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The Big Day is Here

I've been lying here trying (unsuccessfully) to sleep. It's 5am, and I have a 6:30am checkin to the hospital, for a 7:30am procedure. I've just taken an Emend, and I'm wearing a scopolamine patch (both for nausea). They're making me a little dizzy.   I'm hoping that the procedure goes swiftly and smoothly.   I'll see you on the other side!

ouroborous

ouroborous

 

Last Day

Tomorrow is the big day. At 7:30 am they're going to anesthetize me and cut out about 3/4 of the fundus of my stomach, hopefully leading to a safe, healthy, and durable weight loss.   I'm anxious, but I'm also fairly convinced that I'm making the right decision. Most of my anxiety isn't really about the procedure (that may change as the hour draws near), it's a sort of self-doubt: am I doing the right thing? This is irreversible.   But I AM doing the right thing. I've seen that I just don't do well with the old "diet and exercise" thing. I CAN lose weight, but only ten or fifteen pounds, and I just have a hard time keeping up the willpower necessary to keep dieting. Eventually, my weight yo-yos back to where it was before, or more. This is a PERMANENT solution. It's not risk- or work-free, but it's a tool that will allow me to lose weight for good.   I am ready to let go of the few things I will have to let go of. Beer, okay -- I'll miss it, but if I want to have a drink (after my stomach is healed) I can still have non-carbonated drinks like vodka collins (yum!) or whatever. Diet Coke -- harder to let go of, since it's been my caffeine vehicle of choice.   I'm going to have to re-learn how to chew, how to sip. I'm going to have to learn to be mindful of how much water I've consumed, how much protein I've had, how my vitamin levels are.   But I really think that the benefits are worth it. My girlfriend (who was sleeved in November of last year) has said, several times, that if she had to do it all over again, she would in a heartbeat. I hear that from lots of people on these forums. That's heartening to hear!   The next weeks to a month or so may be hard, as I learn how to eat and take care of my stomach. I may have bouts of depression or anxiety -- that's okay, I'm ready for it. In the long run, I think this is the best thing I can do for my health. I'm so ready to be free of the obesity demon!   So, think good thoughts for me, and I'll see you on the other side!

ouroborous

ouroborous

 

Less than One Week Out

Well, if all goes well, one week from now I'll be home from surgery -- in pain, doped up, and past the worst of it.   I can tell I'm going to need a valium or something!

ouroborous

ouroborous

 

Two Weeks Out

Well, I'm now officially two weeks out from surgery.   I've been on the low carb diet for a couple days now, and it's going pretty smoothly. I didn't feel like I was the kind of guy who needed lots of sweets, but I have to say that the (zero carb) Crystal Lite is really helping me not obsess over things like the (low calorie, but still high carb) desserts in the fridge.   I wonder if this pre-op diet will affect my weight? I'm not counting on it, but I wouldn't mind!   On the plus side, due to figuring out some issues with my CPAP, my sleep has been a little better for a couple nights running. That's nice!

ouroborous

ouroborous

 

My List of Demands

Well, ok, this isn't really a list of demands. Rather, it's a list of complaints. I wanted to list all of my complaints and issues BEFORE surgery that I think that losing the weight might improve.   This will sound like whining -- so if that annoys you, skip this post. But it's not, really. My memory is poor (a complaint!), so I wanted to have a concrete list to look back on after the surgery and after I lose the weight, and see how far I've come.     My sleep is almost ALWAYS poor. It's the rare exception when I sleep deeply, with dreams, through the night. Usually I'm struggling with my CPAP mask, or pressure. Or, I'm dealing with cramps and aches and pains from being so heavy -- just lying on my side for too long makes my shoulder ache from my own weight. As a result of this, I'm always tired and use too much caffeine.
I always have some sort of aches and pains. Whether it's the shoulder I just mentioned, or my back, or (lately, worryingly) my knees, or my elbows. Or, I have a headache, or muscle cramps, or whatever. I know that some of this is just "getting older," but I also know that being obese is a big, big part of it (pun semi-intended).
My sex-life is almost nonexistent. My partner is very patient with me, but it's still a source of some friction. I have almost no libido, and the few times that I do, I rarely have the energy to DO anything about it.
My skin is very poor. I get constant rashes and dermatitis. This is very embarrassing, and it's one more thing that I use prescription medication to control. A portion of this is genetic, but it is modulated by bodily stress, and obesity (with its constant low-grade inflammation state) is a major bodily stress.
I feel like I complain too much, but the reality is that I DO have a lot of physical complaints. I don't like being a "complainer" -- I'm hoping that losing weight and getting healthier will result in having less to complain about!
I struggle a lot with anxiety. I chalk this up to exhaustion (see my first point) and my excessive caffeine use.
I have very poor body self-esteem. I tend to avoid social situations because I am nervous about being so obese and having people mock or insult me for it. A portion of this is just stuff I'll have to work through, but not being obese will help me to not have to worry so much about it!
I have low energy -- I rarely have the energy to go do "fun" stuff with my girlfriend, so weekends are just sitting around at home.
It seems to me like I get sick a lot considering that I'm still relatively young and in relatively good health (aside from my obesity).
There are all sorts of things I either can't do (skydiving) or don't feel safe doing (bicycling, kayaking) due to my weight and size.
I have to wear giant, ill-fitting clothes to either hide or accomodate my flab.
It's just a matter of time before I develop serious health problems, at this weight, and that knowledge at the back of my mind makes me anxious.
My memory is very poor. I forget names and facts and figures very quickly. It's embarrassing and further limits me socially. Er... wait. Did I mention this already?

ouroborous

ouroborous

 

Wow

(Cross posted from the forums.)   So, my lovely girlfriend took a number of pictures of me standing around in just my boxers, and, yeah... now I remember why 1) I never go shirtless, and 2) I don't like pictures!   I believe that, under all the flab, I'm still a basically good looking man. But I have let the fat pile up, in roll after roll, until I'm almost unrecognizable under it. I think I've never really let myself accept just how very fat I've become. I have this bizarre mental image of myself as much more "normal" weight than is reality, but I also live in constant apprehension of someone seeing just how large I am. It's a bizarre mental double-image, and the photos today (which are in my private profile, and are going to stay private until I have some real progress to show!) were... a shock. My weight looks... ungainly, unhealthy, and just unsupportable, long-term. In some ways I think I haven't been fully committed to the surgery until this moment, just now, when I realized "man, if you stay like this, if you don't change something, you are going to die, painfully, and soon."   I really understand now why...     My back almost always hurts. If it's not my back, it's my shoulder from lying on my side to read or sleep (all that weight on my shoulder causes problems).
I almost never sleep well, and fight constantly with apnea.
I'm sick so often.
I hate exercise so much -- if I walk long distances (or even stand up straight for too long), something is always chafing or rubbing or constricting. It's not surprising... with that much flab to move around, who would be comfortable?
I have such a hard time finding clothes that fit. I buy huge, tent-like clothes to try to fit into and "hide" my flab, but let's be real... I'm not fooling anybody.
I feel so awkward in social situations -- I'm very body-shy, and it's very difficult for me to avoid the belief that someone is "judging" me for my body.
Some years ago, I had LASIK surgery because I was very nearsighted. I had to wear thick, coke bottle glasses (or contacts, but they were killing my eyes). I was very frightened of the surgery, to be honest -- I was worried I would go blind or something. But I got through it; I did my best to follow the surgeon's instructions TO THE LETTER, and when my eyes had fully healed, I had better than 20/20 vision (20/10 in one eye, 20/15 in the other). It wasn't entirely a positive experience; I had to shell out five thousand dollars of my own money (LASIK was still new). It was a little painful and a lot frightening, but I still consider it one of the best choices I've ever made. I still just stare out on this beautiful world, sometimes, and marvel at how nice it is to be able to really SEE without thick lenses or frames chafing my ears or getting smudged or slipping down (and making everything look small, that's one odd effect of glasses that they never mention -- everything looks so SMALL). It was totally worth the money, and I would do it again in a moment.   So that's how I'm thinking of the weight loss surgery. I've done the research; on almost every single metric, this surgery will improve my life. It will add years of life expectancy, and (maybe more important), it will likely be QUALITY life, not years spent in sickness and decline. It will restore my mental image of myself as a "normal looking" guy to reality. It will hopefully ease my constant anxiety that something is Dreadfully Wrong with me, health-wise (I'm fortunate that almost all of my anxiety is, for now, ungrounded -- but how long will THAT last?). YES, there will be some initial pain, but apparently not much. YES, I'll have to likely deal with some nausea or "sliming" or whatever, but that's a small price to pay. YES, I'll have to re-learn how to eat, and make good food choices every single day, but to be honest, I should have been doing that anyhow.   I'm hoping that, like the LASIK surgery, I'll look back on this in a few years and say "would I do it again? Absolutely, yes. In a heartbeat." Because after looking at myself in all of my non-glory today, I don't like what I see. That much fat just can't be sustained. This kind of life of pain, embarrassment, discomfort, and always waiting for the "other shoe to fall," health-wise, just can't last. I have to do it. I think, now, I may finally WANT to do it.

ouroborous

ouroborous

 

Farewell to...

Well, my girlfriend (who is also a sleever) and I went out for a "farewell" dinner tonight. I ate my last meal (ever!) where I won't be thinking about protein grams or carb grams. I had a big ole cheeseburger, with fries. I drank two large mugs of beer since that will likely be my last beer. I had two big glasses of Diet Coke. It was glorious, but I was also saying goodbye.   For the most part, I don't think I'll miss it. But I kinda needed to do it so I didn't feel like I'm getting a raw deal. On Tuesday, I'm going to start my pre-op low-carb diet, which I'm actually going to informally begin on Monday.   Edit: oh, I also took some "before" photos of myself just in boxers. Jeesh, it's mortifying. I guess I didn't really want to admit, even to myself, just how fat I've become. Well, that's going to change...

ouroborous

ouroborous

 

Relearning

Well, I can tell that I'm going to have to re-learn EVERYTHING about how and what to eat.   After discovering that one of my little "snack bags" of raw almonds (a healthy "snack," right?) was nearly 40g of carbs and over 1100 calories (almost 1000 calories of fat!), I have been SUPER cautious about EVERYTHING I put in my mouth.   This is going to be tough!

ouroborous

ouroborous

 

Getting closer...

Well, I meet with the surgeon and nutritionist on Tuesday (the 20th) for my final appointment and my nutrition counseling for my 2 week pre-op diet. That's also when I cough up the money (I'm a self-pay).   So... it's all starting to become REAL. I'm getting a serious case of cold feet. I'm still going to do it. I HAVE to do it. But I'm starting to get nervous...

ouroborous

ouroborous

 

Three weeks out

So, I'm a little over three weeks out from my surgery (5/6/2010), and a week out from my two week pre-op diet. I know I have fatty liver (diagnosed) and I'm going to be super rigorous following the pre-op diet since I don't want to risk injury to my liver during the surgery! It will be hard, however, since I love, love, love carbs -- the breadier and doughier the better.   I'm already trying to prep myself somewhat for the surgery by weaning off of carbonated beverages (it will be hard to say goodbye to my beloved Diet Cokes, but in return for being a more "normal" weight... okay!) and cutting back on carbs when possible.   My girlfriend had the lap sleeve in November of last year, and her tremendous success (going on 60 lbs lost with very little work on her part, and almost no cravings) has been my inspiration. Plus, it's very comforting to have someone around who "knows the ropes" and can reassure me that what I'm experiencing is normal. I'm a worrier, you see -- I comfort myself with facts and figures. I know that leak rates are less than 2%, I know that mortality in this surgery is around a tenth of a percent, and I know all of those things mean that, statistically speaking, the bad things almost certainly won't happen to me. I know that at 39 (which isn't a kid, but is still fairly young), with no diabetes, heart disease, or other comorbidities, and with a very uncomplicated surgery (no hiatal hernia, no gall bladder issues, "virgin" stomach -- not a revision), I'm very safe. But still, I worry.   I'm somewhat concerned about my mental state following surgery. I'm predisposed to depression and anxiety. Much of that has to do with my poor sleep (I've strongly tied my depression to lack of sleep) and the amount of caffeine I use to function despite being so tired. But still, I have to admit that I'm nervous about my mindstate after surgery, considering how common post-surgical depression is, and how I'm predisposed. I'm guessing that the first week post-op, where I'm scheduled to be back to work but "working from home" (so, no coworkers to distract me and lighten my mood, etc.) will be the hardest, as I'll have time to dwell and wonder "what have I done?" and mourn all the things I can't have anymore.   I'm not a religious person, so I don't have faith to strengthen me, but I have friends and families and the wonderful community here. I figure that I can survive a week or two of anything, and the payoff should be SO worth it.   So that, in a nutshell, is where I am today.

ouroborous

ouroborous

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