Saturday, July 16, 2011

Saturday July 16th 2011 ~ Preparing for the Realize Band shock

Make no mistake. Life after the surgery is going to be a shock to my system. I'm not afraid of it because I know I can master the situation. Other than struggling with bipolar episodes and panic attacks, I am in full control of my life. I have reinvented myself several times.

When I was 20 I told my wife I would be a vice president of the warehouse company where I began as a forklift driver in ten years. True to my word, I worked my tail off and took on every detail they promoted me to and after ten years I had the title of General Manager over seven large warehouses and I was working out of the former VP office complete with a personal secretary. They wouldn't give me the title of VP only because I hadn't completed my college degree. It was suggested that the college barrier could be circumvented through my enrollment to night school at Cal State Hayward or Berkeley. I had two young children and a devoted wife who was working as a stay at home mom and I worked over 60 hours a week. There was no room for college until my father died and left me enough money to take a professional break and return to college full-time.

The first day of college a counselor told me this was my opportunity to graduate with straight "A's." I took the challenge and graduated sum cum laude and third in a class of 900. I had my choice of graduate and law schools, but my wife was warned by other wives that law school would be the most demanding yet so I choose to return to Colorado and attend The University of Denver's School of Law. While preparing to move from NY to Colorado the university's graduate school of international studies offered me a scholarship and a prestigious fellowship so I transferred from the law school to GSIS and worked on a master's in international security.

In my last year of graduate school I had co-founded an internet company that immediately started to expand beyond our expectations and I successfully presided as the President/CEO until we lost funding 3.5 years later. That's when I had to be hospitalized for a severe bipolar episode. I was suicidal. The medication I was prescribed increased my weight by over 100 pounds.

A few years later I was working as a successful auto broker and I returned to graduate school and completed a Master's in Education/ Instructional Design. For a short time I served as CEO for a snow board company, but I realized it required far more funding than I would be able to raise so I returned to brokering autos.

Then I got sick and they told me I had leukemia. I also was hospitalized while having the most severe psychotic/bipolar episode in my life. I literally can not remember the month of January 2008. It was sad and scary for my wife because no one knew if I would ever come back to reality. But, I did and I struggled with my health while my financial life was in ruins and we lost our $500,000 home and we had to share a house with my wife's aunt.

One day I woke up and decided I was going to work from home as a writer. Two years later I have this blog, several freelance writing gigs, and I am about to complete my first book. I already have several literary agents interested in publishing my book and requests for two other books; the first of which is a book about my trek to bariatric surgery and beyond. I have also been asked many times to write a book about my famous late father. Today I earn a living managing my late father's film and art career and writing.

My point is that I have always been able to over achieve professionally and personally. I've been happily married for 27 years and we have raised three wonderful sons. Out of everything I have accomplished, I am most proud of my family. Successful marriage and parenting takes a lot of commitment and hard work. It doesn't just happen.

But there is one area that I have failed and that is in the category of weight control, but I am taking control over it through this surgery. I have no illusions about life after surgery. It is going to be an emotional struggle as I break my addiction to food and bring my body into the shape it needs to be in in order to be a good candidate for a liver transplant.

What things are going to change:

  • I will go from eating basically anything to eating one quarter cup of specific food three times a day. That is going to require a severe change in diet. I will no long be able to drink alcohol (done), drink caffeine (almost done), eat bread, grains including rice and oats, drinking anything carbonated, and nearly eliminating sugar. My diet will now be about proteins and more proteins. What I can eat will be dictated by texture and nutritional value. Basically meat, but not all meats (no more steak), eggs, cheese (within limits), fish, and soy products. It's going to be hell for a while until I adjust, but I'm stronger than my weight and I will succeed because I want to and I must.
  • Medications are going to be a challenge. I take medication for my thyroid, bipolar disorder, anxiety, sleep, and pain management (my spleen and liver to a lesser degree). They suggest that you switch to liquid medications, but only a few of my medications are available as liquids. The rest I will have to split or crush. A few of my pills are small enough to swallow through my new stomach, but only a few out of many.
  • Psychological struggles will no doubt arise. I am a healthy muscular man trapped in a morbidly obese body. As I start losing weight people will treat me different. At some point children will stop giggling at the fat man and people my stop calling me big man. I have a sincere smile and people smile back at me, but it's going to be a fun day when someone flirts with me. It's been a long time. I will have to overcome the emotional scars of being fat and ridiculed. Make no mistake; fat people are constantly discriminated on and it seems that we are the last frontier of open season for politically incorrect jokes and snide comments. I will do whatever I can through my next book to bring attention to the ridicule that society dishes out on fat people. People see obesity as a weakness. I propose that food addition is the most pervasive addiction known to man.
  • Let's not forget clothing. I have a lot of clothes to wear as I descend from 400 pounds to 300 pounds, but after that I will have to be constantly buying new clothes that are not as visibly baggy. I suppose that's okay since style has changed since I was thin. 
  • One other change that, perhaps, people don't think about is floppy skin. I think my skin is still somewhat pliable, but I will undoubtedly need to have plastic surgery to remove excess skin. So, my next little nest egg of savings will be for skin removal.
  • Of course there are huge upsides beyond the obvious. It will be easier to fit into cars and economy airplane seats. Personal hygiene will get easier right away. Right now I shower often because toilet paper is just not good enough. I will fit into more chairs without worrying about their capacity load. I will be able to scoot by people and obstructions better. Perhaps one of the greatest things will be ease of putting on socks. I can do it now, but it's hard and I need to be sitting on my bed to do it.
  • Oh yeah, then there is general motion. If you are at an ideal weight, imagine carrying yourself around everywhere every moment. Simple walking and exercising will become easier. I can't wait for that. And then there sex. Of course I am perfectly capable now. I have found creative ways around my obesity and I have a very healthy sex life, but it's going to get even better when I become... more flexible. Yes, I am looking forward to feeling sexy again.
My life is about to change in so many ways that it will be a shock to my food addiction, my body, my psyche, my self-esteem, and to basically everything and you know what? I can't frick'n wait! 18 days to go!     

1 comment:

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