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