Archive for the ‘diabetes’ Category

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.



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

The good service

The good service


The not-so-good service

Now, before you think this is just another Comcast/Xfinity rant, it’s not.

I will just say that they (Comcast) could get some lessons in keeping customers happy if they just talked to the Fruit.

I’m not talking Fruit of the Loom, though.

I’m talking Apple.

Now, many folks think I’m just a mouthpiece/fanboy/unabashed Jobsian. Do I like Apple? Yes. Have I consistently gotten good product from them? Yes. Are they perfect?

No. They are not perfect.

I’ll get this out there that the Macs I own work that much better than the Windows machine. It takes our Windows 7 laptop  some four minutes to boot from cold. The Mac Book running OS-X Mountain Lion can do it in under 30 seconds.

Big difference.

Now, Supportive Partner Woman and I are both on our third generation of iPhone. We typically eschew the “S” models and upgrade every two years. Currently, we are both running iPhone 5s with 32GB. It’s a good, dependable phone, but it is not without its issues. That’s why I don’t get the Android vs. Apple debate. Recognize that both products have plusses and minuses and go with it. Do I like how my iPhone works with the rest of my tech? Yes. Is there some Android features that I wish it had? Yes. I’m not going to hate on one because I happen to own the other. That’s kind of foolish.

SPW had noticed in recent weeks that her battery had gone haywire. One minute it would show 19%, the next minute it was shutting down. She’d plug it in and 90 seconds later, it would be back in the green. Add this to the fact that whenever we’d go to back it up, it wouldn’t always detect the phone. My phone? No problem.

So, we booked an appointment with the “Genius” bar at the local Apple Store. We were a couple minutes late (blame the traffic and a long line to check in), but we were directed to wait for a “Genius”. We kind of got lost in the shuffle, but eventually, we were helped by a nice young man named Ian. He had the hipster vibe that many of the “Genius” team seem to cultivate. He ran a couple of diagnostics and announced that while the battery checked out, there was apparently a glitch in the software and proceeded to give her another phone. No fuss, no muss. Just simple service without pulling teeth.

What a concept!

To get the same result from Comcast/Xfinity, well, it would take a lot of phone calls and histrionics and threats to switch to satellite.

So, to sum up, Friday was a pretty good day.

In other news, got my blood work back (thanks, Barb!) and it was looking pretty good. A1C is still higher than what is considered normal, but it’s that level without insulin (and it’s pretty much the same as what is was before surgery WITH insulin). My cholesterol is improved… all values (save HDLs) right in the middle of normal range. In fact, most of it is disgustingly normal. It’s an improvement.

Everything seems to be healing up with my toes. I look forward to being back at it on Tuesday after the stitches are removed. I have a lot to catch up on.

Hope you all had a great weekend… it’s off to make dinner for myself and Supportive Partner Woman. Making roasted buffalo sirloin (for her) and roasted chicken breast (for me). Should be yummy!

Song of the Day: We Care a Lot – Faith No More

Currently reading: The Tenth Justice – Brad Meltzer

See? I used Latin. Who says you can’t learn anything on the Interwebz?

So, yesterday was the toe surgery. If you’re squeamish, you might want to skip ahead, but know that Supportive Partner Woman was in the room the entire time and kept her lunch down. The root of the problem is that I have hammer toes. This is primarily due to the diabetes and the overpronation of my feet. There are many treatments, most of which involve therapy of some sort, unless your toes are beyond repair, as mine are. The simple fix is that the podiatrist makes a small incision at the base of the affected toe and then, using a scalpel, releases the tendon causing the toe to be bent. It’s not terribly invasive, but it does render you incapable of curling your toes.

Recovery time is about a week, during which the toes stay bandaged (it acts as a splint) and then you are left with straighter toes. This helps to prevent corns and blisters.

It also leaves you with a freaky-looking foot. Although, as my podiatrist has told me, I’ll never win an award for attractive feet. I guess there goes my career as a foot model. Sigh.

There’s been an interesting side effect, though. For the longest time I couldn’t feel much of anything with my toes, except for heat and pressure. As my blood sugar has stabilized, I’ve found an increased level of feeling. That’s awesome, except now I can feel pain again, and, well, the toes kind of hurt. As I was sitting at my desk last night, I could feel the pulse throbbing in the straightened toes and I didn’t know whether to be bummed that it hurt or ecstatic that I could actually feel something other than phantom pain. I settled for Tylenol and a sense that while I hurt, it was a good hurt.

The other drawback is that I’m on the shelf for a week as far as getting outside. Walking up to the mailbox does not make for a ton of exercise, but I can at least lift weights and get something done. Swimming is out, because I can’t get the bandages wet (I have to wear a leg sleeve in the shower. Oh, yes, I look like a huge dork, but SPW is the only one who sees me wear it, so no foul). I can’t do squats or anything that puts stress on the feet, so lifting it is.

Been a few days since I’ve done an inspiration piece, so today’s shoutout does to Linda, who’s just an amazing person. Linda is someone who has been so incredibly supportive ever since I started this blog project oh so many years ago. I can always count on an encouraging word when I need it, and just wholehearted support. I’m incredibly lucky to know her and I can’t thank her enough for the unwavering support. So, thank you, Linda, for everything. We are truly honored to call you our friend.

Bichon/Shih-Tzu  puppies

Bichon/Shih-Tzu puppies

All that being said, going to get on with my day. But, since you are my readers and are awesome, I thought I would leave you with an undeniably cute picture, because, well, who doesn’t like cute, fuzzy puppies?

Song of the Day: Lovely to See You – The Moody Blues

Currently Reading: The Brass Verdict – Michael Connelly

So, it was a helluva week last week.

I not only killed it at the gym, I managed to wound Stubby as well.

See, on Thursday, I was actually running on the treadmill. It felt pretty good… the left ankle was barking a little, but that was the extent of my pain.

When I got home from work that night, well, I found that Stubby had a pretty substantial blister that had developed where there was a corn.

Cue frowny face.

I had Supportive Partner Woman (tender of my feet!) give it a Betadyne bath, then slept with my foot hanging off the bed, allowing it to air out. The next day I called my podiatrist and scheduled an appointment for this morning. He was impressed at how well it is healing and told me I could get out of the Boot of Shame. So I have that going for me. The bad news is that I’ll need to spend a week in it in early August. The doc wants to straighten the two remaining hammertoes on my left foot. Not something that I’m really looking forward to, but what can you do? This will hopefully prevent any more corns from forming.

In the other news, it’s time for a rant.

Got another letter from Evil Bitch Queen Wanda of our homeowner’s association. This time saying that we need to put down a “mulch” barrier to prevent damage to the siding from the lawn crew trimming.

My first thought was, “Seriously, this is the first you mention it after the lawn crew has had SIX YEARS to jack up the siding?

My second thought was a lot less charitable.

I posted about this on FB and one of my friends had the winning comment regarding the “mulch barrier.” She said, “Four foot bunker made of bags of mulch. Check.”


So far we’ve established that the foot is healing nicely, me running isn’t pretty,and, oh, yeah, Wanda is an evil bitch.

Not bad for a day’s work.

So, on to the fun part of today’s post… Another fine inspirational story.

When I was in elementary school I had a very good friend named Mark. We played together pretty often and we kept in touch well through elementary and middle schools. At that time we went to different schools, and as frequently happens, we lost touch. Fast forward 20 years and we reconnected via Facebook. I’ve been very open about the health issues I have faced, and he had faced some similar issues. It’s been a long road for both of us, but he’s done some running and it inspired me to get in better shape. It’s kind of funny that I can find inspiration from someone I haven’t seen in over twenty years but still think the world of.

Thank you, Mark, for your friendship, inspiration, and also your donation to the Avon Walk. Every little bit counts.

Speaking of which, if you want to contribute, visit my personal fundraising page at

Have a great day, everyone~

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.


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

Since I need something to keep me busy, I thought I’d share the saga of the living room windows.

I might have previously mentioned that our development is the reason they instituted building codes in our township. To say that the contractors took some liberties would be putting it mildly. They used a lot of cheap materials (mainly the roof) and apparently the windows. Don’t get me wrong… the specs are fine. They are double-paned, low-e glass. That’s about where the good points stop. See, they have an alarming tendency to break the seals between the panes causing condensation. This has been the case with our living room windows since we moved in.

It’s not always been super high on our priority list. The truth is, we have sheer curtains that block the view of the window panes and, well, out of sight, out of mind.

This changed in the previous weeks… out of nowhere, one of the panes cracked. The inside pane. Just a big crack, nasty as you please. This has required us to engage the services of Marvin the Glass Man. Marvin came out, took measurements and will be installing new glass next week. I mentioned to SPW that it would certainly be nice to be able to open the windows. She concurred, then we realized that the skeevy previous occupant’s giant dogs did a number on the screens for those windows. I decided to give rescreening a try.

Now, know that I have never done this. I did not have tools or even know what was involved. I talked to me neighbor, who said it wasn’t too difficult. So, I went to Lowe’s, bought the materials and came home to give it a try.

The first attempt was not good. In an attempt to stretch the screen to make it nice and taut, I managed to rip it. Just tore like nobody’s business. I was not particularly happy about this… after all, that was good money I just wasted. So, I said, “I’ll try it again later.”

The second time was the charm.

So, I have one screen mostly done, and three more to go. As for Marvin, he’s coming next week.

In other news, I weighed in at 330.8 yesterday. That means I’m down 49.2 pounds since I started the program. I’m pretty pleased about that. I also ate my first real food. I had a scallop that tasted awesome. Paired with a scrambled egg, because, well, at this point, the variation in my menu is really limited. It was nice to actually chew something with substance, and it went down well. It stayed down, too, which is always a huge help. I’m actually really glad that fish and seafood are considered to be soft foods… some of my favorite foods are in that category.

So, I’m up early today because I need to go to a funeral. My dad’s cousin passed away a few days ago and I need to go to pay respects to the family. We kind of lost touch over the years, as often happens, but it’s what needs to be done. I also have to stop and pick up my mother, because the funeral home is located in Reading, and she’s scared to drive in the city. I tried to tell her that most of the drug dealers and gangbangers are not awake at 10 AM on a Saturday morning, but she wasn’t having any of that. I’m not disputing that Reading is pretty much a shithole , but I’m pretty sure I’m not going to get jacked just going to a funeral. The plus side is that I actually have clothes to wear that fit. I’m not going for a suit, mainly because my dress shoes no longer fit me (foot pronation has made them impossible to wear), but I’m sure my suit would actually fit again. Instead, khakis, dress shirt, necktie and a tweed jacket. Not exactly cutting edge, but presentable enough. It was funny, though… the last time I wore a dress shirt was for our niece’s college graduation and I was stuffed into it like a sausage. This time, it feels like a tent. I guess that’s better.

At any rate, hope you all have a great day!

Song of the Day: King of Anything – Sara Bareilles

Happy Easter to everyone!

Hope that your day is filled with family, friends and food. I’ll settle for the first two 🙂

8549862800_7ea4c5bc75_bI’ll even throw in a cute picture of baby bunnies and a chick. Literally.

So, yesterday was a good day. Still no progress on the pressing issue, but maybe if I stop obsessing about it things might just move along. My mom and sister stopped by. They were suitably impressed by how well my incisions are healing up. They think I look healthy.

I actually even managed my recommended fluid intake yesterday. I managed to down two liters of water. That was the first time since the procedure I accomplished it. It took all day, but that’s too be expected. Small sips on a regular basis. I also attempted pudding, and that went down well, and tasted pretty good to boot. Not only that, my sugars came in at 101 (even though I’m off the meds, I need to stick once a day to make sure things are staying where they are supposed to be). The coup de grace was that I managed to sleep flat in bed and scored over 7 hours of solid zzzzz.

One other thing I accomplished was to take a walk last evening. I was bored and thought maybe I’ll walk to the end of the block. When I got there, I decided to keep on going and got in a half mile. It wasn’t very fast, but it was the most I’ve walked since the middle of last week. It felt pretty good, actually. I still need to be careful due to the reduced amount of intake, but I’m going to try to do it again. I chose to take the uphill portion first, rather than later in the walk, just to make sure I’d be OK. And yes, I tool my phone with me.

That’s always a good habit to get into. I always have my phone with me while I’m walking. Not only does it provide music, it’s a good thing for security. If you fall or are otherwise injured, you can contact someone readily, or if you see suspicious activity. It’s also useful if you go walking in natural areas and see something photo-worthy.

At any rate, I’m going to go and get started on today’s fluids. I hope that you all have a happy Easter, or if you don’t celebrate Easter, a happy Sunday. And I’ll leave you with one of my all-time favorites:

Song of the Day: Gimme Some Lovin’ – The Blues Brothers

Greetings from the Nerd Lair!

I arrived home earlier this afternoon via chariot pulled by unicorns. Or a Honda Civic. Close enough. Either way, it felt awesome to walk out of the hospital, get in the car and then be in our own house. I get to go back to full liquid diet, which meant I could have a protein shake for lunch. Woohoo!

Best part of my discharge instructions

Best part of my discharge instructions

The biggest news, which left me stepping lighter, is that I have been released from the insulin scourge. As you know, that was my primary reason for having the operation done. Pretty drastic, but the end result was what I wanted, no, needed to have happen. I needed to be off the insulin.

Everything seems to be healing up nicely. I’m limited to light activity for a couple weeks until I go back to see Dr. McPhee. Have to give the belly time to heal. I would post a picture of it, but it’s a little off-putting and I’d rather not gross anyone out.

My diet has returned to full liquids. I can go to pureed foods in a couple of weeks. Basically, I have to learn to eat again. To figure out what I can and can’t handle. So far, I’m able to handle a protein shake, so that’s a good thing. I’m going to try some soup for dinner… again, nothing major in terms of quantity… I just need to remember that it’s most important to stay hydrated

My other big news is that I committed to join Team AllEars. I’ve been toying with the idea for quite some time, but I could never seem to get myself in good enough shape. I’m planning on running/walking in the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend 5K. I know it’s not a long distance, but for someone who’s never run in his life, it’s huge. I’m excited because I’ll be teaming up with some of the finest people I know and in support of Avon breast cancer charities. Both Supportive Partner Woman (considering going Paleo!) and I know people who have survived and who have succumbed to breast cancer, and its hard to think of a more worthy charity. As I told my co-captain, “It won’t be fast and it won’t be pretty, but I’m going to finish it.”

I’ll post more about that later.

So, I’ve said it before, but this is when my life is really going to start. It’s not going to be easy… believe me that bariatric surgery is never the easy way out, but I’m determined to get my body in shape and to keep it that way. I’ve wasted a lot of years (and part of toe) in service to food and poor habits. Now that I see how good it feels to be active, I’m going to grab that lifestyle and go as far as I can with it. It’s not going to be easy, but how many really good things are?

I’ll keep you posted, and, for the record, the happiest moment on this blog is going to be when I can post a picture of myself crossing that finish line.

So, after a couple days in the bastion of healing, I’ve come up with a couple of hard, incontrovertible truths.

1) Sleep is important to healing.
2) It’s damn near impossible to sleep in a hospital, unless they have you under anesthesia.

I learned this when they get me up every four hours to go for a walk. This is to prevent blood clots, or so they say. It is a good idea, since blood clots are bad… Very bad. However, while you’re sleeping, they have these things on your legs that inflate and deflate to do exactly the same thing.., prevent blood clots.

So after you do your mandatory constitutional, you lay back down in bed and by the time you finally drift off again, one of the vampire crew shows up to collect blood, waking you up again. It’s about that time when you give up, opt to sit in your chair and blog.

Speaking of walking, Supportive Partner Woman (great motivator!) and I calculated my laps from yesterday and realized that I walked almost 2.5 miles. In slipper socks. No wonder my feet are hurting a bit. But in the good news department, I get discharged today.

Yay!!! (Insert happy dance)

Things are actually feeling pretty good. I still ache, but I’ve not taken any painkillers since yesterday. I’ve also started expelling the surgical gas. I know… No one wants to hear about farting, but it is an unfortunate byproduct of laparoscopic surgery. The other side effect showed up when they weighed me last night. I’m 11 pounds heavier than when I checked in on Tuesday morning. That too is cycling out, but it will take a few days to unload all that retained fluid. Plus, they have me on a pretty constant IV of Ringer’s lactate. That stuff should be familiar to anyone who watched the 70’s TV show Emergency! Seems it’s used to help pump up blood volume. I think it’s also used to keep me chained to an IV pole.

I am ready to go home and get on with the process of healing. Dr. McPhee seems to think ill be able to be off all of my diabetes medications. This makes me very happy. No more insulin? That would be spectacular. Not to mention save a lot of cash. I’d even willingly sacrifice the full vial in the fridge. I’m pretty happy about the prospect of no longer being a human pincushion.

In the other cool news, we got to see a helicopter land and drop off a patient yesterday afternoon. It was pretty cool to watch. I’ll include a picture from my window. Hopefully the victim is OK. I did not find any details in the media, but it was kind of cool to watch.

At any rate, back to being bored for the last few hours of my confinement. More later!


So here I sit.

I’m in the chair in my very nice hospital room. I overlook the emergency room helipad, I found this out when I was sent on my first forced march yesterday. See, walking is a key. It helps to keep the blood flowing and avoid any clots.

The operation was no picnic, at least from my end. I remember being in recovery in a blanket of mental fuzziness. I don’t even recall being taken to my room. I remember a raging thirst, which I can only slake with a water-soaked swab, and also pressing the pain med dispensing button. I vaguely remember Supportive Partner Woman (Best wife Ever!) watching me drift in and out of wakefulness. I remember drifting in and out.

I remember the pain.

Yes, there is pain. I felt like I did about 1,000 crunches in very short order. It still hurts like a bastard.

The incisions themselves look pretty good. They are small and they glue them closed with some kind of surgical super glue. I couldn’t see all of them, but the one I could see was about 1/2 inch. There’s a bigger one that has a drain in it. That’s to help get rid of the sterile fluids and excess blood leftover. They will remove that before I go home on Thursday.

Today, they will be removing the dreaded catheter. I can’t wait. I’m not looking forward to getting that thing yanked out of my junk, but I’ll be glad to get rid of it. I also get to have some fluids today. Woohoo! It’s going to be a big change, having to eat and drink as slow as I’m going to have to. But I’ll adjust. I also think they are taking off the heart monitor this morning, too. That means I get the joy of taking off the leads. So, word of the day will be ouch.

I get to see Dr. McPhee today as well. He’ll want to check the incisions and go from there. I even get a shower!

The nursing care has been awesome. Heather, my day nurse, and Summer, the night nurse, have been super nice and super professional. Summer is actually in the program and goes for her procedure next week.

I’m sure I’ll post more later today, so I’ll stop right now.

Thanks again for all the awesome support. I’ll include a picture of my bed.