Archive for the ‘Bariatric surgery’ Category

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?”

So, it’s Saturday, and it wouldn’t be a good Saturday without some entertainment.

Here’s my story:

We live in a townhouse. We don’t know all of our neighbors… it’s kind of hard to keep track, because there is a certain level of turnover. That kind of sets the stage.

This morning, I was cleaning/packing up the freshly repaired mixer. I noticed some commotion across the street. There was a lot of people going in and out of one of the homes. I also noticed a lot of strange cars. I assumed that they had a house party, no worries. As I let the mixer spin and work the grease throughout the gear system, I saw a guy come out of the house carrying a very long, white garment bag that he proceeded to put in his low-riding. buzzy-mufflered street rod. He shut the door, which was followed by a very loud, “Oh, shit!”

He locked the keys in the car.

With the wedding dress.

Whoopsie.

He first tried to get in the car by pulling on the (locked) driver’s door. Now, keep in mind that door latches are designed to stay latched in the event of a severe collision. The fact that a 160 pound guy is yanking on the door is probably not going to work out well.

As he’s yanking futilely at the car door, the bride-to-be and countless bridesmaid-types file out of the house. Each time a new one comes outside, the bride has to fill them in. Loudly.

There are some other dudes present who keep offering advice. Ranging from the helpful to the “Seriously?” At one point, there were eleven people standing around the buzzy POS, all trying to get in to rescue the dress. Maybe I’m getting old, but I would’ve called AAA by this point. I know it doesn’t build character, but it’s probably a bit quicker

Finally, a random stranger manages to get the lock popped. All it took was a coat hanger/dowel rod combo and about three guys prying at the driver’s door with screwdrivers. Probably real good for the finish and for the watertight integrity of the door seals.

The capper on the whole thing was that the aforementioned POS did not start and it took about five people to get it push started.

Hope the marriage goes smoother.

So, later tonight, it was decision time. It was lunch time and I had brought some pulled pork carnitas. It came down to taking a walk or eating my carnitas and reading a book.

I’m pleased to say I opted for the walk. It was only about 1.3 miles, but I did it with enough time to heat up my pork and it was yummy. See? Best of both worlds. But, looking at my Daily Mile totals, I see I’ve covered 11 miles this week. Used to take me a month to walk that much. And, there’s still another day in this week (by their bizarre accounting), so I could easily make 13.1 miles, or the distance of a half-marathon.

This got me thinking about something.

There’s a group that runs a series of virtual races called Nerd Herd running. They do three races with a decidedly nerdy flair. There’s a Star Wars themed race, a Harry Potter themed race, and a Banned Books race. I’m so thinking of the Banned Books race. I could read some really subversive stuff, like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in order to get ready for it. The best part is that the virtual races benefit Stupid Cancer, which is a cause near and dear to me.

I’ll keep you posted.

Went on to have a reasonably active weekend. Since Supportive Partner Woman (owner of a synovial cyst!) is on the DL, I went to the Lancaster Junction Rail Trail yesterday and proceeded to walk the length of the trail (just under five miles), then went to the in-laws for a yard work party. I think it’s safe to say that I got some exercise. I did notice that my old New Balance 1123s are finally dead. I kept them around for working in the yard, but by the end of the day my ankles and feet were so sore that standing was painful. When we got home, I switched back to the Beasts and I was ready to go. Go figure.

IMG_2133The final bit of good news is that I weighed myself today and the scale said 272.2.

That’s 108 pounds since I started, and I feel pretty darn good.

That’s all you can really ask for.

Once again, I’d like to encourage you to support my fundraising efforts for the Avon Walk. If folks would be willing to pledge $1.00 per kilometer that I’m doing in January, that would be $5.00 and it does add up. Thank you in advance, and if you already have contributed, thank you for your kindness.

http://info.avonfoundation.org/goto/BrianT

Song of the Day: Peace and Love, Inc. – Information Society

Currently Reading: The English Girl – Daniel Silva

It’s Tuesday and I’m a little loopy from sniffing polyurethane. Yes, I was in a well-ventilated area, but that stuff is pretty potent.

Progress continues to be made on my shelf project. All parts are cut and sanded, and all but a couple of sides are stained and polyurethaned, It should look pretty good when it is finally complete. Next job will be to find a place to hang it. Yikes!

So, I had some more inspiring folks I wanted to give a shoutout to. Todays co-honorees are my Team AllEars co-captains Michelle and Mike.

These are folks I again met through Magic Meets (are you sensing a pattern?) and they’ve always been great friends to myself and Supportive Partner Woman. Michelle is actually a frequent Words With Friends opponent (she usually wipes the floor with me) and has been subtly encouraging me to join the team. They have seen my struggles to keep up with the crowd at Reunion and seen me suffer through the blisters from hell. While I was in the program, both Mike and Michelle would check in with me to see how I was doing and it was hard to tell who was more excited when I committed to join the team from my hospital bed. They even sent a lovely flower arrangement that lasted over a month.

It’s hard to express how much their encouragement has inspired me, but if you want to talk about great leaders leading by example, I would be hard pressed to find a pair of co-captains who exemplify that adage more than Michelle and Mike. I’m proud to call them my friends and my inspirations.

So, second shift is going well after one day. It’s not a crazy busy week with the upcoming holiday, but it works just the same. I even got out for a 1.5 mile walk on break with a nice detour through Home Depot for air conditioning. Have to do it again tonight, assuming the weather stays dry. The foot looks fine, so I think it’s safe to say that the blister crisis is averted.

More a little later in the week.

Song of the Day: Nineteen Forever – Joe Jackson

It’s been a good weekend so far, for the most part. The blister appears to be pretty much healed, I got to do the sanding on my project, and the British Grand Prix was a helluva race.

In the other good news, Supportive Partner Woman (Getting her work in!) has been hitting the gym with regularity. This makes me very happy that she’s been doing this. I know how much of a difference it has mad in my general health and well-being and I hope it has the same effect on her as well.

Yesterday was also a chicken BBQ day at the little Mennonite church on the corner. Pretty tasty stuff and, for me, two meals. 🙂 I ate the leg and thigh yesterday, I still have the breast and wing, so it might actually become a three-meal chicken dinner. I knew there was a plus to this surgery thing.

As for the blister, well, I protected it with moleskin when we went to the gym yesterday and stayed on the arc trainer and lifted weights. That was more for some protection, just in case. After I got home and took a shower, I figured I’d go without, since things seem to be really well-healed. After a few hours running errands and the like, I found that my sock was bone dry and the foot seemed in great shape. It’s a far cry from the last blister. I’m taking that as a positive sign. As for today, I’ll probably put moleskin on for the gym visit, just to be cautious, then I’m going without for the rest of the day. See what happens. I’m hopeful that there will be a Wegman’s trip today, which will be a nice change for the foot.

Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen

Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen

I’d also like to give a shoutout to Nico Rosberg on his win at Silverstone today. Looked like it would be another Vettel runaway, but Nico was there when Vettel’s gearbox went and managed to hold off a charging Mark Webber for the win. Also, mad props to my boy Kimi Raikkonen for scoring his 25th consecutive points finish, setting a new record for consistency in Formula 1.

That about covers it for the day. Hope to post more frequently this week and maybe give a fundraising update. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Check out my Avon Walk fundraising page here!

Song of the Day: Slit Skirts – Pete Townshend

A Father’s Day

Posted: June 16, 2013 in Bariatric surgery, family

It’s that time of year. Father’s Day is usually pretty tough for me… I think about my dad a lot, but mostly when I’m doing something that I know he would enjoy doing with me.

I think about how he never met Supportive Partner Woman. I think about how things have changed. On Father’s Day, I think about how lucky I am to have had him in my life.

This one is different, though.

This is the first one since I made the decision to have my surgery.

I find myself asking what would Dad think of this decision? Would he be proud of me for taking the steps necessary to make myself healthy or would he be disappointed in me for “taking the easy way out”?

That’s a tough question… Dad was a pretty tough guy. I was in my late 20’s before I ever saw him shed a tear. Even when my grandfather passed away, he didn’t cry that I know of, but when we had to take the dog to be put down, well, we both sobbed like little kids. I learned a lot about the guy in that moment. He wasn’t emotionless, he just kept tight rein on his feelings.

I like to think he would be proud of me for doing what needed to be done.

I hope he would’ve been.

Regardless, I miss him every day. Today is just missing him a little more.

Rest in Peace Jack F. Thompson 8/19/1935 - 9/21/2002

Rest in Peace
Jack F. Thompson
8/19/1935 – 9/21/2002

I’ve mentioned before that I am lucky enough to call some members of the podcast community my friends. These are fine folks who invest a lot of their time and themselves into doing something they love and something that benefits the community as a whole. I feel blessed to know them and treasure their friendship immensely.

All that being said, I was totally flabbergasted when I was contacted by Michelle Scribner-MacLean, co-host of the Mickey Miles Podcast and a dear friend, who said they wanted to have me on the show as a guest so I could talk about my journey toward that 5K in January.

I was stunned.

Flattered.

Deeply honored.

See, I never thought I’d ever be a guest on a show that was listened to by fit people, unless it was a lesson in what NOT to do. I talked it over with Supportive Partner Woman (Still the best wife EVER!) and agreed… after all, while I might not think my story is that special, Michelle and her co-host, Mike Scopa, obviously thought there was something there worth telling.

Who am I to argue?

So, arrangements were made, Skype was downloaded, times were set, and at the appointed time, the “phone” rang. I had plugged in the old Skype headset, which apparently wasn’t working too well, so after we ironed out a few difficulties, Michelle and Mike laid out the plan.

Say what?!?!?!?

Say what?!?!?!?

Seems I wasn’t just a guest, I was THE guest and the entire show was about my journey.

That was a little bit of a shock. (For an idea of my internal response, picture Kyle’s mom on South Park saying, “Wha-wha-what?”)

I have yet to actually listen to the episode… it’s just been posted, or so I see on Facebook. Give it a listen here.

I hope that hearing my story can inspire some folks on the fence to make a positive change in their lives. It’s never too late to start. If I can think about completing a 5K at age 42, having never run much of anything in my life, with my pronated feet and blisters and missing toe, then, by God, anyone can. You just have to want to.

I want to do this. I want to complete that race. I want to be healthier and live a long time, because I have a reason to.

In short, I’d like to thank Mike & Michelle for the opportunity and for taking the time to create such a wonderful podcast. I’d also like to thank them for their unwavering support and friendship. They are two of the finest people I have the pleasure of knowing and I know that with their support, the support of my Team AllEars gang, the support of my family and especially the support of my lovely wife, I can keep moving forward.

Because retreat is not an option.

Song of the Day: Without Me – Eminem

Hunger

Posted: June 2, 2013 in Bariatric surgery, Digestive issues, Hunger

Hunger is a strange beast. As a fat guy, it strikes me differently than a lot of people. I’d love to say it’s not as bad now since I had the bypass, but suffice it to say, I’m still hungry.

It’s not physical hunger, though. Most of my hunger is mental… whether it be boredom, habit, or whatever.

I tend to eat when I’m bored. It’s been my MO for quite a few years, and I seem to be bored. A lot. This has lessened, mainly because I don’t act on it anymore. I know if I eat too much, it results in barfs, and, well, that’s nobody’s idea of fun.

Habit is a little harder to nail down. I still feel that temptation to graze if there’s food sitting around. Granted, I’ve been avoiding all the high carb snacks and trying to stick with high protein stuff, but the temptation is real.

Somebody asked me how I dealt with hunger post-surgery. I’ve been wrestling with it for some time. After all, it’s not like you can just simply stop eating. I know I’ve discussed this before… you don’t need to smoke to live or drink alcohol to live, but you do need to eat to live, and that makes it hard for those of us addicted to food. Somehow, you have to teach yourself how much is enough. Whenever I face that question, I can usually count on Joe the Pouch to let me know, sometimes in spectacular fashion.

It does make me try and understand how I got to this point. How did I, a somewhat zany, but mostly rational person, ever let myself get in the position where I needed to have much of my belly rerouted?

That’s going to take a lot of soul searching, but I think the short answer is a distinct lack of mental fortitude. I’m not always as strong-willed as I should be. The worst times are when I am not getting in my workouts, because if I slide on that, I tend to slide on other things. That’s when I try to eat too much and the digestive fireworks start. If I’m going to the gym and getting my work in, I find I can focus better and accomplish more. Take yesterday… I got up, went and got a couple miles in on the treadmill and felt pretty great (other than sore ankles), after which I went and hit golf balls (I know, not crazy on the active scale) for about a half hour, then dragged out the table saw and built my yard sale sign. After that, I still had enough energy to do laundry, clean the kitchen floor, do the ironing and stay awake to pick Supportive Partner Woman up after work.

I didn’t even need to take a nap.

That would be me with longer arms, but still just as futile.

So, that brings us to today. Given the fact that the ankles were misbehaving, I’m thinking I might hit the pool for some laps today. I’m not the world’s strongest swimmer, but I enjoy it and it will be a nice change of pace. I technically should lift weights today, but that schedule messes me up with the boys, so I’ll probably lift tomorrow morning and be ready to go on Wednesday and Friday. At some point, I should probably go more old school and do some pushups… I’m not sure how well I would do, though. I’m thinking it would be like T-Rex trying to do them. The only difference is that I have more proportional arms and smaller teeth.

At any rate, whatever I decide to do, I should probably do it. Hopefully my surgical scars and freaky feet don’t bother anyone if I do opt for the pool, but even if it does, it’s something I need to do.

Hope you all have a great Sunday and I’ll be back with you later in the week.

Song of the Day: Thunderstruck – AC/DC