Thursday, September 25, 2008

Six weeks out........

So we're six weeks out from surgery which means I had my six week follow-up with the surgeon yesterday. Dr. Richard continues to be destined for sainthood. I've never met a more personable, caring physician. This appointment consisted of just sitting and talking. I told him my primary concern - that I have zero appetite and I'm forcing myself to eat most of the time. He said that was to be expected. He said it might be that way for 6 months or even a year. Wait a minute...ME? Having no interest in food for a year????? The last time I went that long without craving food it was because I was sleeping in a crib and still on formula.
One interesting thing he told me dealt with saboteurs. I told him I wasn't worried about that because EVERYBODY in my immediate circle had been nothing but supportive. He said to not be surprised when folks who had been nothing but supportive began to worry 5-6 months down the road. He said "you'll hear things like 'you look need to eat!' They'll be very well-meaning and only concerned about you...but just keep doing what you're doing.." Along those same lines he said "I've been around you enough to know that you're the 'big guy.' You're the guy that people love to be around and you make people laugh and your persona is always going to be the big, lovable guy. On some levels, people are going to miss that guy. You'll have to show them that you're still that person, just in a healthier package!" I fear he overestimates the "lovable" factor but I see his point. I've probably always been "the character" in a crowd, famous for cooking mass quantities of animal flesh on open fires and keeping several distilleries and breweries in business. In the words of Mr. Buffett "I've got a native tongue from way down sits in the cheek of my gulf-coastal mouth..." Mostly irreverent and never taking things seriously, I've always been ready to turn any situation into a comedic one. Now, in hindsight, I wonder how much of that has always been somewhat of a defense,,,,no, a deflection. If I can make people laugh and help them have a good time, they won't notice my considerable girth. So if I lose my considerable girth, will I still be "the character" or will I be someone else? Someone that's not as much fun to be around as I used to be? OH DEAR GOD! I sound like a soap opera (not that I watch that crap...well, not much...) Maybe I'm creating things to worry about. Maybe this wouldn't have ever popped into my mind if he hadn't mentioned it. Maybe I should call Erica Kane and discuss it with her over tea at the yacht club.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Long time, no blog. It's been a strange couple of weeks. Where to begin? I guess Labor Day morning. I woke up and my left ankle wouldn't work. I mean it was like Kathy Bates had snuck in during the night and whacked it with a sledge hammer. What in the world? It hurt all day Labor Day and went from bad to worse the day after Labor Day. So over the next two days I see three different doctors. Nothing specific beyond "pre-existing arthritic conditions." Things continued to go south in the next week as my RIGHT ANKLE quit functioning. Ok, what deity have I angered now? I'm enjoying my new life, new energy and continued weight loss and BOOM - suddenly I'm totally sidelined. Saw the orthopedist again yesterday and the final diagnosis is unbelievable. Apparently prior to weight loss there was excessive fluid and fat tissue "buffering" my ankles and the cartilage loss and the bone spurs. Now that excessive fluid and fat are both gone and the bone is rubbing bone and the bone spurs are digging in for the long haul. I got a cortisone injection in each ankle yesterday and - knock on wood - feel like a new man today. No cane today! (Yep, it got that bad..the last week a cane - the week before a walker. Do you know how OLD it makes one feel to be using canes and walkers?) My attitude went way south. I cared nothing about weight loss or being productive. There were very kind souls here taking care of me (sister and mother-in-law) and that continued to reinforce what I've learned through this whole process - I couldn't have done any of this without some strong, loving people in my corner. Once again, I thank you all. And Rhonda - oh dear God, poor Rhonda. She's been working herself to death since I left the hospital. First with all the post-op care and now with this stupid ankle stuff. I'll never, ever be able to repay her. She continues to be the best thing that ever happened to me.
Now on to good news. Rhonda took me to support group meeting last night at the hospital. It's a post-op support group for bariatric patients. Was able to soak up some bits of helpful information. But the best thing that happened was the weigh-in. My grand total weight loss (remember, this includes weight I lost on my own prior to August 12th surgery day) is 127 pounds. I've lost 39 pounds in the last three weeks alone. I was thrilled, obviously. We came home to catch the second half of the season premier of "The Biggest Loser." I can't believe I'm admitting this - they'll surely make me turn in my man card. But I started watching these people and suddenly started crying like a baby. Rhonda came in the room "Honey! What's wrong?????" I said "Last season we watched this and I ached to know what it'd be like to lose such large amounts of weight. Now I know........" I think for the first time I realized what a huge corner I've turned. I've grown cynical in my old age and sometimes think that miracles are things of the past. But the fact that I'm no longer thinking FOOD every waking minute is parting of the Red Sea huge. This is nothing short of a miracle.
This morning I woke up feeling new. My ankles have, for the most part, quit aching (the injection sites where they gave me the shots are sore and a little bruised, but I can live with that.) I jumped out of bed (yes, literally jumped.) I turned on the light in the closet and started trying on clothes. Clothes that I've not fit into for a long while. I had one suit in particular that I'd been wanting to get into. Again, like I've mentioned before, I'm not a suit kind of a guy. But this is a nice suit and I've been seeing it as some kind of enemy, hanging there in the closet taunting me. As recently as June the pants wouldn't button. I had to know THIS MORNING if I could fit into it. Well, I've missed my chance. It's now TOO BIG! Well, the pants are anyway..I could still wear the jacket with something else. Between me and you and the door, I cried again. My man card is about to be a thing of the past.