to hand over to a publisher in NYC on the 23rd. That was accomplished and now I need to polish Part Two. The characters are very much alive in my head so it shouldn't require nearly as many rewrites. I have posted some of my favorite chapters from part one on the I showed it to several people and they went bananas. Plus I already have one Independent Film producer interested in the book. It really reads more like a screen play anyway.

My primary mission for NYC was to attend the opening of the Paul Sharits solo exhibition at the Greene Naftali Gallery in the Chelsea district on Manhattan. The show is awesome and very tasteful. If you are able to make in to NYC go see it. We have two films showing, Third Degree Burn three projector installation and the single projector Axionmatic Granularity. We had a Champagne opening from 11am to 1pm and then a private dinner at 9pm in this fancy Japanese restaurant in midtown. I had two interviews with two art critique magazines and then a two hour video interview for the documentary which premiers this spring. I was burnt out on interviews so I made the film crew cram into my small hotel room. I literally did a John Lennon and did the whole interview propped up against my pillows in bed.

After the interview, we all went down to the Occupy Wall Street headquarters located on the second floor of a college again in midtown. It was kind of scary. For promoting peaceful protests, I wouldn't be surprised if they get violent. The graffiti that was covering the walls and some of the floor sounded pretty militant. I sat in on three different conversations and they all had different goals with two common threads; they wanted to keep "occupying" this school or move on to the next. The other thing that was in the air was the fear of being raided. It was around 7pm and there wasn't that many people in the space so I would think they would have gotten raided during their planning meeting at 8pm. We successfully left the building before it was raided, but we did see several police vans parked within a block of the space. I did collect OWS propaganda newspapers and various printed material including a rough blue print to interrupt the Macy's Day Parade. I couldn't believe they just had it sitting in the old protest signs. One thing is for sure; they don't have a central goal further than being pissed off and occupying things.

After that we took a taxi down to ground zero and we found that the visitors center was really a crowded gift shop. I found it revolting and we left quickly.

While we were there both the Whitney and MoMA were closed for Tuesday, but I have some power in NYC and Greg and I were allowed in with a curator tour. The museums were empty. It's a great way to see the art. I spoke at the opening dinner and it went very well. I have no problem with public speaking and I decided what to talk about in about 30 seconds. My speech was cohesive and well received.

We flew back on Thanksgiving and the airports were nearly empty. It was awesome. I went to the Macy's Day Parade and somehow managed to get a spot three people back in Times Square. By the evening we were back in Colorado and eating Thanksgiving Dinner at my brother's house. It was the perfect day.

The bottom line is that I weighed in at 333 which represents 77 pounds lost since my surgery on August 3rd. I should pass the New Years eve at 320 or less. I should be 280 pounds by my birthday on March 19th. The best present ever. I will be at my ideal weight by December 2012 at the latest.

Friday, November 11, 2011

One week later the band is working fine

For a while I was doubting the effectiveness of the lap-band. It was really more of "I thought it might be leaking." Well, it's not leaking and that last 1cc fill seems to have reduced the band aperture to the point where I can feel it when I drink too fast and once I've taken a few bites. The hunger pains are not completely gone. Yesterday I ate as instructed. Three meals of 1/4 cup and it was hard. I would do much better with 1/2 cup, but the idea is that you don't stretch out the esophagus above the band. Some people deliberately stretch it out, thus rendering the surgery less effective if not completely negated. It seems stupid.

How does the properly inflated band actually feel like?
As I previously mentioned, the first thing I do in the morning is take my bipolar meds (Lamictal and Lorasapam), bariatric supplements, vitamins (primarily vitamin D3x6), hypo-thyroid pill, and, finally my oxycodone for spleen pain. And every other day I take a water pill and subsequent potassium log (they'r big, I have to chew that one up, but it doesn't taste bad.). So this morning I took 15 pills. I can take a few of the smaller pills at the same time, and then one at a time. I can feel each one sliding through the band opening so I have to take my time and let each pill clear. It fells like there is a siphon behind my sternum. I can feel it even more with cold water. If I should happen to lay down before the water goes through, the water will try to drain back out of my mouth.

At breakfast I can feel a traffic jam if I eat something with substance or good texture. I love malt o meal, but it goes right through. An egg is better, however, I like to cook my egg with a dash of cheese, some hash browns, and salsa. It really ends up being twice the size of my meal so I save the other half for lunch. I can kind of feel it, but when I start drinking after an hour or so I can sometimes still feel some of the food and then it power slides through. I'm not supposed to be drinking coffee but I do. However, I can't even use mouthwash that has alcohol.

Lunch and dinner are pretty much the same. On water or liquids 15 mins before eating and no water for an hour after, which means you really need to drink a lot of water when you can.

For some bizarre reason, I have more trouble swallowing my night time meds than I do the morning meds. Maybe it's because I want to lay down and I can't until the meds clear. Nonetheless, I think I'm pretty safe at saying that I can lose 15 per month now. I've just about lost 70 pounds since August 3rd. I'm still hoping I can lose 10 more pounds by my trip to NYC on the 21st. Anything I can do to make the seats more comfortable. 23 inch butt into a 17 inch seat. Ouch.

One last point: My bipolar meds have been fairly consistent and stable, but, if I miss my morning meds I become argumentative by the afternoon. I am that sensitive to my meds.

Friday, November 4, 2011

New adjustment and the end of hunger pains... I hope

I'm a little frustrated because I am still at 347. Now I am quite bloated this morning. I can tell because my home scale weigh -in should have been better and I took my lasix (water pill) this morning and I have already peed like four times and it's only 8am.

On the 2nd of November I had an early adjustment in  the aperture of the band. They added one more cc. I'm sure I am at at least 5cc or maybe 6cc. I got a little confused by the doctors notes from the previous saline addition. Nonetheless, it seems to have worked. My food is staying in place above the ring and water only trickles through. I have to be careful with my meds because I could easily get them stuck and then I would have to wait until they dissolved.

So now I am sticking to the 1/4 cup rule three times a day. I really want to kick this weight loss up a notch. Last night I measured out exactly 1/4 cup of marinaded chicken bits and they stayed in place until I started sipping water. The idea is to keep the food above the ring so your body (stomach) stops creating the acid that makes you hungry. My biggest foe has been my raging appetite. If I can rid myself of the physical and mental hunger than I can lose the appropriate amount of weight.

This morning I made a scrambled egg with some ham bits and a pinch of cheese. When I measured it, it was too much by two times. So I divided it and I will have the rest for lunch. One egg is too much. It surprised me too.

My estimates of loss were too optimistic. I think I can weight 330 by November 21st. In December I should be able to lose at least 15 pounds, so I should finish the year at 315. If I only lose 10 pounds per month then I should around 290 to 280 by my birthday. At that point I really won't be that freaked out by slower weight loss. After all, at 280 by March 19th would be an overall lose of 130 pounds. I would settle for 120.

The best part of this weight loss tool is that I shouldn't ever gain the weight back. Life changer.

Friday, October 28, 2011

November 21 goal expectation

Today I weighed in at 347 pounds. I started at 413 on August 3rd. Clothes adjustment three pounds. Total weight loss at this point 63 pounds. That's 86 days with an average of .75 pounds lost per day.

I would like to lose 25 pounds by November 21st. Roughly, that's one pound a day. I should weigh in at 322 by my flight to NYC. Remember; seats are only 17" across. I won't be bouncing around the seat, but I should fit.

November 4th = 340
November 8th = 335
November 12th = 330
November 16th = 325
November 20th = 320
November 21st = enough to fit in seat I hope

How will I get there? Serious diet control and 2 miles five times a week.

Monday, October 24, 2011

I still lost weight!

I thought I totally screwed up the last month. While I was running back and forth from Arkansas, I thought over the three weeks I had blown my diet. I could barely feel the band, but I do now. The last adjustment was great, but still I thought I was doing poorly. I had a lot of trouble breaking the hunger feelings.

However, I was just updating the site and I have lost 17 pounds since September 26th! I bet I can lose another 3 pounds in the next few days. That would basically be 20 pounds on a crappy month. Pretty cool. I'm happy, but I really need to lose a fast 20 to 30 pounds before the 21st of November. I have a three and a half hour flight to NYC and the seats are only 17 inches across. Even with 30 pounds lost it will be tight, but nothing like it would be today.

My exercise schedule went a bit off kilter, but I've still been in the gym three times during the week and at least one if not two mountain hikes a weekend. We go on this path that is a challenging climb of about 500 feet and then back down and up some more (2 miles). I think I was doing the course at about one and a half hours four or five weeks ago, but I get better each time. This Saturday I tried to go faster than I ever had. My goal was one hour. I did it in 53 minutes. And I was seriously sore, but I went to the gym on Sunday anyway. All I did was jog /walk fast for 30 minutes and I reached my goal of two miles. I thought I would be super sore today, but I feel better than I did on Saturday night.

In order to lose the goal weight I need to exercise everyday. I ran out of time to get to the gym today so I raked the backyard. I didn't even break a sweat. Tomorrow I must get to the gym. Besides, we are supposed to have a snow storm on Wednesday. Today it was 79 degrees. Colorado weather is weird.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The last lapband adjustment worked

The surgeon had injected saline fluid twice before, but he was being conservative. However, on my last appointment on October 14, I asked for some real liquid. At first he must have added 5cc because when I took a test drink of water it hurt very much. So then he backed it off just a bit and the next water test indeed drained. So we left it there because I'm tired of not feeling it.

Okay. I feel it now. I can only take sips of water and I really have to chew up my food. In addition, I must keep to the 1/4 cup rule because they is simply no more room than that. I just ate a small bit of chicken that couldn't have been more than 1/4 cup, but it hurt my chest anyway. The chicken did the same thing last night when I actually measured it. I guess some foods hurt but don't make you throw it back up. I have eaten too fast. Either way, ouch.

I think I will be able to lose weight at a rapid rate now. I need some quick weight loss before my trip in NYC. The seats are only 17 inches across and I am a bit more. I think if I lose 25-30 before the trip, I shouldbe more comfortable.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

To lose or not to lose

The day that my father-in-law had his first stroke I was on track to lose another spectacular amount of weight. We took off that evening to Arkansas and I ate like crap. You know; highway food and snacks to keep me awake. After two more round trips to Arkansas I couldn't feel the obstruction of the lapband. Actually, I can't remember feeling it even after the last surgeon appointment where he added saline to my ring.

Basically what happened was I ate what I shouldn't have when I shouldn't have. It was like a lap band vacation. Granted, the stress and sorrow were near overwhelming as he took his last breath on September 30th, his 69th birthday, but I should have tried harder.

Part of my complaint shortly after my last surgeon appointment was that I felt hungry. Like mad dog hungry. I think if I had stayed at home and in my gym everyday I still could have lost 20 more pounds, but I didn't. I guess I should cut myself some slack considering the unusual circumstances, but I remain disappointed that I will have lost only 10 pounds in the last month.

I need to fly to NYC on November 21 on business and it is a four hour flight from Denver. The seats in United Airlines economy section are only 17 inches across. First class only has three more inches, but we can't worry about that. I can't afford it. So I found a chair in the house that was 17 inches across and I could shoe horn my way in, but it would be very uncomfortable like my last trip to NYC.

This Friday I have another appointment and hopefully I can get him to inject a good amount of saline so I can feel it. I'am sure I would be more comfortable if I lost 20 to 30 pounds before my trip. Yes, 30 pounds. That's my goal.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My father-in-law past on

In the past three weeks I have driven 1,000 miles (one way) to Arkansas because my father-in-law had a stroke and then had more strokes the one day that we had returned home and we went back. This time it was for his funeral. In all, I drove 7,000 miles (11,260 km) in the last month.

The trips and time spent in pure stress have wreaked havoc on my diet and my bipolar disorder. I ate like crap and I don't feel any "lap band" resistance so I didn't lose weight! I'm lucky that I didn't gain weight.

Anyway, we got in from Booneville Arkansas to our home in Lakewood Colorado around 2:30am. I drove a one hundred miles out of Boonville and then let my wife drive so I could nap in preparation for my marathon drive through the night so she could sleep and be ready to get up at 5am for work.

I completely trash my body. During the last 250 miles I felt like shit. I was nauseous and my spleen and liver hurt like crazy. I had to stop once because I was sure that I was going to vomit. Once I arrived home I was shaking and I had a fever. Nasty nasty nasty. I felt so bad I couldn't believe it. I slept until 1:30pm and then went back to sleep for another nap and now I'm ready for some more sleep. The stress and the drives have kicked my butt. I'm sorry to say that I am glad I don't have to make that drive again for a very long time and under different circumstances.

Checking out for a much needed third sleep. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The worst part of bariatric surgery - supplements/vitamins

So they tell you over and over that you'll have to take bariatric vitamins/supplements everyday for the rest of your life. Not a big deal. I've always taken vitamins and received B12 shots every month. You need the vitamins because you will eat like 2-3 oz per meal and it is usually animal and soy based proteins. If you don't eat proteins you'll get sick and lose lots of hair.

Before my surgery I ordered some vitamins from a popular and reputable bariatric supplement company. I'm sure that if you google bariatric vitamins that this company would pop up in the first three listings in and below the paid ads. I ordered the cherry flavored. The problem is that they smell like cherry and taste like poop. Seriously, I gag every time I take them.

I highly recommend these
But, I did some more research because I was sure there was something better out there. I found out that almost everybody on the review for my vitamin and many others hated their taste. But, I did find one vitamin that got solid reviews and everyone said they tasted great and they were cheaper than the ones I ordered. They were, of all places, at the Walgreens right down the street. They were nearly half the price and they do taste great. Kind of like a vitamin C orange flavor with no after taste. They are from a company called "Optisource" for $25.00 for 120 tablets. If you've had the lapband you should chew up three to four a day.

Just to back up this story; my wife tried to eat one of the old ones and immediately spit them into the toilet and rinsed her mouth out and brushed her teeth frantically. I had to laugh. Then she ate one of these Optisource chewable tablets and she didn't throw up. Rather, she agreed with me and the other reviewers. These vitamins are as powerful as the others and they taste fine.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The roller coaster of emotions- My father-in-law's deterioration

It has been a difficult two weeks. On Monday the 12th of September, my father-in-law, Jerry, had a massive stroke. We drove from Colorado to Little Rock Arkansas that afternoon and arrived the next morning. It is nearly a 1,000 mile trek and I had to abuse my manic tendencies to drive the distance so my wife would be rested when we got to the hospital.

After five days he wasn't responding, but he seemed stable so we came home so Cheri could go to work on Monday. On Monday morning I called to check in with my mother-in-law and she told me he was having strokes on the other side of his body. I freaked. I thought that this was it so we drove back down to Arkansas because we didn't want her mom to be alone during this crisis. The week wore on and one moment he seemed to know that we were there and then he would not respond at all, but he remained stable so we came home last Saturday. I haven't called in to see how he's doing today. At this point our next trip will be for his funeral.

All of this driving for 14 hours straight and eating truck stop crap along with hospital food and fast food and just plain crappy food coupled with the fact that I had intentionally threw myself into hypo-mania four times plus having recently come off of a bad bipolar episode not only exhausted me, but it also changed the weight loss trend from down to stagnant to up.

Frankly, I didn't have the emotional will power to stay on my diet, plus I really don't feel the lapband yet. I need a few more adjustments so I can actually feel it and so I am truly restricted in food intake. Right now I think I could pretty much eat anything I want so losing weight is pure will power.

While I stopped losing weight, thus solidifying the truth that the lapband is a tool not a solution, I didn't gain all that much and I should be back down to pre-Jerry levels by the end of the week. At this point I will be happy to have lost 70 pounds by the time I go to NYC Thanksgiving week. Today I am at 43 pounds lost and I will be back to 50 pounds lost quickly... unless I have to run to Arkansas soon.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Family emergency

I'm sorry I have been absent, but my father-in-law had a stroke two weeks ago and we drove down to Little Rock Arkansas for a week and he seemed to stabilize so we we returned home just to hear that he was having strokes on the other side. Hence, we packed back up and returned to Arkansas. Miraculously, he is still holding on. I wouldn't call him stable, but I would call him critical.

One advantage to being bipolar is that I can intentionally throw myself into a hypo-manic state and drive for 15 hours at a shot. Little Rock Arkansas is just under 1,000 miles for our house. I believe that translates to around 1,600 kilometers. Anyway, I have now done that three times and after coming off a horrible bipolar episode I think my body is getting tired.

My diet has been horrible as well. When your on the road and stressed out it's very hard to say no to food, however, I am disappointed in my apparent weight gain so I am putting myself onto a liquid diet for about four days or so to get myself back into the groove.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Bipolar low side

Last week I could tell I was being hypo-manic and what goes up must come down. Hypo- manic is a state in which I don't really feel like sleeping and I gain an ever growing sense of euphoria and grandiosity. My mood could be characterized as persistent and irritable. I can also tell when the mania is at full swing because I have little hallucinations. More like a slight of eye. Mostly I get a hair trigger against anyone who gets into my way. This manic state was somewhat mitigated by the fact that I had an out-of -town guest so I was trying to be on my best behavior.   

However, I could feel myself headed to the edge. Once Robert left I didn't have anything to hold me back and I fell into a deep depression. You go way up and then way down. Hence, bipolar disorder. Right no I'm feeling pretty down, but I don't have any reason to be. Robert helped my move my book in the right direction. Thanks Rob. And this morning we will go on our Saturday hike up at Elk Meadows and then a Colorado Rockies game this afternoon AND football is in full swing tomorrow and I have a real strong fantasy football team. See? Everything is great and I feel like crawling into a hole.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Quick report- New Measurements

Photo of me with one of my paintings
I wanted to drop a quick report in before I go to bed. I am very tired because we did the Elk Meadow hike again and I need to be awake for tomorrow's hike. Sleep has been hard to come by so I am happy that I am tired tonight. 

The following posts are taken directly from my bariatric progress log on I've only copied the initial measurement entry and today's entry and then a bit on what they mean. 

August 2, 2011- Day before surgery: Measurements from pre-op at Dr. Tillquist's office on July 29, 2011: weight ~ 413 pounds; neck 21"; waist 62"; bicep 21"; thigh 30" BMI = 60.98. Feeling pretty good. More excited than scared. On a pre-surgical liquid diet. I hope I'll be able to sleep tonight. I need to be at the hospital by 5am for a 7:30 surgery. I should be home by mid afternoon. 

September 3, 2011 - One month. New measurements- neck 21"(no change), waist 54"(-8), bicep 21"(nc), thigh 30"(nc), BMI 53.3(-7.68) HS 361.4

If you adjust the initial weight for summer clothing then my first weigh in was actually 410 pounds, so today's weigh in at 361.4 represents a loss of almost 50 pounds. I continue to lose about a pound a day. In addition, the resulting weight loss has moved me from a Body Mass Index of 60.98 to 53.3 which is far more than I could have reasonably hoped for. 

While most of my measurements remained the same, my waist has been reduced by 8 inches IN ONE MONTH! Yes, this amazing weight loss could not have been possible without the surgery, but my commitment to the volume of food and my extremely, almost excessive, exercise routine has sped things up. My loss is not necessarily normal, but it is obviously possible if the patient works their ass off... literally. That's it. I'm too tired to continue. Thanks for visiting. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Successful weight loss methods

Elk Meadow Evergreen Colorado
This morning I weighed in at 364.8. That is a full 45 pounds lost in the month of August. I feel great. While the lap band surgery has helped thousands reclaim their healthy selves, I believe my results are atypical.

My extreme weight loss is due to a variety of tools that I don't believe most bariatric patients employ. First, let me say that I have not missed a single meal; albeit small meals. I think my meals edge more towards 1/3 cup rather than 1/4 cup of food. I'm probably eating 3-4 oz and I am supposed to be eating 2oz. I should get a portable scale and keep a fold up 1/4 cup in my pocket when we go out and I do challenge myself by going out with my wife and friends as often as possible. It's like a test of my will and so far I have been resoundingly successful. I have also gone out for drinks at which time I have been quite satisfied with pineapple juice. Obviously with my stage four liver disease, drinking is off the board anyway.

August 20, 2011 380 pounds
I have also been taking all of my vitamins and supplements as well as my bipolar meds. I was worried that I would have to adjust or split or crush my meds, but it hasn't been an issue. That is one of reason's that I had the lap band rather than gastric bypass. I was afraid my bipolar meds wouldn't absorb well, but, since my meds still go through the same gastronomic system, that hasn't been a problem at all. Maybe it will be more significant after I get my next band inflation on September 9th.

So why do I think I have been more successful than most? Because I prepared for the surgery since last November when I started going to weight related therapy and hypnotherapy to peel apart the layers of emotional crap that was partially responsible for my weight gain. In therapy, I found out that the sins of my past and the numerous suicides in my family had a greater effect on my psyche than I thought. The hypnosis helped me break my addiction to food. Mentally, I was ready for this opportunity.

Elk Meadow
I also worked on calibrating my bipolar meds so I would be able to manage, with the supervision of my psychiatrist, a steady course with the caveat that they may need to be adjusted as I lose weight. So far so good. I've felt somewhat in control of my symptoms. That doesn't mean that I don't float up and down or have anxiety attacks, but the frequency hasn't changed with the weight loss yet. I thought my body was purging fat stored Seroquel and it may have been, but I have recently stabilized and restored my normal prescribed dosages. It's important to emphasize the need for a healthy mind because, in the past, I ate to sooth emotional pain or reward myself with treats.

In addition, sleep is incredibly important and that is still a challenge for me. I can only sleep with heavy medication support. I recognize the importance of sleep and will continue to work on it. Last week was real bad and I have just regained control over my hypo-mania... I think.

Elk Meadow
Possibly the biggest contributor to my rapid weight loss has been exercise. Much like I was in 2009 as a vegan fighting to lose weight, I have been in the gym five days a week and I have been hiking on very challenging Rocky Mountain paths on the weekends with my thin and fast walking wife. I just try to keep up. It's important to note that exercise alone doesn't really effect weight loss directly, but it does make you feel stronger, lighter, and more healthy which only encourages you to stick to the diet. I love exercise. I love feeling fit. Even at my weight, people are amazed at my success with physical challenges. I am a lot faster with far more endurance than you could imagine.

My workouts always begin with 20 minutes on the treadmill. I don't just walk, I walk so fast that I just have to adjust the speed to send me into a fast jog (a run as far as I am concerned). This is a technique that I picked up from a exercise guru. Walk fast then run as fast as you can to trick your body into thinking you are running from life threatening threats. It's about working on your animal instincts. Your body says run and it automatically goes into a weight loss mode to try to protect you from said threat. Believe me it works.

Elk Meadow
The method I use is to walk fast for two or three minutes and then run like hell for a full minute and then go back to walking fast. When I am ready, I run for a minute again. Overall, I "run" for at least five times during the 20 minute treadmill. Two weeks ago when I returned to the gym after surgery, I could only go about a mile in 20 minutes, but now I am going 1.25 miles in 20 minutes and it gets a little better everyday.

After I am completed with the 20 minute "warm up" in which I become a sweaty mess, I work on the weights to keep my muscle tone. I don't want my weight loss to come from muscle breakdown. Besides, I want to look and feel big and strong. I naturally have huge arms and a wide chest so I look more like a body builder than an out of shape fat man. At least I like to think so. That is part of the reason I want to eventually be 190 to 200 pounds because I used to be more muscular than thin even when I was thin. One time I lost weight for modeling and I felt horrible. 200 is good for me.

Finally, if time permits, I shoot basketball hoops and go through drills for at least an additional 20 minutes or more. My entire workout can last 20 minutes when I don't have time to an hour and a half to two hours when I have the time.

Colorado trail 2009 at 350 pounds
I really didn't think I would lose 45 pounds in my first month, but I did and I fully intend on keeping the pace. If I do, then I should lose another 25 pounds in September and October and November thus making my weight around 275 when I have to start traveling again. There's nothing worse than not fitting into air plane seats on an overseas flight. 275 pounds?? No, that's insane. If I'm anywhere near 300 I will be ecstatic.

Regardless of the insane goals, I will continue to fight because the Obesity Warrior is back baby. The very best part of the lap band opportunity is that I won't ever gain the weight back. That is if I don't screw it up, but I doubt that I will. I need to be slimmer as fast as possible in case my liver and kidneys decide to fail. I become a better candidate for a transplant if I am thinner. I don't know the exact cutoff, but I imagine if I am 250 or so, then my weight should no longer be an issue. Tick tock.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Wonderful weekend of mountain hiking

The easy part
Since my last post on Thursday, I skipped the gym on Friday because I only slept a few hours on Thursday night. On Friday night I decided to take 200 mg of Seroquel as prescribed. I had backed it down by half, but I think that's why I wasn't sleeping. My problem with Seroquel is that it gives me restless wrists and legs, but it didn't on Friday. I woke up this morning at 4am to go to the restroom and I couldn't get back to sleep because my wrist had the restless thing. Maybe I'll be able to take a nap in the afternoon. Sleep is incredibly important for both bipolar disorder and weight loss. Your body does a lot of fat conversion while you sleep.

In addition to sleep, proper nutrition is critical. I have not missed a single meal or any days without vitamins and supplements. And, I have continued to push myself physically. On Saturday, my wife and I went up to Elk Meadow, Colorado again and hiked for 2 miles. I would say that trail is moderate. On Sunday, we got ambitious and went up to Mount Falcon and took the most extreme trail I think I could do even if I was skinny. Mount Falcon is breath taking, but this trail is breathtakingly beautiful. This particular trail starts at the top of the mountain where the parking lot is located and then plunges down a relatively steep and rough trail for about 3/4 of a mile. I think it is a descent of 500 feet or more. What goes down must come up. Hiking up on this trail is difficult. This hike was 3.2 miles and would easily classify as an intermediate to expert difficulty. It was 95 degrees and the sun was brutal when we passed through open spaces, but I drank massive quantities of water before, during, and after. So 5 miles of hiking for the weekend.

This morning I weighed in at 367.6 which is a total weight loss of 42.4 pounds since my surgery on August 3rd. When I said I would lose 43 pounds by the end of the month even I didn't believe I would actually lose that much, but we still have two days and I think I will probably hit the 45 pound mark. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Weight loss magic

Magic, I tell you. Magic
I used to say that I would pay anything to be thin. Well, I found out exactly how much I would pay to be thin. I used to also pray to God for some kind of miracle that would allow me to lose 10 pounds a month until I was the proper weight. This is the answer. Bariatric surgery can give you back your health and extend your life in ways you could have only dreamed of. Personally, I like the band, but the bypass is really better for those over 55 BMI.

As much as I may have been cautious about bariatric surgery, I am now changing my tune. The fact is that anyone can stick to a diet or life change for a year at most and then, particularly for morbidly obese people, the weight starts to come back and in a year or two your body's primal instinct to protect you from such foolish weight loss kicks in and you end up gaining all the weight back plus 10%. It happens to every morbidly obese person. It's 20 times harder for an obese person to lose weight and keep it off than all these skinny people who need to lose 20 pounds. Big babies.

But, this is magic. I have not skipped a single meal. I typically eat one scrambled egg with salsa for breakfast; I have some tuna salad or a small spring roll for lunch and then 2oz to 3oz of whatever animal protein that I have prepared for the family's dinner. I am the housewife. I do it all and I do it well. I have even gone out to restaurants and I have always found something tasty that can be eaten within the rules of size. The food itself should be healthy, but the real trick is consistency and texture.

I also have been drinking tons of water. Maybe as much as 100 oz of more. I allow myself one glass of decaffeinated tea in the late afternoon. If I feel an urge for chocolate or sweets, I just take one drink of my chocolate flavored "Boost" drink.

Oh yes, I also have found a way to exercise for 30 minutes or more per day. Because I am an overachiever, I have been hitting the gym every afternoon before I pick up my son from high school. So that's five days a week. First I walk/run 1.2 miles in twenty minutes on the treadmill. My goal is to get my heart rate up to 150. After the killer and dreaded treadmill I usually workout with some weights and I carefully hit all areas so I don't lose tonality of my muscles. And then I play basketball or do basketball drills against the walls. I'm usually there for 45 minutes to 90 minutes and I could out sweating like a roasting pig.

I also have been bathing myself in lotion so I hope all this will help avoid some of the sagging skin. The bottom line is that I thought I could lose 43 pounds in the first month. If we went from August 3rd to September 3rd, that would give me eight more days. Well, this morning I weighed 372 pounds (that's down from 413 before the surgery. I am easily going to hit 43 pounds in the first month. Weight loss magic. Considering the difference between the in office scale with clothes on and my in house weigh in's, as of this morning, I have lost 38 pounds! Wholly crap!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I love hiking in Rocky Mtn Nat Park
Recently I was asked about bipolar meds and weight. Almost all bipolar meds, particularly mood stabilizers and anti-anxiety meds, cause real weight gain. Some of the worst are Depakote and Seroquel; both of which are prescribed because the doctors weigh the pros and cons and usually decide in favor of weight gain.

My blood test came back with awesome results on basic nutrition, cholesterol, ect... However, my liver functions and my kidney functions have had a spike since two months ago. With that in mind, I am increasing my workouts and sticking to the meal plan like glue. My one indulgence is bubble yum and not the one without sugar. I need the sugar.

I love grape. 25 calories per yum
My weigh in this morning showed a loss of 36 pounds since August 3rd. I have tried everything and finally I have a fighting chance and I am not letting this opportunity fail. I also bathe in lotion and drink copious amounts of water between meals to try to keep my skin as healthy as possible because I find excessive flappy skin yucky (that's a medical term). Thank you for your encouragement.    

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The three and four week hunger pains and stagnated weight loss

Open open open
At the beginning of this past week I started feeling hunger pains as bad as I did before the surgery. I was told by the dietitian and my support group that there was an inflated hunger phase at the third and four week. Maybe mine came a little early because I have been hungry since Monday or maybe Tuesday. I fought it, but in retrospect, I was eating too many calories and I was snaking with almonds... a lot of almonds.

My weight loss stagnated. I didn't gain weight, but I stopped losing it as fast. I can now see that 15 pounds per month is going to be more realistic. But, I don't think there will be months where I only lose 10 pounds. I think 15 pounds will be the rule until I reach 200 or so.

Three things revealed themselves this week: First, the hunger weeks exist even for me. Second, as much as I wanted to deny it, the first few days of ridiculous weight loss was mainly water weight. I didn't think it was so much because I have always taken water pills otherwise known as diuretics, but, sure enough, all of the swelling around my ankles, calves, and feet has gone away... completely. So I must have lost some water weight. I would estimate as much as 10 pounds of water weight.

In addition, my increased gym time has built up muscle very quickly and muscle weighs more than fat.

Total photo shop. Maybe? nah
That being said, this morning, after a very strict Friday, I weighed in at 380.00. That makes my total weight loss to date at 30 pounds. Wow right? Well, believe it or not, I was disappointed. Stupid huh? Thirty pounds since my pre-op appointment on July 29th 2011. Of course, my real weight loss didn't begin until my liquid only pre-op day so I have really been losing weight since August 2nd. That's 30 pounds in 18 days.

Wow, that is insane. The best part is that I won't gain it back. That is unless I totally screw up the surgery by expanding my stomach or eating high calorie foods. A friend of mine that stopped losing weight eats fast food and ice cream. What does she expect? She knows and she is trying to fight it, but it all goes back to being fat in the head. I really think my pre-surgery weight inclined therapy and hypnosis has helped me and will continue to help me.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Walking the dogs. Literally

The one thing you need to do with any program to lose weight is to exercise everyday for 30 minutes. My son's wonderful Jeep needed to have the door jam re-welded and he took my BMW to his new job. And, at this point, I do not fit in my oldest son's Sunfire, so I found non-gym exercise.

I walked our dogs. I have to walk them separably. Tatum is getting old and she is super obedient. She stops at each crossing and sits until I tell her to cross and she doesn't pull my arm out of socket. However, our teenage puppy Captain is still crazy. I had to tell him to heal about every twenty steps or so, but I did get him to sit at the crossings... with effort. I walked each dog around the neighborhood path that I know equals one mile. So I walked two miles. I iced up my knee and I might try some more tonight.

Perhaps more realistic goals beyond bariatric surgery

Although I worked out pretty good yesterday, I might have had too many roasted salted almonds which kicked up my water retention. At any rate, my weight stagnated and I'm not ready to accept that quite yet. I know there will be a week real soon where I will only lose maybe 4 pounds, but that's still 16-17 pounds in a month. Today I will go back to liquid boost for breakfast and lunch and a regular 2oz dinner. And only clear water today.

I need more realistic expectations. I can't possibly support losing a pound a day. So by the end of this month, I want to reach 370 pounds, but lets say I only lose enough to be 375 by September 1st. Then I will try to lose 15 pounds in September and in October so that on November 1st, I want to weigh 345. Then lets say I do a blitz and get down to 335 by the time I have to fly to NYC (Nov 22). I have to give a keynote address for an exhibition so that would be awesome. I go to NYC at least once a year and it is normally in November. I'm pretty sure I weighed well over 400 last year. My NYC friends will be amazed.

At that rate I should be around 320 by the end of the year. That's a full 15 pounds more than my previous prediction. It's still a massive amount of weight. I have been "bathing" in special lotion at least three times a day to keep my skin as healthy and as moist as possible to try to shrink it up naturally. I also bought a surgical waist wrap that is supposed to hold everything in place like organs. I am going to use it to support the fat that in hanging below my belt line. Of course, it is like 52 inches so it will be a bit before I can use it.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Goals and expectations with the Realize band

First let me say that this subject is close to my mind because... I only lost two pounds since Friday. I know, it sounds stupid even as it leaves my lips, but I'm competitive; even about weight loss. For instance, if I only lost one pound a day for the rest of the month, I would have still lost an incredible and unrealistic 43 pounds. I don't expect to lose 43 pounds, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to shoot for it.

I couldn't set any weight loss goals before because I didn't really know the power of the adjustable band. Let's say that I do lose 40 pounds this month; then what do I, personally, expect to lose each month? I was thinking around 25 pounds per month for the first 100 pounds which would leave me with 60 pounds to lose and, thus, place me in about mid-November. Is it possible? I'm not sure, but I like to aim high and then raise the bar. Actually, by the time I go to my late father's solo exhibition and film screening in NYC on November 22, I hope to have reached the 300 pound mark. I sounds completely unreasonable and beyond rational expectations, but I'm going to leave it at that.

Even I admire his body
I know that it will take extreme culinary discipline and crazy exercise, but why not? I can do that. Wow, what a Christmas I would have if I were under 300 pounds. It would be awesome and why beyond my initial expectations. If I were able to reach 300 by the end of the year and I kept losing at the rate of 15 pounds per month, I could be around 180ish one year from now. Oh, do I dare dream! I haven't been 180 since I was 26.

In terms of a realistic to silly monthly goal:
By October 2011: 350 pounds
November 2011: 335
December 2011: 320
January 2012: 305
February 2012: 290
March 2012: 275
March 19th 2012 (My 47th birthday): 265 AWESOME!

Can I do it? I say, "Yes, I can!"

Friday, August 12, 2011

AWESOME First Post-Op Appointment LOST 24 Pounds in two weeks!

I've been hitting the gym everyday since Tuesday I think. Trying to fill one hour workout. Today I rode the stationary bike for one mile (still a little chaffed), walked a mile on the indoor track and played basketball. 

I'm eating well. I tried some grilled skinless chicken (1/4 cup) last night. No problems and felt full the whole night. The whole not drinking liquids for 45 minutes during and after dinner is a piece of cake. Today I ate tuna salad (80 calories!) and it was fine. As long as you chew well and only eat 1/4 cup or 2 ounces, this thing works fine.

Today I went into my first post op appointment and it went well. I officially lost 24 pounds since the pre-op appointment on July 29th. I have also healed well enough that Dr. Tillquist went ahead and gave me my first port fill injections. First he numbed the area about the port and then I didn't feel a thing. I can feel that the aperture is narrower, but it feels fine and liquid is flowing well. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Soft foods and exercise

Gratuitous girl illustration 
Yesterday I went to the gym for one hour. First, I rode the stationary bike for one mile. I could have done far more, but I didn't want my butt to get chaffed. Then, I used the treadmill for twenty minutes alternating my pace from slow walk to gallop. I'm not allowed to lift weights for one more week, so I shot basketball for the remainder of the time. It felt nice to get a good workout in. I renewed my membership so I can go everyday even if it's just for a 30 minute walk around the track.

I experimented with more soft foods yesterday. I drank some Boost protein drink in the morning and then I tried some regular yogurt for lunch because the Greek yogurt was far too bitter. For dinner I had about a quarter cup of split pea soup and the rest of my yogurt from lunch. I actually felt a little guilty because I ate the four spoon full of yogurt at dinner. Silly. I made the family some ham and cheese sandwiches and corn and broccoli salad. It is hard to sit there while they are eating, but I feel that I must do it as a demonstration to myself of true will power. So far it's been surprisingly fine.

I don't have that much hunger pains, but my digestive track can sometimes sound like a slow rolling thunderstorm. I think it's just acid trying to figure out what to do with itself. This morning I weighed 388.4 pounds on my home scale right out of the shower. Even with my home scale benchmark of 400, I have still lost 12 pounds in one week. It's actually far more, but my scale only goes up to 400 so I had to wait until I lost enough weight to register on my scale. Realistically, I would guess that I have lost 18 pounds since my pre-op appointment.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ridiculus weight loss

Rocky Mtns. '09 vegan diet 315 pounds
Weight loss recap to date: July 29th 2011 "in-office" weight with clothes on 413. Post-op "At home" benchmark without clothes set at 400 on August 5th (after four days of liquid diet). You could probably add 5 pounds for difference between doctor's scale and home scale. We'll get that calibration on Friday when I visit Dr. Tillquist. According to my "at-home" digital scale I weigh 391 this morning.

The big question is "Where does the fat go?" The short answer is that your body converts the calories stored in fat cells (and muscle) into useable energy.

The long answer: Ultimately most fat ends up as carbon dioxide and water, but only after many transformations. The fat in white adipose tissue consists of fatty acids, stored very efficiently as triglycerides, which can be released to provide energy when needed. You lose weight when the food you eat doesn’t provide all the energy your body needs and so some of these fatty acids are released into the bloodstream, transported by a special blood protein and taken up by cells that need energy. If there is sufficient oxygen available, a series of enzymes then converts the fatty acids into carbon dioxide, water and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) – the immediate source of energy for powering muscle, liver and other cells. Since most of the components of ATP are reused inside the cell to make new ATP, the end product of all this activity is that the atoms that once made up your fat leave your body as breath, sweat and urine.

Bottom line: I need to bump up the exercise.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Doubting Thomas

Sometimes I think people want you to fail. This weekend we had relatives over and all they could talk about is how many people they know that have failed with the lap band. The story is always basically the same. Someone go the lap band and lost 50 pounds and then started eating bad food or overeating so they could stretch their stomachs. The lap band is a tool. It gives me a fighting chance at a normal life in which I can get a new liver and live forever.

It is no the lap band that has failed; rather, it was the lap band that was failed. Anyone can mess up a good thing and if someone gets the lap band and then overeats or becomes an alcoholic, then it's their fault. For every person that fails the lap band there are 20 that have succeeded. People just don't want to hear good news because it's not as fun. Maybe it's not the "fun" factor. I think it's probably that people need to talk poorly about other people in order to feel better about themselves.

Nonetheless, most statistics gauge the amount of weight lost by the various types of surgeries. In every case, without complications, people lose weight. How much and for how long is purely the responsibility of the patient and not the surgical procedure. The fact is that bariatric surgery is necessary in every super morbid obesity case I have ever heard of. In terms of success rates, the long term weight loss from bariatric surgery far exceeds any traditional diet or extreme weight loss like the television show "The Biggest Loser." I am more interested to see the tv show's long term success rate with people that lost weight on the show. I am sure it is dismal. Anyone can lose weight for 6 months, 9 months, maybe even a year, but morbidly obese will eventually gain the weight back. That is where the surgery is different. I guessing here because good data is hard to find, but I wouldn't be surprised to hear that 95% of surgery patients lose significant weight and, of those, 80% keep the weight off for life. Those are stats that I can life with.

Where does the fat go?
Since my surgery I have lost an estimated fifteen pounds. On the doctor's scale on August 29th I weighed 413 with my clothes on (polo shirt shorts and tennis shoes). This morning, without clothes on, I scaled in at 393.6. If there is is a difference of five pounds between the two scales then I still lost fifteen pounds. On Friday I will go to the surgeons office and we can see what the difference really is.

My infection is gone and I am no longer constipated. I did a lot of walking this weekend and I think I'm ready for the gym without lifting weights. The most important thing is that I feel better already. My clothes are fitting better and I can get into and out of my low profile BMW easier.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Possible infection

Denver Art Museum Hamilton Bldg.
Hello, I'm going to try to keep this post short because I want to go to the museum this morning. Right now I am using places to make sure that I am walking around enough. Yesterday I went to the Douglas County Fair which was interesting from a scholarly point of view, but really not my cup of tea. I prefer the warm of the big city to cow pastures. However, I did walk around and I did not have any soreness nor did my incisions hurt.

Last night before I went to bed I noticed that the longer incision on my right side felt warm. It may be an infection that my body could fight, but I am taking no chances so I called Dr. Tillquist this morning and he called into my pharmacy a prescription for antibiotics. I am allergic to most antibiotics, but I haven't had any trouble with a super strong set called "Z-Pak." Z-Pak is the trade name for Zithromax which is actually Azithromycin which is in the group of drugs called macrolide antibiotics. 

Last week when I had my pre-op appointment with my doctor I scaled in at 413. Yesterday when I used my own scale without clothes on I weighed 400. This morning I used the same at home base line and weighed 397. Regardless of the accuracy between the doctor's scale and mine, I am losing hand fulls of weight. Now I need to exercise to make sure I'm not losing muscle. I am still on a liquid diet and I feel less hungry than I usually... did.

Friday, August 5, 2011

A photo of my liver

During the bariatric surgery, my surgeon was able to take a photo of my liver. I have been diagnosed with stage four grade one liver cirrhosis and this is what it looks likes. Yup, going to need a new one soon.
Healthy liver

Day 3 after bariatric surgery

Special Heavyweight Scale
Last Friday, during my pre-op visit to the surgeon I weighed 413 pounds. This morning, on my scale, I weighed 400 pounds. I couldn't use my scale before because it only went up to 400. So this is good that I have an at home base weight. The scale I use is a high quality digital so I trust it, but I took my weight before I ate breakfast and without clothes so it is going to be a bit off. But, it is my base lien and I will try to take my weight under the same conditions each time.

Yesterday afternoon to evening the five incisions really hurt, but none were extra red and hot so I don't think that they are infected. I have to keep an eye on that. The first day I drank three 12oz bottles of Boost protein drink, but I was only supposed to drink one cup at a time which is 8oz so yesterday I only drank two of the bottles. I can definitely feel the funnel effect, but nothing has gotten stuck or backed up yet.

If I stick to the rules, backups or clogs shouldn't happen. If they do, I should first give it time to melt or slip through. Maybe a small sip of water and if those things don't work, I'll just spit it up. You don't want to get into the habit of spitting up because it can make the band slip out of place and, if it becomes common, then your teeth enamel will start wearing down and you can quickly develop tooth decay and gingivitis.

Yesterday my stomach muscles were also sore and it started raining, so I let my grocery shopping trip be my exercise. Today I will take a walk and maybe go to the Douglas County Fair where my cousin Bobby is working.

I received the New Life chew-able cherry flavored bariatric lap band vitamins and they taste horrible. For now on I'm going to chew them lightly and swallow as fast as I can. I'll also keep something good to drink to cut the nasty. I also received a bottle of probiotics for digestion and good pooping. I haven't pooped since Tuesday, but it's not that big of a deal yet since my body is still trying to figure out where the food is. I also got a sample bottle of hair and nail supplements. One of the biggest complaints about the surgery is that you lose hair for about three months while your body adjusts. I think these packets will help avoid that all together. They also sent a sample protein peanut butter bar and some easy to chew baked potato chips and a dry protein mix in a fill-able bottle if you find yourself away from your normal food supply

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Day one after my surgery

My silly sons
I'll try to explain in detail about how I feel. I slept great last night. I started out sleeping on my back and then rolled to the side. Once I was there I got comfortable. Each of the incision points are sore, but my stomach muscles are the sorest so things like sitting up and bending down hurt, but it's not unbearable. I am on oxycodon so the pain is moderated. I am taking 5 mg about every four hours so I'm not all tanked up.

Last night I couldn't even feel any obstruction in my stomach, but I didn't chance it anyway. I took slow sips of my Boost protein drink and water. I was able to pee easier as the night went on. My walk down the block was uneventful. I didn't have any more pain than I do sitting down. I was able to take my medications without breaking them up. That was probably one of my biggest anxieties, but their rule about nothing bigger than a peanut is holding up.

Fat Man. No not me, the atomic bomb. Los Alamos NM
This morning when I woke I noted considerable bruising around the incisions, particularly the longest one on my right side. But no oozing or blood on my sheets this morning. Moving around is still easy. My bedroom is downstairs so I have to use them a lot and I haven't had any trouble. I did reach down and picked  up my nearly two year old niece without thinking. She's 28 pounds and I'm not supposed to lift anything over 25 pounds for two weeks.

Perhaps it the swelling, but I can now feel cold water slowing down before the lapband. I was once again able to take all of my morning meds without incident. I can feel the lapband when I swallow water or my morning Boost drink, but it seems to be completely bearable. I also don't feel real hungry like I did before. I've heard that the third and fourth week can be a bitch as far as feeling hungry, but then it goes away.

Realize Band
The lapband feels like a funnel at the base of my ribs. I have yet to venture with a large gulp so I haven't had any back up or any problems with the band. I don't think it's going to be as hard as I thought. I even sit with the family during meals and it's not a big deal watching them eat. Since I had been eating light over the weekend and having been on a liquid diet since Tuesday, I can already feel some of the bloating going down. I hate the feeling of being stuffed and I will never have to worry about that again. I feel pretty good in general this morning. I will be driving around a bit today and I will take the dogs for a much longer walk today.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Post operation video of myself in the recovery room!

In case you didn't catch my post-op details, they are on the previous blog post. I am posting these from my home computer. Amazing surgical procedure. Surgery in the morning, home by 2:30pm. Awesome. After I upload this video I'm going to walk around the block.

I'M HOME!!!! The surgery went GREAT!!!

Just a short note because I want to go through all of the details later. And I made a video of myself in the recovery room. You are not going to believe it. The nurse that helped with the surgery is a patient herself. She had the lapband surgery two years ago and she's lost 175 POUNDS. She looked awesome!

My surgery started at exactly 7:30am as scheduled. I'm not completely sure how long it lasted, but I was in and out in the recovery room for about two and a half hours. I was supposed to be out an hour earlier, but I was taking a great nap! I went into the next recovery room where my wife was and stayed in bed for another hour.

I felt fine and my wounds looked great so they let me walk around and then they discharged me. I believe I got home around 2:30pm I was able to walk around including stairs with only a little bit of discomfort. The most painful spot was where they installed the fill port because it goes between skin and muscle and it was on TOP of my spleen!

I am just taking Oxycodone, but twice as much as I normally take. I had trouble urinating for about a half hour and then I went to sleep in my own bed. I slept for another two hours and then was woken up by a surprise visit from my in-laws who live in Booneville, Arkansas. And I was able to urinate.

As I write I am drinking a "Boost" chocolate protein drink very slowly and I will take another pain pill because I am a bit uncomfortable and I don't want to be "a lot" uncomfortable later. That's it for now. Thanks for visiting and pass my info to friends and family that are curious about the lapbad. I will also make a short entry onto the new website .

Leaving to the hospital

It's 4:30am in Colorado and it's time to go to the hospital. I'm not really nervous. I'm still excited. It's been a long road. I'll try to get my wife to tape me in the recovery room. I do wonder what the appliance will feel like. Will it feel like a lump in my throat? Will I feel it a all? I'm sure I'll notice it when I start eating ice chips. I think the hardest part will be swallowing water. I like the to guzzle ice water. Time.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

New companion website launched today!

I thought I needed a companion website to this blog to post daily post surgical stats and an easier way to find important information about bariatric surgery and bipolar disorder. It can be found at I'll add information as time goes on.

Day of surgery instructions

Tomorrow is the day of my surgery. Today I feel as if I have been waiting in line for two hours to get on a roller coaster ride. As the coaster pulls into the loading area, butterflies prevail and I am wondering how this coaster stays on the tracks. If I were afraid of flying which I am not, it be would be as if I were about to take off. I'm really more excited than scared. Actually, I don't feel scared at all. Maybe I should be, but I am not. 

I will be at the hospital at 5am; precisely 2 1/2 hours before surgery (7:30am). Today I am on a liquid only diet; not a clear liquid diet so I can drink instant breakfast drinks or products like Ensure up until mid-night, but I will try to only have three today. The rest of the day will be clear liquids by choice. Between 12am and 3am I may drink clear liquids. Absolutely nothing four hours before surgery. I will take my morning dosages of my normal medication around mid-night. 

According to the directions from my anesthesiologist, on the day of the surgery, I am not supposed to take any medications that require food or milk; no oral diabetic meds; glucophage?; diuretics (water pills), OR anticoagulants. The only one of these restrictions that even applies to me is the water pills and I took one today so I won't need one tomorrow anyway. I AM supposed to take my other meds, particularly my pain meds (Oxycodone).

"Sleeping man" by Ron Mueck
When I arrive at 5am an IV will be placed and... I'm not sure why I have to be there two and a half hours early. I have already had my pre-admittance and pre-op appointment on Friday, but it seems to be normal procedure. Again, the surgery will take one to one and a half hours if they don't have any complications. After the surgery I will be in the recovery room for another one and a half hours. I will be allowed to eat ice chips and I should be able to walk around the hall before they discharge me. I'm sure that I will sleep most of the rest of the day after I get into my own bed.

Quick note about daily medication: After surgery I can only take medication that is less than the size of a peanut which means I will either get the liquid forms or split or crush them. Due to the limitations on drinking capacity, it may take me a long time to take all of my pills. 

Comparable chart: Bariatric vs. regular vitamin supplements

Gastric Bypass / Gastric Sleeve Vitamins
New Life chew-able VitaminsCentrum once daily Vitamins

Cost Per MonthVitamin Supplementation$25.50?

# Tablets/Day6 tablets/2 scoops powder1 tablet

Vitamin A10,000 IU10,000 IU3500 IU

Vitamin C120 mg120 mg60 mg

Vitamin D800 IU1600 IU400 mg

Vitamin E60 IU200 IU30 IU

Vitamin K160 mcg240 mcg25 mcg

Thiamin3 mg6 mg1.5 mg

Riboflavin3.4 mg8 mg1.7 mg

Niacin40 mg40 mg20 mg

B 648 mg2 mg

Folic Acid800800 mcg400 mcg

B12350-500 mcg600mcg6 mcg

Biotin600600 mcg30 mcg

Pantothenic Acid2040 mg10 mg

Calcium1500 - 2000 mg2000 mg200 mg

Iron18-27 mg36 mg18 mg

Magnesium800 mg800 mg50 mg

Zinc15 mg30 mg11 mg

Selenium110 mcg140 mcg55 mcg

Copper4 mg4 mg.5 mg

Manganese3.6 mg4 mg2.3 mcg

Chromium240 mcg240 mcg35 mcg

Molybdenum150 mcg200 mcg45 mcg