Archive for the ‘Bariatric surgery’ Category

Supportive Partner Woman and I just returned from a visit to sunny Florida. We went to take part in Reunion 2013, a gathering of like-minded Disney fans who get together for four days of meets, hi-jinks and whatever else happens.

There are, of course, some folks who just don’t get it, and that’s OK. More fun for the rest of us!

With that little bit out of the way, I’d like to report that the entire event was a blast. The highlight of the event is catching up with the friends we’ve met over the years. SPW and I often speak of how different the guest list would be were we to get married now instead of nine years ago. I can tell you that list would certainly be larger.

One of the biggest moments for me was the taking of the picture. If you recall, someone took a picture of me last year that really showed how obese I had become. I was determined to take a picture of the newer me, in the same spot.

meIt was a success, to say the least. I’ve lost a few pounds, or so it looks. I still have some ways to go, but it’s that much more believable when you can see tangible proof.

I’m also pleased to report, other than yet another blister incident, I survived a lot of park touring and I’m really not in any pain. The past three or four years, every trip has required a few days of recovery time. This time, not so much.

The blister is pretty substantial, enough that the doc prescribed antibiotics, in case there’s an infection. He found a liquid one, which goes down a lot easier than trying to eat it in yogurt or pudding. I was lucky that the crappy weather actually allowed me to see my regular doctor, since he had a cancellation.

I’m also pleased to report that Disney can be accommodating with my bariatric surgery. Even our group meal at Ohana was accommodated. I was able to pay the child’s price, since my capacity was so diminished. For the most part, I ordered off the child’s menu or I shared with SPW. The one full-sized item we got was a very yummy margherita pizza with prosciutto at Via Napoli in Epcot. We were lucky that the crust is very thin, so I was able to enjoy a lot of the pizza.

Another of the highlights of any Reunion is the chance to see the IllumiNations holiday tag. This is a four minute extra segment that includes a stirring rendition of Let there be Peace on Earth as performed by the Boys Choir of Harlem with narration by Walter Cronkite. I managed to get video of the tag (a little shaky, but not bad overall), so that’s posted below:

There were other special events, and the chance to make some new friends. It was also nice to chat with some people I knew by name, but had never really met, and have them tell me that my journey has been inspiring to them. It’s very humbling when you hear that.

A rare treat was being able to relive my first sight of the Osborne Lights. This was better, as the fine folks at Mouse Fan Travel had arranged a private viewing of the lights after the park closed. One of our group had never experienced the lights and there is no better way to experience them. It proves that despite all the issues they may have, Disney still knows magic.

Lights!

Lights!

I think the picture says it all.

In short, 2013 was one of the best Reunions I’ve attended. Special thanks go out to Beci & Annette from MEI/Mouse Fan Travel, Matt from Studios Central, Mike from Mouse World Radio, Mike from AllEars, and Len from touringplans.com. Might also mention that together, Mike, Len, Mike, Matt and Annette make up the WDW Today podcast team. These folks give up a lot of their time and energy to make sure everyone has a memorable experience and I know they don’t get thanked enough. I, for one, am honored to call each of them a friend.

I hope to have more photos and video up later in the week. Until then, stay warm!

The US holiday of Thanksgiving is almost upon us. For many folks, this is a chance to gorge oneself on turkjey and stuffing, loosen your pants, sit on the couch and sleep though a game featuring my favorite team (which would be whoever is playing Dallas), then hit up the fridge for leftovers.

It’s an American tradition.

Not for this guy. For me, Thanksgiving will be giving thanks that I changed my life around.

Thanks for another year with family and loved ones

Thanks for vacation starting next week.

Thanks for the friends I’ve made through the Disney community and my teammates.

And thanks that we still have a few freedoms left.

ThanksgivingLet me first start by thanking my totally awesome big sister for her very generous donation toward my Avon goal. Only $119 to go! I might add that thanks to the generous support I’ve received, I’m closing in on tripling my original goal. So, thanks to you as well.

Had the opportunity Monday to have lunch with an old elementary school friend who I’ve not seen in around 25 years. He was back in Pennsylvania from California and we had a nice time. It’s funny… you start out kind of stiff, then you realized why you liked each other and it’s like old times sake. It was great to see him and I hope it’s not another 25 years until we see each other again.

Also, Supportive Partner Woman (devoted Whovian!) and I managed to see the Fathom Events simulcast of Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor. It was so awesome to see it in HD on a theater screen and even more awesome to see David Tennant back in the role, alongside Matt Smith. The theater was loaded with nerds, which isn’t a bad thing, and the audience was quite appreciative.

That’s something else I need to give thanks for. SPW truly is the perfect match for me. We can do nerdy stuff and have a blast. We can also agree to disagree. She thinks I’m too good for her, but truth be told, she deserves much better than me. Do we agree on everything? No. But that’s OK.

So, if you have your own SPW (os SPM), give thanks for them and to them. They make it all worthwhile.

Happy thanksgiving, everyone!

Song of the Day: Be Good to Yourself – Journey
Currently Reading: Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card

 

Yes, I'm flying the Jolly Roger

Yes, I’m flying the Jolly Roger

Avast, me hearties!

Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and I thought I’d get that out of the way before I got into the meat of the post.

In a surprise move, it’s about grog. Or booze, or hooch, or whatever else you feel like calling it.

I’m not a big drinker. I feel that once I turned 21, the fun wore off. As such, I haven’t minded not being able to drink on a semi-regular basis. It’s one of those things with a bypass. They do warn you that your tolerance is impacted post-surgery.

They weren’t lying.

See, Supportive Partner Woman got some news worth celebrating yesterday. After work, we adjourned into the Nerd Lair, she opted for tequila and I opted for my old standy, Jagermeister.

Normally, I’m feeling buzzed after three or four shots.

Not last night. One shot, I was lightheaded, flushed and feeling very warm.

So, moral of the story is that I have to be really careful if I opt to drink and should never drive.

In other news, iOS 7 landed yesterday afternoon. So far, it has a lot of features I like. There’s a few that are going to take some getting used to. It’s a little more stripped down, so I’m going to miss the subtle touches, but I’ll survive. Since I’ve only had it for a day, I’m not prepared to pass judgement.

Oh, and finally, I covered over 26 miles last week. That was a goal of mine… I still don’t know how some folks can cover that in a day and still be alive afterward, but maybe that’s just me. I’m trying to break up the training between walking, the dread mill, and the elliptical. In that regard, SPW and I tried a new rail trail (to us) yesterday and got an exact 5.000 miles in. Felt pretty good, although too much walking really does a number on my ankles. Just need to get them stronger.

At any rate, hope you have a great day, ye scurvy dogs!

Song of the Day: Take Me to the River – Talking Heads

Currently reading: Atlantis Found – Clive Cussler

I’ve posted a few times about participating in the Nerd Herd Racing Series. It’s a series of virtual 5 and/or 10K and half-marathon events based on pop culture themes sacred to nerds everywhere.

I was late to the party, but I managed to register for the entire series, which means I have three races to do by September 28. The first one was themed after Star Wars and Star Wars Day. It was originally intended to be completed by May 4, but I’m slow. 🙂

My first race bib

My first race bib

It’s a pretty warm day here in cow country. Sun beating down, humid as the dickens, still air. But I knew I had to get my work done. I figured I’d knock the 5K out since it needed to be done and, well, doing it on the treadmill at the air conditioned gym would be sort of like cheating. We have a nice loop in the neighborhood that’s a tad over a half mile. I figured six laps would do it and I could cross that 5K off my list.

Started out swimmingly. The sun felt good, just being outside felt good. Started up my pedometer app and walked. The iPhone served up a nice selection of tunes to keep me moving (Ozzy, Cake, Chic, Iron Maiden, Eminem, and NWA, to name a few). All good.

Made the first and second laps and I could feel the pace start to slow a bit. I wasn’t killing it, coming back from Wayne‘s missing toenail, but I was working up a sweat. That’s when I realized how much of the marathon game is mental. You feel the sun beating on your head. The head and humidity surrounding you, and while your body can take it, it’s your mind saying, “Screw this, let’s go back, grab a shower and watch The Price is Right.”

My respect for the folks who run marathons soared because I was feeling that at one mile and they actually run for 26 miles.

I buried those doubting feelings and gave the voice in my head a smack down. Because it had to be done. If I couldn’t walk a 5K without giving up, well, that would mean all that I’ve been through was worthless.

I wasn’t going to let that happen. I’ve taken the easy way out waaaaaaaaay too many times.

Not this time. No way, no how.

Not the greatest pace, but it's the distance that really matters.

Not the greatest pace, but it’s the distance that really matters.

So, I finished. Hot, sweaty, but I completed what I started. And I feel good about it.

As you can see, it was a pace slightly over an hour. That’s not optimal, but it’s a start. When I do the second leg (the Happy Birthday Harry Potter 5K/10K), that 5K number will be under an hour. And I’ll have a photo to prove it.

In other news, Supportive Partner Woman and I got to pay a visit to the holy temple of Wegman’s over the weekend. Got a lovely piece of swordfish that I just simply baked with some olive oil, sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Very flavorful. I also picked up some 7.66 pounds of ground beef. SPW has been asking for meatballs, so I thought I’d make them for her. I’m always amazed by the selection and quality of meat at Wegman’s. And the price… that 90% lean beef clocked in at $2.99 a pound. Can’t beat it unless you want to butcher your own cows and I’m pretty sure Wanda would take issue with that.

Oh, almost forgot that SPW and I appeared on the most recent episode of the Mickey Miles Podcast. Click here and choose Episode 96 if you want to give it a listen. I’d like to thank Mike & Michelle for having us on and letting us share our story. They do a great job and I’d encourage you to give them a listen.

That’s all I have for today. Hope you have a great day and remember to stay active. Keeps you young.

So, the saga of Brian’s toes continue.

Wayne had a callous that cracked last week. It was not pretty to look at, but then again, my toes usually are NOT things of beauty.

Then Monday, I noticed Stubby had a crack in the callous on the tip as well, plus Wayne was looking kind of nasty. I had an appointment to see the boys, so on my way, I called my podiatrist.

He could see me in about 90 minutes.

I did an abbreviated workout at the fitness center, went home, washed my hair, collected Supportive Partner Woman (Brave little toaster!), and went back to the Health Campus (or should I call it the Suburban Outpatient Pavilion?).

Dr. Miller was right there, and gave me crap about needing my Dr. Miller fix, since I had only been there the week before. He looked at Stubby first. He (Miller) wound up trimming the edges of the crack and gluing things back together.

Then it was on to Wayne.

Turns out, the reason Wayne was getting a little gushy was that there was a blood blister under the nail. So, it was off with the toenail. I do have some increased feeling, so it did ache pretty good, but I’m happy to report he’s healing nicely.  I was sent off without being sentenced to the Boot of Shame, but I was also admonished to rub my feet every day with ammonium lactate cream to keep the calluses soft and less prone to cracking.

See, Monday was an all-around lousy day.

Mom and Dad in happeir times

Mom and Dad in happier times

It was my dad’s birthday, and that’s always tough to deal with since he’s gone. He would’ve been 78 and I still miss him every day. Of course, tomorrow would’ve been the folks’ 43rd wedding anniversary. That’s also tough. It reminds me of the last one the celebrated. Dad was in the rehab center at the hospital and my sister and I brought in a nice steak dinner from a local restaurant, dressed in nice clothes and acted as the wait staff, even had candles. It was one of the last happy times… he was gone a month later.

Losing him to cancer has been one of the major reasons why I support many of the cancer charities. I’d give anything to have him back and if, through my efforts, I can save someone else from the anguish that I’ve been through, I’m going to do it.

Whether that be supporting the Avon Walk with my participation in Team AllEars or my newest endeavor, the Nerd Herd Racing Series (which supports stupidcancer.org), either way, I’m doing something to help others because so many folks have helped and supported me with my efforts against my own diabetes.

Now, many of you might be wondering what the Nerd Herd Racing Series is all about. Simply put, it’s a series of running (or whatever form of locomotion that you prefer) events themed around various nerdly events. The first race was the May the Fourth 5K (Star Wars), the second was a Happy Birthday Harry Potter 5K or 10K (Harry Potter, duh!) and the third will be a 5K or half-marathon to celebrate Banned Books Week (We’re talking really subversive stuff like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird).

I came late to the party, but there were a few slots open for the trilogy and I managed to get signed up for all three of them. Not only do the proceeds go to stupidcancer.org, you get some sweet bling to display. The best part is that you get a week to complete each event and you can choose to do it all at once or break it up into manageable chunks for those of us who are running-challenged.

Now, if you’re thinking these folks are small-time, well, allow me to enlighten you. The series (through two races) has donated some $10,300 to stupidcancer. That total is only going to go up. If projections hold up, the total should eclipse $15,000. That’s pretty good numbers.

Good people doing good work.

That’s the real lesson… do something good with your life. There’s more to life than petty jealousy and selfishness. Make an impact on someone else’s life. Even if it’s just throwing a couple extra dollars in the Salvation Army kettle or dropping your spare change in one of the myriad good cause cans at your local pizza joint. You’re helping someone less fortunate. Hell, by donating blood, you’re helping someone in dire need.

The Big Whoop

The Big Whoop

In other news, SPW and I managed to make it to Root’s Market on Tuesday. Managed to get some nice produce and some fresh turkey bacon. I have to cook that up (probably tomorrow) and see how it is. I’m constantly amazed by how much local food is available at Root’s. There are so many local farms and butchers selling fresh stuff, not to slight the folks making baked goods and the fast food-type places. We passed the “Big Whoop” which I thought would send SPW (Fan of Whoopie Pies!) into a swoon. It was the size of my head! Thing was huge!

P.S. I managed to walk 20 miles last week. It wasn’t easy, but I did it. Makes me think I’m going to complete that banned books half marathon.

Song of the Day: Tears are Falling – KISS

Currently Reading: The Book of Fate – Brad Meltzer

Current weight: 271 (109 pounds down)

So, I had my four month followup with my surgeon yesterday.

I was pretty worried that things had blown up… as I said, I have been struggling here of late and I feel myself backsliding to my old eating habits.

Imagine my surprise when Dr. McPhee used the word “remission”.

As is, “Brian, you’re doing great… your diabetes is in remission, you’ve exceeded your weight loss target for four months, and your blood work looks great. Do you really want to throw that away for a Tastykake?”

I remember looking at him and saying to myself, “Say what?”

Then it sank in and I was overcome with this sense of relief.

Then joy.

Yay!

Yay!

I have achieved my primary goal of having bariatric surgery.

It kind of makes all I went through in the program worthwhile. All the tears I shed, the pounds I shed and regained and shed again. The physical pain of the surgery itself. The digestive issues post-surgery.

If I had to do it again, no question. It was all worth it to hear those words.

I would be horribly remiss, however, if I didn’t thank you all for your support. Yes, you, my friends, family, and even you, anonymous reader. Your support has given me the strength to get this far. I thank you with every fiber of my being. One of the things we were told before surgery was that you can never underestimate the need for a powerful support system.

I have that in spades.

Thank you so much.

Onto the next challenge… keeping the beetus in remission.

Song of the Day: The New Song – Howard Jones

Currently reading: Hidden Order – Brad Thor

I’m back in the saddle again. It does make me feel pretty good.

Got the stitches out of my toes and everything seems to be working. I got out yesterday during my lunch break and did a leisurely 1/2 mile walk. Today I was at the gym with my trainers and it felt good to be on the elliptical. My legs felt very heavy at first, but as I loosened up, I started feeling better. I also did some weight training and talked to Cory about what I can do to vary things so my workouts don’t feel so stale. I was introduced to the joys of the resistance band (sounds like a guerrilla group, right?)  which will make a nice change from dumbbells and machines.

I get to go back to the office later today for my four month followup with Dr. McPhee. I’m hopeful… my labs actually looked pretty good. There are a few places where I can improve, but once again, my biggest obstacle will be my head. I’ve started hearing the siren song of the carbohydrates again.

This is not good.

I’ve caved a few times as well.

So, I plan to ask the doc if there’s a therapist/headshrinker he knows of that deals with bariatric patients. I honestly think I could use some therapy to help get me through the rough patches and maybe figure out what makes me tick, (Stubby: Yeah, good luck with that one, dumbass! It would take a whole team of psychologists YEARS to figure you out.) It’s been on my mind for sometime and we’ll see what he has to say. It can’t hurt to seek a professional opinion.

In the exciting news, Supportive Partner Woman and I are going to see the Rifftrax live show tomorrow night. They are riffing on Starship Troopers and I am totally stoked. There’s even a short trailer with a few lines that I’m sure will make me laugh. I think both SPW and I need to have a good belly laugh.

Until then, I leave you with the following from Lieutenant Johnny Rico: “C’mon you apes! You wanna live forever?”