Thursday, March 28, 2013

Captainsblog Stardate: 66704.3

Of Strictures and Gluten

Here we are... not quite 4 years Post-Op.  This has been a very rough year, this the cricket status of this blog.  Concussions, rampaging headaches, a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis and on and on.  Over the course of all of this intense drama food issues have been creeping in.  Increasingly... foods with texture just... kinda... sits there at the top of my stomach pouch... without passing through the system as it was designed to work.  After a bit the old "return to sender" response kicks in and a "food fail" is the result. This has been happening more and more.  I have been afraid that a stricture was developing. Where sections of my gastric anatomy have been joined is called an anasomosis... those places can form scar tissue which can shrink over time and constrict and restrict the passage of food - creating a stricture. I have feared that a stricture was developing... and I know how they are treated.  Due to past abuse issues I have been avoiding being scoped... to my own detriment. My food choices have narrowed to a point where I'm not eating much. It has reached a point where it has to be done.

In the interest of my autoimmune condition of MS and emerging likely side-by-side diagnosis of Lupus... I am venturing into the land of the Gluten-Free. I have been doing this for about 8 days, it can be a challenge, but also an adventure into new food.  Lovin me some curried lentils!  I hope to do a better report soon.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Carrots are good for you... right?

Well... that's what they say, isn't it???  I know that carrots pack a nutritional wallop - but I am here (thankfully) to testify, that they pack a wallop in other ways.   The previous post said I was recovering from a concussion.  Wellll.. since that time there have been two more.  Three concussions in as many weeks. The final blow - as it were - came from a can of carrots accidentally hurled from a grocery bag being swing around - not unlike that deadly weapon of the ancients... the sling.  Instead of a leather thong and cup, a plastic handle grocery bag... instead of a rock... yep... a can of carrots.               
So why, why, WHY is this posted on my WLS blog?  Well for me, the key factor in getting over a plateau, kick starting loss, or just maintaining... is exercise.  I have been sidelined by my doctor.  Her diagnosis Post Concussion Syndrome.  Her orders 4 - 6 weeks from the most recent injury - of WAY dialed back activity.  Full days of full weeks at work, not recommended. FMLA paperwork has been filed, just in case I need it. 

So my trusty bike, sits in the garage - a sad, sad thing for me!  I am not to exert or do anything dangerous (I was told that bungee jumping and skydiving, were out).  It is extremely hard for me to be sedentary, but I have no choice.  Its not only a matter of following doctor's orders... (my medical Dr. and the infamous Dr. Whatchamacallit) I myself know, it would not be safe. I am dealing with a month long disastrous headache, and big time vertigo among other delightful symptoms.  Sitting back and watching life go by... sitting and watching my Jen do all the heavy lifting, literally and metaphorically around the farm, and sitting and watching the summer prance by are unsettling, depressing and make great big sadness in my soul.  So I am relying on my buds, to safeguard me, from my own perception of what "rest" is... to remind me how serious this really is and that a brain injury - as "funny" as the circumstances by which you got it... is nothing to make light of.  Praying for patience and healing.

Keepin in real...

Monday, June 4, 2012

Year 3: In Review

Captainsblog, Stardate: 65891

Yesterday was my 3rd Re-Birth Day!
Wow, It's been a heck of a year, lots of triumphs and challenges to be sure!   I AM going to try to blog here more... I really am!

So year three, lets see...  my year three goals were:

  • Keep up this blog better - no, sure didn't but I am carrying this goal forward and have a strategy in place to do better!
  • Take a spin class - not yet
  • Integrate more exercise into my hectic schedule - might help with that whole extra skin around the middle thing, I have going on - LOL! - early in year three I was kicking this one's ass... and I haven't done AS well lately.
  • Climb a rock wall (carryover from year 2) - stil not yet - BUT Jen bought me a gift certificate to do this, for my birthday - so we'll be doing it!!!
  • Complete a century bike ride! - well, not a century - but we DID ride like 68 miles!
  • Tackle Mt. Baldhead - YES!
  • Get more creative with my food choices within the given parameters - I'm kinda in a rut - meat, cheese, eggs (and then repeat) - yes I have gotten more creative, incorporating more salads etc
  • Get more SLEEP! - Sometimes?!
My year 3 has been charged with LOTS of emotional stuff, some very challenging partings, that stressed me out - BIG time.  I fully admit that the stress levels created times when I turned back to long-established bad habits.  All I can claim, is an attack.. of being human.
I have paid the price in putting a few pounds back on, but... this is life, its a process, its not something at which you get to do something once, and if you don't do it perfectly, you are hosed.  So I am regrouping.  The past 2 months have seen a prolonged time of being sick, and I am now recovering from a concussion.  As soon as I feel stable and safe from dizziness, I am back on that bike! I miss it - Truly, I love getting on a rail trail , getting in the zone and just whoosh...

So in closing this post, what I'd say is this... while I am not where I want to be today... I AM so much better than I was, I have kept after it most of the time, have stumbled , and gotten up... I am absolutely dedicated to not, going back to where I once was... I am still a far, far cry 

So I guess I should post a year three pic, here you go:

Me, close to my heaviest, and me, 2 weeks ago - interesting that there was a ten year period of long hair, in between these two short haired pictures.  So looking at this - I guess I can cut myself a bit of a break, but only - a little one.

And YES my friends, i DO still miss my hair (those who have followed this blog know this is an ongoing lament - LOL).

Peace OUT My Peeps!

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Tale of Two Climbs

Captainsblog: Stardate 64913.7 (thought I grew tired of that.. didn't ya!)

In November of 2008 - approximately 6 months prior to my surgery, my partner and I went to Saugatuck Michigan for the weekend.  A friend had given us a gift certificate for a B & B there, which we utilized, and had a marvelous time.  Saugatuck is a great place, very artsy and lots of neat things to do.  One of those neat things is that that you can climb Mt. Baldhead.  Mt Baldhead is a tree covered sand dune which rises from 560 ft. above sea level to 800 ft at its highest point. If you go down on the opposite side from that which you climbed up, you'll be on the shore of Lake Michigan.   There have been stairs ascending Mt. Baldhead since the early 1900s.  The set of stairs we climbed in 2008 had been there since the 1950s.  They were rather worn, but still sturdy-ish.  Jen and I tacked the climb as we wanted to see the view. As we began to ascent, my heart began to pound, each riser, each landing, made me doubt my ability to make it to the top. But I am STUBBORN... kept going.  I felt lightheaded, my hips were screaming, my heart pounded.  I remember thinking, "this is the stuff that heart attacks ware made of!"  At one point, I did consider stopping, but just about then, a 20 something couple went zipping past me and I thought "oh HELL no" and was determined to make it to the top, which I eventually did.  We rested at the top for a while before coming back down.  Jen told me that she worried about me, and that I hadn't looked good, she was afraid I was going to have a heart attack or something the way I looked. With her training and experience as a firefighter and 1st responder, I didn't take that lightly.  It was two or three weeks after that climb, that I decided to have bariatric surgery.  The left half of the picture below was taken at the top of Mt. Baldhead after I caught my breath somewhat, on that first climb. The right half was taken a few days ago.
Fast forward 2 1/2 years.  We again went to Saugatuck, this time with one of the express purposes being, that I wanted to tackle Mt. Baldhead, and kick its ass, as opposed to it nearly doing me in.  We were surprised to see that a new set of steps had been built, still numbering 282 to reach the summit.  I read online that it cost $99,990 to replace the steps.
This is a view of the steps, from the bottom, even now, looking up made me think "holy shit!" but I was resolved to do it, and was also confident that I could do it without endangering my life.   So up we went!  We stopped for a breather a few times, but we made it. I didn't feel dangerously winded or have the feeling of impending doom I experienced on the last time up. It was a breathtaking experience, but this time, it was the VIEW that took my breath away... not the climb!  

Year Two Goal: Climb Mt. Baldhead - Check ✓
Thanks for hanging with me my friends... peace OUT!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Year 2 in Review

Its kinda hard to comprehend that it has been 2 years! This is a good time to look at my goals for year 2, and set new goals for year 3!

My Year 2 goals were:

  • Climb a rock wall - I have not encountered a rock wall, so sadly... no
  • Run - just see if I can... you know... run! - Check 
  • Get a good bike - and ride regularly... building up to longer distances - Check ✓
  • Climb Mt. Baldhead in Douglas Michigan - that trip will happen this summer  :-)
  • Climb Tower Hill at Warren Dunes State Park - Check ✓
I feel pretty good about the progress I made on the year 2 goals, I wish had achieved them all, but this is not bout perfection, its a work in progress, just like me.  So here's to year 3, and some more goal setting.
  • Keep up this blog better!
  • Take a spin class
  • Integrate more exercise into my hectic schedule - might help with that whole extra skin around the middle thing, I have going on - LOL!
  • Climb a rock wall (carryover from year 2)
  • Complete a century bike ride!
  • Tackle Mt. Baldhead (carryover from year 2)
  • Get more creative with my food choices within the given parameters - I'm kinda in a rut - meat, cheese, eggs (and then repeat)
  • Get more SLEEP!
Speaking of that last one, I'm outta here, thanx for keeping up with me my friends!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Measuring Success...

Holy Crap, it's been a long time since I've been here! Life gets away from me, just like everyone else, I guess.  I've been in a stuck place all winter, less opportunities to exercise... sure, but I gotta OWN it... less motivation to exercise.  I guess I've been channeling my inner bear... and just hibernating through the cold & snowy months. At present I'm about 25 pounds over the very first goal I set, but about 15 from my "reality goal." My provider told me that I'd be totin 5 - 10 pounds of extra skin unless I had it lopped off, so I set a "reality goal." I am trying as some very wise people have been telling me to not focus on the number on the scale, but look at where I am, and where I've been.  I've had many of my peeps ask me, if I wanted to lose more, and when I respond that I'd love to lose 10 or 15 more... their brows furrow... and they ask me if it will make me feel better (like healthy wise) and I admit, that it may not make that much of a difference.  "Then WHY... you look GREAT!" is the usual response.  I guess it probably IS just a numbers thing.  Unless I have it surgically removed (not going to happen) I'll always have my "spare tire" of extra skin, so I'll never have a striking hourglass figure... and I really don't care.  Beauty is within, and even external beauty is defined BROADLY in my world view.  Some of the most awesome people I know do not conform to the bullshit "ideal" of beauty in our society. And it's not just that I love these people, but they are active and vital and live in a good way. So my goal this spring is to get back into a more active mode, to ride my bike, to hike and whatever else presents itself.  If increased activity help with those last few pounds... great... but if not... that really is OKAY!  

I know some other folks who have had bariatric surgery and are various distances on their respective journeys.  I see some of those folks engaging in habits that scare me to death... the food choices, the amounts... scare me.  I didn't go through all I have been through thus far to go back to that place.   I have a friend who counsels people who struggle with food related issues, and she told me that I am only the second person she has known, who she considers a bariatric success story, who hasn't fallen back into the pit of destructive food behaviors.  That scares me too! But this is a healthy fear, and a useful one.  It keeps me on track!

I KNOW I am not going back to where I was... that is the important thing here... I guess I need to remind myself of that from time to time, and quit spazzing about numbers. I thought I'd include this pic.  My bariatric provider has me as their poster child on the binders they give to patients now... and looking at the 2 pics, even blows ME away!  So yeah, really... I'm doing just FINE!  

Keepin' it real my peeps!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Stress Eating

Captainsblog... Stardate: 64349.7
It's been a while since I've blogged, and a lot has happened since that last post.   Life took a very stressful turn in October.  The loss of my Grandson in childbirth threw me into a huge tailspin. It is hard to adequately describe those feelings. I feel helpless... my family is hurting and I can't make it better.  I just hurt... I mourn for those experiences we never got to share... those first steps, and first words and walking in the woods together.  I know that Kaiden is in a place with his Creator and his ancestors... but that doesn't keep from recognizing that the situation sucks!  I am blessed that I have such an amazingly supportive partner, family and circle of friends. Our church family has been a huge blessing as well.  But there are days... awash in pain and a feeling of helplessness I turn to my old friend - food -  for comfort.  Now I can't just go mow down a candy bar ... or down a milkshake (no matter how much I'd LIKE to)... that would just make me sick... but I do find myself munching when I don't need to.  Eating things like chex mix that while not the absolutely worst choice... its not a great one either. Eating not because I am hungry - eating because I am stressed... and that is a LONG established pattern.  So now...  I am examining those things and have refocused myself on getting lots of lean protein, and eating fruit for snacks and so forth and just not buying any of that filler crap that does not meet my nutritional needs.
Trying to pull it together...
Peace-out my peeps