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It’s been a month since the sleeve…

January 19, 2020, 2:05 PM

It has been a little more than a month since I had the gastric sleeve surgery.  As of my one-month follow-up appointment with the doctor on January 7, I had lost 23 pounds since the surgery.  That is on top of the 16 pounds that I lost while I was on the pre-op liquid diet, for a total of 39 pounds lost in about six weeks.  Not bad.  I will get weighed next in the middle of February when I have my DOT physical, and so I’ll see how my weight loss is continuing at that time.

The time in the hospital was certainly an interesting experience, and my discussion of it in a previous Journal entry was a bit inadequate, since I was not quite feeling like myself again when I wrote it.  I’ve also learned a few things since then about what I experienced that I didn’t know at the time.  For one thing, I realized that the reason that I hurt all over was from the gas that they use with the laparoscopy.  As part of that process, they pump your abdomen full of carbon dioxide, and that stuff has to go somewhere once the surgery is over.  When everyone said “gas pains” about the surgery, I was expecting something more akin to bloating like when you eat something that doesn’t agree with you.  You know the kind where you go into the bathroom, you produce a little tiny Brazil nut-sized poop and then just fart a lot but feel better afterward?  That’s what I was expecting.  This was not that.  It turns out that the body has to absorb that gas, and it makes everything hurt, including things that had nothing to do with the surgery.  My upper back was sore.  My shoulders were sore.  My calves were sore, too.  It went away after a couple of days, but it definitely made for an unpleasant night at the hospital, since I was sore from that, and all of the stuff that they had attached to me made it difficult to move around in the bed.  Let’s just say that I was thankful to sleep in my own bed again the following night.  That pain from the gas was a lot more manageable when I was in familiar surroundings and not hooked up to a bunch of stuff.

You’ve also got to love the things that you say while you’re under the influence of the various things that they have you on in the hospital.  They gave me all kinds of anti-nausea meds, for one, but then when it was time to go into the operating room, they gave me some stuff through my IV that made me a bit loopy just before wheeling me in.  I got into the operating room, and I was thinking, oooooooooooh, look at the pretty lights as I studied all of the reflectors on them.  Then when they gave me the gas to put me out, all I could think of was that I wasn’t feeling sleepy.  Then the next thing that I remembered, it was done.  Later, as two nurses were wheeling me to my room on a stretcher, my hospital gown was apparently disheveled, because they asked me if my testicles were swollen.  I said, “No, I just have long nuts.”  I imagine that the nurses kind of died a little inside when I said that, but I suppose that such is what happens when the anesthesia is wearing off, because I certainly wouldn’t say that in real life.  But it made for a good laugh later on.

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Categories: Weight loss

Christmas in Baltimore…

December 29, 2019, 8:35 AM

So Christmas was pretty fun this year.  On Christmas Eve, we had dinner with some of Elyse’s father’s relatives, and then on Christmas Day, we got together with some of Elyse’s mother’s relatives.  This was my first holiday with my new, smaller stomach, and so I was still getting used to its new capacity, figuring out how much I should take, what will be tolerated, and so on.  I believe that I overdid it by a tad on Christmas Eve, likely by eating foods that I wasn’t ready for yet, but I more or less nailed it on Christmas.  When you have a gastric sleeve like I did, you have to chew everything really well, and also not drink and eat at the same time.  Generally speaking, you have to give your stomach time to process the food that it just took in before resuming liquid intake.  Also, if you put too much in at once, it will get rejected, either by getting sent through to the intestines, or it’s coming back up.  But anyway…

After dinner on Christmas, Elyse and I went planespotting near BWI.  We had discusssed doing this for some time, even before our planespotting adventure at National, and on this particular occasion, it just worked out.  We were already in the Glen Burnie area, I had my real camera with me, and we had about an hour or so of daylight to play with.  The location where you typically planespot for BWI is actually specially designated for that purpose: the Thomas A. Dixon, Jr. Aircraft Observation Area.  It’s a very nice area that’s operated by Anne Arundel County, with a walking trail, playground equipment for the kids, and plenty of space to watch planes take off and land.  On this particular day, planes were landing over the park, and so I got some landing photos.  When it comes to planespotting at BWI, it can, for the most part, be summed up in one word: Southwest.  BWI is a focus city for Southwest, and as such, sees more Southwest traffic than anything else, and that also means a lot of Boeing 737s.

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I have been sleeved…

December 7, 2019, 7:50 PM

So it’s a done deal.  I received a sleeve gastrectomy on December 6 at Montgomery General Hospital.  Here I am the following morning:

Selfie at the hospital

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Excited, nervous, and so many other feelings…

November 17, 2019, 9:56 AM

This coming December 6, I will be going in for surgery at Montgomery General Hospital in Olney, where I will be having a sleeve gastrectomy procedure, commonly known as a gastric sleeve.  This is a surgery that will help with weight management.  This is done laparoscopically, and it removes a portion of the stomach, leaving a much smaller stomach behind that’s roughly the size of a banana.  This one only reduces the size of the stomach, and preserves the original path of the digestive tract.  Compare to the older Roux-en-Y procedure, which separates the stomach into two sections, and reroutes the digestive tract.

I am doing this because I have been heavy for most of my life (I haven’t seen the underside of 200 since eighth grade), and diet and exercise alone haven’t gotten me nearly as far as I needed to be.  Sure, I looked far better at 275 than I did at 384, but it was still too much weight to carry, and I still had weight-related health issues at the lower weight.  Over the course of the past year, I have attended classes with a dietitian, had various evaluations and tests done (the endoscopy that I wrote about last April was part of that), and after all of that, the insurance gave the surgery their blessing.

I have to say that I have a bunch of different feelings running through me about this.  On one hand, I know that this is a necessary step.  My primary care doctor first suggested it to me about a year ago, and then I unexpectedly got a second opinion within a month or so from a specialist that I was seeing when they suggested it as well.  As far as I was concerned, that was a pretty strong indicator about what I needed to do, when two out of two doctors, in their professional opinion, suggested it, completely unsolicited.  I also feel like I’m ready for it.  I know what I’m supposed to do to prepare for the surgery, I know what I’m supposed to do immediately after surgery, and I know what I’m doing during the healing process and thereafter on the maintenance diet.  At the end of every dietitian class, they told us “Chew, chew, chew, sip, sip, sip, and walk, walk, walk.”  I’ve also stocked up on my multivitamins and my calcium citrate, as gastric sleeve patients will take multivitamins and calcium supplements for life.  This also has the potential to get me off of some of the medications that I’m on as well as the CPAP (for sleep apnea).  That latter point is exciting, because while I’m used to the CPAP, it’s still a bother, and I would be more than happy to be rid of the device that I’ve described as “the most expensive fan that I’ve ever owned”.  I’ve also spoken with colleagues who have had the same surgery, and they have generally had good experiences, which leaves me feeling optimistic.  After all, if they can succeed with this while doing very sedentary work, then so can I.

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This year, I want to slim back down to where I was in 2012…

February 19, 2015, 3:28 AM

While I was between jobs, I put on a bit of weight, most likely due to reduced activity due to my being out of work, and out of a routine.  My current job, where I operate a bus, is not exactly conducive to physical activity, considering that I sit strapped to a seat for nine hours a day.  Pushing pedals and turning steering wheels does not count as physical activity, though I was getting nighttime leg cramps from it for a while. I also was a bit lazy when it came to exercise once I finished training and got my own assignment.  I work late afternoon into the wee hours of the morning, and initially would tend to sleep in a bit.  The only exercise I got was just under two miles on Sundays, going to and from a street relief that was just a shade under a mile away from the bus garage.  I also now drive to work in my car, which means that I don’t get any activity related to my own commute.

However, now that the bus has finally become routine and I’m really starting to get the hang of things (and – heaven forbid – having fun at work), I can start getting serious about fitness again.  After all, one of my more recent splash photos shows me looking like this:

The October 2014 splash photo, taken on July 5, 2014

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Have not run the air conditioner yet this year…

June 27, 2013, 11:58 PM

I don’t know about you, but I have not yet run the air conditioner in the house once this year.  I realized this when I got a memo from the property management last week that said that they were coming through to do the quarterly filter changes on our HVAC units.  I realized that they could probably save a few bucks on my apartment’s filter, because I barely used my HVAC unit at all in the last few months.  The last time the filter was changed was March 27 (first time in six years that I was actually there for it), and I think I may have run the heat a couple of times, but otherwise the thing has been more or less silent all season.  And I will say this: it’s nice to have a June electric bill of $50.13.  That’s my lowest June bill yet, and that’s even against the very mild summer of 2009.

That brings me to the next question: has it been a really mild summer this year, or is it just me?  The last three summers, I had the air conditioning on for much of the summer, and needed it.  This year, nothing.  I’m starting to wonder if it’s just me, though, since I’ve heard people complain about how warm it is outside and the humidity and such, but then when I’ve been outside, I’ve been fine.  Can’t complain.  Seriously, I even wore my hat all the way through to June 21 this year.  This week is the first where I haven’t worn it to and from the office.

This whole thing about my being not hot at all while many others have complained makes me wonder if it’s not related to the massive weight loss in 2011-2012 (I’ve been more or less stable since July 2012, much to my dismay – I want to lose even more).  The last time we had a mild summer, in 2009, I was quite the little porker, tipping the scales somewhere in the upper 300s range.  And then for two out of the last three summers, I was still quite heavy.  Therefore, I wonder if having so much extra body fat for so long has altered my perceptions of what’s hot vs. not.

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Categories: House, Weight loss

Driving in Virginia on Thanksgiving morning…

November 22, 2012, 7:04 PM

First of all, greetings from Stuarts Draft, where I will be through Sunday.  And so far, so good.  The drive went surprisingly well, and then Thanksgiving dinner was absolutely wonderful.

Considering how well my drive went today, though, I don’t know why anyone would want to go driving on the day before Thanksgiving.  Seriously, this was one of the easiest drives to Stuarts Draft that I’ve had in a long time.  I left the house around 8:45, and it was more or less smooth sailing the entire way.  Georgia Avenue in Montgomery County, from my house to the Beltway, was no problem.

On that note, by the way, does anyone know what’s going on with the Freestate gas station on Georgia Avenue at Layhill Road?  This is how it looked this morning:

The Freestate station on Georgia Avenue

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Leaving the era of big clothing behind…

April 14, 2012, 10:20 PM

So today was a day where I did something that felt really good, as I got rid of most of the clothes that I had that were now too large for me. This process started last week when I went through all of my clothes and sorted things out a bit. There were three main groups. The stuff that I was keeping stayed in the closet and the dresser, i.e. right where it was. The stuff that I was getting rid of and could donate to Goodwill went in laundry baskets. And then finally, the stuff that I was getting rid of and was also in such poor condition that I couldn’t donate it went on the floor.

And this is the result of that sorting:

That surprised me. I expected that I would be getting rid of one basket’s worth of clothes. When I started going through my clothes, I put out one laundry basket. I filled that up in no time at all. Good thing that I have four laundry baskets. I used three of them.

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Categories: Clothing, Weight loss

Does my left wrist need something else?

April 1, 2012, 11:38 PM

In the process of losing weight over the course of the last year, a lot of areas of my body have changed shape. My waist is a lot smaller. My thighs have gotten smaller. I have no behind anymore (and it is now uncomfortable to sit on hard surfaces). My face is noticeably slimmer now. And, surprisingly (but not too surprisingly), my wrists have gotten a lot smaller. Compare for a moment:

My wrist on May 20, 2011

My left wrist on May 20, 2011. This is a crop of this image from the Kings Dominion trip.

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Categories: Jewelry, Weight loss

How many boxes can I hold at once? This many!

February 8, 2012, 11:34 AM

So a coworker got an amusing photo of me. I picked up and moved a stack of half case boxes of paper today after unloading the contents, and managed to get them all at once. Take a look at this:

Holding five boxes over my head

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Categories: Amusing, Weight loss, Work

3-6-9, debt is on the line, G20, IMF policies ain’t fine…

January 29, 2012, 6:22 PM

A friend suggested this evening that, since I’ve lost so much weight in the last year, I try on my old radical cheerleader outfit and see how it fits. So I did.

Here are the results:

 

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Categories: Activism, Weight loss

My foot claims its first victim…

January 28, 2012, 7:59 AM

It’s not even 8:00 yet, and already today’s a wash. I was going to go to the Maryland polar bear plunge at Sandy Point State Park today, but health issues have conspired against me to prevent this from coming to fruition.

See, it’s once again my stupid foot that’s acting up. I’m not quite sure what it is, but I’m making an additional appointment to see the podiatrist this week, because this is the second time in two weeks that my left foot has become painful to walk on, and we need to get to the bottom of this. Two weeks ago it was minor and I could ignore it, but this time around, I can barely walk. So this makes four foot issues that I’ve had over the span of six months. Once on the right foot that resolved itself and hasn’t come back, and now three times on the left. There is something seriously wrong with one or both of my feet. I’m pretty confident that it is related to my getting in better shape, since this didn’t happen until the pounds started melting away like magic, and the amount of physical activity that I was involved in got to be a lot more.

A couple of my friends on Facebook suggested that it might be gout, but I’m pretty confident that it’s not that. Based on the Wikipedia article, gout comes with swelling, redness, and warm spots when it occurs, and I’m not getting that. Outwardly, it looks the same, but it’s hard to put on a shoe when it happens due to pain (thus why I switch to my Crocs whenever this comes up). I really wonder if this isn’t a stress fracture or something, because I looked it up, and it seems like a pretty decent match on paper, but I want to know for sure. In any case, this is no way to live, and I’m not about to go on living this way. Plus I’ve been doing the stretches that I’m supposed to do and this still came up.

So hopefully they can squeeze me in as soon as possible, because last time I saw my podiatrist it wasn’t hurting anymore, and I want it to be hurting when I go see it (though at the same time, I’m not taking a hammer to my foot to guarantee some pain).

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One year and 70-some pounds later…

November 21, 2011, 10:05 PM

So I shot the splash photo for December today. I was specifically out to reproduce the splash photo from December 2011 in order to show the progress that I have made in slimming down.

So here I am in late November 2010:

In 2010, holding "BAH HUMBUG" for the front of the site

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Categories: Clothing, Weight loss

And tomorrow, I’ll be treated to a lovely view of Virginia from the inside of an Amfleet coach…

September 20, 2011, 10:57 PM

Indeed, tomorrow is going to be fun. I’m going down to Stuarts Draft to visit the family, and unlike every past trip I’ve ever made between DC and Stuarts Draft, I’m doing it via public transportation. Specifically, I’m taking the Cardinal, Amtrak train 51. Since it’s only a four-hour train trip, I’m going in coach. That will be a new experience, because aside from like ten minutes in coach on the Capitol Limited in 2007, I’ve always traveled in a class higher than coach, being in the sleepers on the Capitol Limited, and then traveling business class on the Acela and the Downeaster (though it should be noted that the Acela does not have a coachclass section – business class is the lowest class of service).

The reason I’m taking the train is because I will be hosting a visitor as soon as I get back to DC. Specifically, Mom! The reason it worked out like this is because of a perfect storm of events. Sis and Chris are going to be in Virginia to attend a wedding in Blacksburg, stopping by to say hello and have lunch with all of us on Thursday. And of course, I just won’t pass up a chance to see my sister and my brother-in-law, since they live so far away and I don’t get to see them often. Then there’s the National Book Festival in DC, which Mom has attended for a number of years. So because of the timing, it seemed silly to drive down to Stuarts Draft in the Sable, and then take two cars back to DC. So the Sable is staying in Maryland (and it’s likely already parked where it’s going to stay for about four days), and Mom’s Scion is making the trip up and back. But we’re going to be leaving at 4 AM – yecch. I’m not going to the Book Festival, though. I’m just going home. So while Mom’s out meeting authors, I’m going home and taking a nap, getting the rest of the sleep I won’t be able to get on Friday night.

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So how much smaller am I now, anyway?

September 15, 2011, 10:50 PM

So it’s been six months now since my journey towards physical fitness and a slimmer figure began. Now I’d like to show you some results. Last Friday after work, a coworker and I were discussing how a lot of my clothes don’t fit right anymore, and my coworker wondered how the black zentai fit me these days. I admitted that I hadn’t worn the black zentai in over a year, and so I had no idea, but I was kind of curious as to how it fit as well. Somehow we came to an understanding that I would try it on and see how it fit these days.

So that evening after I got home, I pulled out the tripod, set the camera up on it in the kitchen, pulled out the black zentai, and put it on. Now the benefit to this setup (with the camera on a timer) is that this is pretty much a straight apples-to-apples comparison, with all variables controlled for except the one we’re trying to demonstrate. See, I took a series of photos of myself in the black zentai in July 2008 in the same location and under the same conditions. So here’s a side by side comparison:

Black zentai on July 1, 2008  Black zentai on September 9, 2011

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Categories: Clothing, Weight loss