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.