Posts Tagged ‘health’

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

Well, 59.8 pounds, but I think I can round it to sixty.

That’s a pretty big chunk of weight. It also represents about 37.5% of what my weight loss goal is. When I first met with Dr. McPhee, we thought 160 pounds was doable. I’m hoping it still is, especially when I can get back to the gym on a more regular basis. It was a good session with the boys this morning, foot or no foot. I did the X-Ride, 30 minutes of 30:30’s. They are insidious, but they really get the heart pumping. You don’t burn near as many calories, but the cardio is worth it. Also spent 30 minutes lifting weights. I’m noticing the loss of muscle mass since my operation, and the forced inactivity during my recuperation.

Speaking of the toe, I made a small modification to the Boot of Shame that I hope will hasten the healing. My logic is that since the hammer toe rubs on everything, add something that lifts the toe off the surface of the boot. I took heel pads, turned them upside down and put them under the ball of my foot. It seems to give just enough clearance to keep the toe out of harm’s way. I’m nothing if not creative, ya know?

So, I’m ready to head back to work tonight. It’ll feel strange, not having been there for four weeks. I’m actually looking forward to it, though. It will be nice to have something to do. Granted, I’ll probably be ready to be off another four weeks after a couple of hours. It’s how the cookie crumbles, I suppose. It will be nice to see some of my coworkers again after all this time.

In other news, I’ve had plenty of time to think and I’m probably going to start the 5K training (when the foot is healed) with a Couch to 5K program. I realize running the entire race is probably out of the question, but I’d like to run/walk. Maybe I should say “lumber” instead of “run”? Important thing is that I still am looking forward to doing it, especially with my teammates. And Supportive Partner Woman, of course. It’s gonna be epic!

At any rate, that’s what I have for the day. Hope I have more exciting stuff after a night at the office.

Song of the Day: Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd

So, had a bariatric class today. Usually one of the first things you do is weigh in when you have class and with all the time I’ve been spending at the gym, I was excited to see the results. See, I’m currently too fat for our at-home scale, so I really don’t have any idea how much I weigh on a daily basis. The last time I got weighed on that scale, it was 368.

Today? 365.

I somehow expected it would be about ten pounds less. I feel so much less fatigue when I climb steps, my clothes are fitting better… and, well, I’m still pretty hefty.

Today’s session was about stress and its effect on eating habits, with a dose of night eating syndrome and a bit on binge eating disorder. Very timely. If I hadn’t been made to think about my stress reactions and the compulsion to eat, I probably would’ve gone home and gnawed the lining out of the fridge. Instead, I did something both more beneficial and less productive.

I took a nap.

Dr. Collins, the psychologist who works with the bariatric team, normally conducts this session. She was out today and her slot was filled by a Dr. Christa Coleman. Dr. Coleman talked about how adjusting to stress and developing better coping mechanisms can help aid us in our quest to be healthier. That’s something I need to learn to do. I usually internalize a lot of my stress, which really doesn’t help my metabolism and doesn’t help me in the weight loss quest. I just have a hard time letting go of things and I’m a worrier. Maybe I need to learn how to meditate or do yoga or something. Of course, if I try to bend myself into a pretzel, well, I’ll probably stay that way.

So, to make a long story shorter, I came home, had a sensible lunch and took a nap. Dinner tonight will include some pulled pork carnitas in a wheat burrito with salsa and a little cheese. Supportive Partner Woman (master of the slow cooker!) makes a mean carnitas that is reasonably healthy and loaded with protein.

View from our seats. Hall of Fame Club!

Tomorrow, SPW and I will be meeting up with our friend Fred and taking in the Roger Waters show at Citizen’s Bank Park in Philadelphia. Roger will be performing The Wall in its entirety and as Fred described it, “This is bucket list stuff, dude!” The set is supposed to be incredible, dominated by a wall measuring some 40 feet high and 500 feet long. We are supporting the local economy as well, seeing as the rigging is done by a Lititz, PA-based company called Tait Towers and the sound is by the world-famous Clair Brothers, based in Manheim, PA.

In short, there’s a chance my next post will be a review of the show. I hope I’ll be able to capture some video, although any video I might capture will not do it justice.

Have a great weekend, folks!

I’m in pain. Or, as the old saying goes, “I hurt. But it’s a good hurt.” It’s that kind of welcome ache that comes along with being active.

Had a productive day at the gym. I changed my appointment time from 10:00 to 11:00. The purpose is twofold. I have a better chance of making sure that Supportive Partner Woman (pursuer of a healthier lifestyle in her own right!) is able to get to the gym. The other was that it seems to be a less crowded time slot, which gets me a little more attention from Ryan and Cory. Yes, it’s all about me, or at least it is in this case.

It’s not that bad. Really!

It’s funny, though. When I started, my vision of exercise sort of meshed up with Gary Larson’s. In two weeks, I’m already looking to spend more time at the gym on days when I don’t need to go. I find that while I ache, I feel so much better. I have more energy and while I’m not sleeping longer, I’m sleeping more soundly.

Because I’m also apparently a glutton for punishment, I even took a walk during my lunch break. I didn’t set a distance record, just got outside for some fresh (if a bit humid) air and walked around the shorter side of the retail complex. This was just bonus cardio today.

So tomorrow there’s a few things on the schedule. First, I want to hit Hempfield Rec for some cardio and some leg work. Then, after getting a shower so I’m not 100% stinky, SPW (eater of salad-y goodness!) wants to hit Root’s Market. This is a Lancaster County tradition, a large market selling pretty much everything under the sun. We like to go there for the produce and whatever else we can find. There’s usually someone selling counterfeit sports jerseys and  that sort of thing. The auctions include poultry and produce and can be rather interesting.

Not only is there a huge amount of items for sale, there’s a huge variety of food stands. These can range from French fries to subs to baked goods to seafood. My only tip would be to carry an insulated bag or two with freezer packs when going in the summer.

So, that’s going to about do it for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with a Root’s report.


Having just returned from another session at the gym, I’m feeling pretty good about myself. In just three sessions, I’ve managed to get my cardio up to 30 minutes without totally feeling that my heart is going to say “Oh, hell no!” and jump out of my chest. That’s a good sign.

Seriously, I’m starting to feel some small changes in myself. Not only am I actually being active, I look forward to these sessions (does that make me a masochist?) and I’m finding myself able to dig deep into my psyche and pull out an extra rep or couple minutes on the elliptical.

The elliptical… quite possibly my favorite piece of cardio equipment. I get a good workout and it’s not as hard on my knees and ankles as the treadmill. They’ve also had me up on the arc trainer as well, which I don’t care for as much due to chafing. Might need to invest some money in a case of Bodyglide. Our friend Mel swears by the stuff. She’s like the Bodyglide queen… as she should be. She runs marathons and stuff and knows all about this sort of thing.

In the good news department, I was able to up the weight on my strength training and the intensity level on the cardio. It’s a good sign and both Cory and Ryan seem very pleased with my progress. I’m nowhere near where I want to be, though, but all good things take time.

Tonight was also my first visit to support group. I’ll surely go again… I found it very informative. I would like to stay longer the next time, but I had a lot of prep work to do for my next group of trainees. The program consisted of a brief talk by a success story, in this case a woman who dropped 175 pounds. There were before pictures and the after was quite astonishing. After her talk, Dr. Ku and Dr. McPhee took the floor for a Q&A with the guests. It was interesting, as both men seem very down to earth and very positive. They were following it up with a snack sample, but neither Supportive Partner Woman (sitter in uncomfortable chairs!) nor I were really into a tuna and white bean salad. I did manage to score a couple of interesting recipes that I will have to try. One is for a chicken chili that seems like it could be quite tasty. I’m always up for good chili.

So, that’s all I have for today. I hope everyone is staying cool as we have a few brutal days ahead. So much so that the Yard Sale of Doom, Part Deux, has been postponed. I’ll miss seeing everyone, but I won’t miss the yard sale all that much. We still have a picnic to go to in the afternoon with my side of the family. This time, no surprise party that I am aware of. Yay?

Until next time.

Ode to the Wheel of Death

Posted: June 30, 2012 in Weight loss
Tags: , ,

Good morning!

I never really thought I’d be able to do this, but this post marks my 30th post for the month of June. Uhm, yay me? Seriously, though… I just wanted to thank all you who read my musings on a semi-regular basis. Writing this has allowed me to really keep focused on the goal and helps alleviate boredom which would normally make me eat. As long as you keep reading, I’ll keep writing (and I’ll still keep writing even if you stop reading). So, on to the meat of today’s post.

I’ve found that perhaps my biggest challenge on the weight loss journey has been to eat well while at work. We are surrounded by any number of  food joints within an easy drive ranging from the ubiquitous McFood, Long John Silvers,  Rude Wendy’s, a Pizza Hut, two Subways, Waffle House, and a host of local joints. For those feeling a little more adventurous, there’s an Old Country Slurp n’ Munch, and if you’re feeling more creative, there’s even a supermarket in the shopping complex next door.

The Wheel of Death in all its glory

If you work on the day shift, there’s a cafeteria upstairs, referred to by us locals as “Chez Ptomaine“, or you can take your chances on the Wheel of Death. The Wheel of Death is a staple in many break rooms around the world. It usually contains an array of refrigerated “food” including sandwiches, fatty hamburgers, unhealthy fried junk and overpriced grocery items. Take, for example, a tub of Chef Boy-Ar-Dee pasta. It goes for $1.00 at the nearby grocery. In the Wheel of Death, you’ll pay $2.75. So, you get to pay a 175% markup to stuff your food hole with preservatives and other chemical swill. The other choices aren’t much better. The Wheel of Death also has a reputation for going belly up with alarming frequency, which makes me question the safety of the prepared food stored within.

My two best friends at work.

This leads me to the conclusion that the only way to eat healthy at work is to bring your own. To that end I’ve made a couple of investments. On the left side of the picture, you’ll see a red insulated bag. It’s not huge but allows me enough space to pack a well-balanced meal and adding an ice pack to the penthouse compartment also helps to keep my meal cold. On the right side of the picture is a recent find. It’s a water jug holding around 64 oz. of fluid. The bariatric team has recommended that I try to consume at least 64 oz. of fluid every day and this makes it easy to keep tabs on what I’m drinking. The container comes with its own insulated carrier, so if I load it up with ice, my water stays cold all shift. On that note, if I’m not feeling like water, there are any number of zero calorie drink mixes I can add to jazz up the water. Two of my favorites have been the 4C Totally Light Half & Half, which is half lemonade/half iced tea and the other is not actually a zero calorie mix, that being Ocean Spray’s Cranberry Lemonade. It’s still not too bad at five calories. Either one can really enhance the water or disguise the nasty chlorine taste found in some tap water.

Meal planning and portion control are not that hard if you’re willing to invest the time to work on them. It also helps if you don’t mind leftovers. The real key with leftovers is to use them or freeze them before they go bad. You don’t want that… it might be dangerous to your other condiments.

Have a great weekend everyone!

So, Supportive Partner Woman (she who is flossing-challenged!) and I went to the dentist today. It was my second first visit with this particular dentist. You might be wondering how that can be, well, it’s like this.

A few years ago, I had a toothache. As it turns out, I had a plastic container fall out of the cabinet and hit me in the lip. It must have hit the sweet spot, because it pretty much killed a tooth. So, seeing as I didn’t have a regular dentist in Cow Country at the time, I let my fingers do the walking. I came upon the dental offices of one Frank Carano, DDS. I called and they were able to fit me in. Dr. Carano, a gnomish little man, told me I would need a root canal. We scheduled it, but Carano wouldn’t be doing it. He did, however, take the time to plug the custom color match service they offered, for an additional $125.

Doogie Howser DMD?

Carano’s associate, Dr. Kingston, actually did the procedure. He seemed awfully young but very competent. He even managed to pull off the second part of the root canal without any anesthesia. At the time, we didn’t have dental coverage, so I just let the cleanings and exam go by, even though I know that dental health is very important because of The Beetus. It just wasn’t a priority.

So fast forward and we noticed that Doogie the Dentist* had opened his own office, away from the gnomish Dr. Carano. We hemmed and hawed and eventually made appointments for exams and cleanings. We set them up for today and, of course, we almost forgot about them. The appointments were at 10:30… I woke SPW (sleeper of great soundness!) up at 10:14 and we managed to make it there by 10:44.

We get checked in and I get called first. The hygienist, Shannon, comes and takes me back to the exam room, which is dominated by a big-ass monitor. She does a load of X-Rays (surprised I’m not glowing), takes pictures of fillings and the like, and does some sort of laser test on my teeth to check hardness. I was sure that the laser would slice part of my jaw off… I’ve seen the movie, but I’m just fine.

The final score is that I have my second cavity of my 41 years. I also need to have an old amalgam filling replaced. It’s served me well, seeing as I got it when I was 13 or 14, so it doesn’t owe me anything. Finally, I have six (now four) teeth that need to be sealed. I also should have a crown done, but we can wait a little on that. The important thing to take away is that being attentive to dental care is as important as taking care of everything else when you have diabetes. It can really help your long-term health. So, pick up the floss, or as Shannon suggested, the dental picks. I know I have a long way to go with flossing, but like every other change I am making, I’ll get there.

Oh, and not once did Dr. Kingston attempt to sell me anything like my former dentist, Dr. Beefyhead. Dr. Beefyhead (not his real name) was convinced that all health problems were caused by my jaw being out of alignment and for only $13,000 (financing available), he could break may jaw and fix the alignment, curing me of all maladies.


* Please note that this is not meant to sound derogatory in any sense. Dr. Kingston strikes me as a fine clinician and his staff is first-rate. I am quite pleased with his work and would gladly recommend him to anyone. If you are in the Lancaster, PA area and are seeking a dental professional, check out  his website.

Yup… you read the title correctly. I’m opting to use part of my break to write rather than attempt a distance record. See, the dogs were barking after last night’s walk. I thought it best to take an abbreviated walk rather than risk blister city and be knocked out of action for weeks until it fully healed.

So, tomorrow morning I have my first session with Ryan. I’m looking forward to it, but I’m also pretty intimidated. Here’s a guy who’s exceedingly fit, next to me, Captain Schlub. My biggest exercise is usually raising a fork full of food to my face. I’m looking forward to it because here’s a guy who can teach me how to get the most out of a workout. I’ve done the gym many times, and it never seemed to help. It was like I wasn’t getting anything out of it. Plus, I was always intimidated by the gym because of my bulk. Some of the looks you could get from other members were downright brutal. I got the impression that they were offended by the mere presence of a fatty among them.

This general feeling of not being welcome has become a constant. I’m not saying everybody is like that, but you can see the disgust that my weight causes in some. I said in an earlier post that it seems that fatties are the only group it’s still ok to discriminate against. Seems that the beautiful people are disgusted by what they perceive as unattractiveness. Found a good article at about the anti-fat hate crimes that are taking place. Here’s a small excerpt:

People tend to have unconscious but powerful negative reactions to those they find unattractive. Weight specialist Dr. Ian Campbell: “It’s innate in people to dislike what they see as a lack of attractiveness. It makes them think such people are worthy of derision. Very young kids have been shown to have a bias against their overweight peers.”

It’s sad, really, and while this is one of the things that the bariatric program has taught me. It takes work, but you can lose the weight and be healthier. I know I can get there. I made it once from 410 pounds to 270. Now I’m going to learn how to finally make the life changes I need so as to not rebound. Whether or not I have an operation, there are medical options as well as surgical. Plus, I have support that I didn’t have before.

If I leave you with anything tonight, please don’t ever feel ashamed to ask for assistance. If you feel you have nowhere else to go, search for bariatric physicians or ask your regular doctor. There are so many folks willing to help you be healthy and if you’re willing to listen, they can help. This is something I’m finally learning. I’m not alone. You don’t have to be alone either.

… We have news for the beautiful people. There’s a lot more of us than there are of you. – Lewis Skolnick

Greetings from the land of the slimmer!

I had an appointment this morning with the exercise physiologist and dietitian at the bariatric center. First thing, I got weighed. It was a cool 368 lbs. That’s a vast improvement over my last visit to the clinic for group where the number was 380. So, 12 pounds in about three weeks. Much better. The funny thing is that before you can have surgery, they ask that you lose 10 pounds. Guess I took care of that.

The first part of my appointment was with the exercise guy. I found Ryan to be very upbeat and encouraging. He was impressed by my walking regimen and wants me to keep it up. He also set up some appointments for me in their fitness center. It’s not big, but they only have six people at a time in there. They have shower facilities and most importantly, Ryan and/or Cory are there to show you how to exercise and lift weights safely and correctly. I start with a one hour session on Thursday and I’m really looking forward to it. Apparently, one of the risks with bariatric surgery is the  loss of muscle mass. As such, they want to build it up so you don’t lose all of what you have.

Cedar plank roasted Copper River salmon with mushroom risotto and steamed broccoli

Following my appointment with Ryan, I met Cory, the other physiologist. Then it was off to meet the dietitian, Shauna. She also seemed to be very supportive and was pleased with some of the dietary progress I’ve made. She was pleased to hear that both The Management and myself like to cook, and she was really pleased with last night’s dinner. We were at Wegman’s on Friday and I managed to pick up some Copper River salmon. I roasted it on a cedar plank with a sheen of olive oil, fresh ground pepper and sea salt on top. To go along with it, I made a mushroom risotto and steamed broccoli. The Management approved.

Today’s route.

So, I also added a new track to my walking playlist. I think my hair band loving friends will like it. Many might remember an 80’s hair band called Warrant. They were in the news in the past couple of years thanks to the death of lead singer Jani Lane. So, this weekend, XM 80s on 8 was playing a countdown from 1989 and Warrant’s little known track, Down Boys came on. It was very catchy and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. It sets a pretty good pace and I’m kind of scared to check my feet, because I might have overdone it a little. I did manage to walk about half of the Red Rose Commons perimeter. This gets me a little closer to my goal.

The one constant today is that everyone assures me I’m on the right track. It’s not easy, but when I saw 36_ instead of 37_, well, that’s a nice motivator. I’d love to have a 35_ next time. We shall see.

As I sat in the doctor’s office this afternoon, the dulcet tones of Bryan Adams crooned out through hidden speakers. As Mr. Adams (who has been apologized for on multiple occasions by the Canadian government) was telling everyone in the waiting room that everything he did, he did for us, it dawned on me that this is what I really want to avoid. Spending a goodly chunk of my life waiting in doctors offices, waiting to die. (As an aside, it’s not a good thing if you’re the mayor of a doctor’s office on foursquare and you don’t work there.)

This was a simple podiatrist appointment, or as I call it, my pedicure. Not too bad in the realm of doctor visits… he normally trims up the toenails, gives the feet a once over and that’s about it. Not really traumatic. But on the road of life, it’s a pothole. This is the main reason why I’m leaning toward an operation. Am I excited about going under general anesthesia? Hell no. (Granted, Versed is some good stuff… ask The Management. She witnessed me go from a ball of quivering nerves to singing a medley of 70’s hits in a few minutes)

I’m already getting a pet peeve about the bariatric surgery world. The peeve is people who think it’s the easy way out. There’s nothing easy about this process. It’s six months of work, basically relearning how to eat, relearning how to live, actually, and there’s a helluva lot of sacrifices to be made. The surgery is simply a means to an end. It’s not the end itself. The only way this operation will work is if I’m all in. I can’t do this half-assed, otherwise I’m right back asking for a seatbelt extender on the plane and being forced to buy a second seat on Southwest Airlines. No thanks.

I don’t want to be the fat guy just bouncing from doctor to doctor waiting to die. That’s not living. That’s an existence, and not a particularly good one. I can do better.