Saturday, August 16, 2008

intimate details part five: the writer six months out of bariatric surgery

well boys & girls i'm officially six months out from my gastric bypass. well, to be technical six months and 5 days, but close enough. i haven't done a down & dirty update on that in a while, so it's about time for me to do that.

believe it or not the inappropriate/rude/way too personal questions still have not stopped. but, i almost decked someone for the first time in regards to this issue. when i decided to get surgery i knew i'd be in for a lot of questions & curiosity. i resigned myself to that & accepted it before i had the OK that my insurance would pay for it. the questions have pretty much died off. people still ask me how much weight i've lost, or how many sizes i've gone down. & that's ok with me. it's natural for people to want to know that. i also often get asked about my eating habits, what i can & can't have (look below for more on that). that's cool with me too.

what i'm not cool with is what happened to me on fourth of july, which also happens to be my best friend tina's birthday. i was over at her parents' house for her party, just like i've been doing since, oh, i don't know, i was like fifteen. i was wearing some capris & a tshirt. i was dressed for the weather. now, here's the thing. with such a rapid weight loss you get loose skin. it's a reality. & i was prepared for it. am i happy about it? fuck no! but, dealing with that for a while until i can get cosmetic surgery is most definitely worth the added years to my life & the increased quality of the years. i'm not stupid. i know my upper arms look like hell because they're really saggy & droopy from the loose skin. i'm not a moron. that being said: at tina's birthday party her aunt marie says to me: "so what are you doing about your arms?"

i almost punched her. really. it's a good thing that #1 i was about four feet away #2 i love tina too much to be banned from her party's for eternity (although, i think secretly most of her family would be cheering me on that i had done what everyone's wanted to do for years) & #3 a higher power basically stopped all motor functions in my body long enough for me to realize punching marie would solve nothing. who the fuck says that? i mean seriously. the woman is on the top of my shit list. & i'm really glad i won't have to see her until next july. maybe by then i'll have cooled off. {she also said some really nasty/inappropriate things to my sister at my nephew lucas' 1st birthday party which i had to skip because i was sister is a bloody SAINT for not knocking marie's block off at that party. but, mark my words, next july the gloves are off. so she better watch her mouth around me. cause if i don't hit her i'll at least cuss her out using language that'd make davy jones himself blush.}

enough about marie. she's socially inappropriate.

yesterday i had my six month follow up with my internal medicine doctor & my dietitian at HCMC. then on the 27th of august i'll be back in to see my bariatric surgeon. at the hospital they officially recorded my weight as 177.7; that means that i have a BMI of 30.0, a total weight loss since i started the program of 98.3 lbs, & an overall loss of 69% of my excess weight. not too shabby. i did make it a point of telling christine, my dietitian, that i think their scale is off because i was five pounds less when i weighed in at home that morning, and four pounds less two days before when i was at park nic to see my regular doctor. she said she's heard it a lot, but they calibrate the scale regularly & it's dead on. i chalk it up to a change in the gravitational pull on 8th street in downtown minneapolis.

my appointment with dr hartley (internal med) went well. my blood pressure is great. since the exploratory surgery i haven't had any of the sharp pains. so he took a six month picture of me, said to come back in february for my one year visit & sent me on my merry way. thankfully without any blood draws! i am getting better at having my blood drawn, but i'll never be a big donor, or, donor at all, to the red cross. & fuck if i'll ever sell plasma. much too queasy.

overall the appointment with christine went well. she wants me to take a B complex vitamin. she thinks it'll help with my energy levels. she also wants me to stop taking tums for my calcium & start taking a calcium citrate. i also need to be better about drinking my protein drinks & making sure that i get enough fluids, i'm still struggling with dehydration. it's really hard because even though i'm six months out of gastric bypass, i'm only nine weeks out of my second surgery. & the exploratory put me back to about square three. after that i had the nausea again, trouble eating, weakness...the whole kit 'n kaboodle.

i've been struggling since yesterday whether or not to blog about this next part. i've told a couple of my friends & sworn them each to secrecy on it. but i think i should blog about it. i'm really upfront in my blog about the most intimate details of my life, so why not this? when i was talking to christine i told her that i hate food. i hate dealing with it, thinking about it. basically everything. i also told her that by the time i had the gastric bypass surgery i had been fed up with dealing with food. she said it may be because i've been having such a rough go of it since the surgery, & then having to had a second surgery, my poor body has been through quite a bit in the last six months. some problems are expected.

but it also concerned her. it concerned her to the point that she asked me "am i going to have to refer you to an eating disorder program?" her tone was light when she said it, almost half joking, but there was a seriousness behind her eyes & the statement. i did protest that i didn't have an eating disorder. she then went on to tell me that it is fairly common for people post bariatric surgery to develop an eating disorder & it's nothing to be ashamed of. but, gang, the truth is, i've sorta wondered it myself. i've even kinda joked about it with my friends. but it's nothing to joke about at all.

if it was possible i would not deal with food at all. if i could just take some vitamins & drink some milk or a supplement with the right amount of calories i'd do that & stop thinking about food all together. i spend much too much time obsessing about food. & that's really the only way to describe it is obsess. part of it is a lot of things do make me sick. i don't handle chicken very well unless it is very moist. sometimes mashed potatoes don't digest well. & some days something i was able to eat the day before with no problem will make me sick as a dog. i can't have juice or anything with too much sugar. but i agonize about food. sometimes i'll get paralyzed just having to decide what i'm going to eat. i do enjoy cooking for E & going out to eat with him (& my family & friends). but i think that's about the socialization & not the eating.

is all this normal because of how hard my recovery has been? maybe it'll all even out over the next few months. i'm set to go back to see christine again in mid-december. she did give me some information on a program in the twin cities that is supposed to be good. it's called the emily program. she didn't refer me or even say that i need to go. but she gave me the information including the name of one of the doctors there that she's worked with.
she suggested that i think about it & maybe check it out. this is scary. it's fucking petrifying. but, i guess it's also maybe a good sign that i'm open to listen? that i'm brave enough to put it out here on my blog where anyone can find it (& i mean anyone, if my mom or other family members are nosy enough they can google my name & find this blog)?

my plan? i have no idea. well, not exactly no idea. i decided i'm going to start attending the monthly support group meetings at HCMC. when i go into work on monday i'm going to put it on the calendar that i need to leave by 3:30pm on the third wednesday of every month. then i won't have any excuse at all not to go. in addition to that i'm going to start paying more attention. what really is my relationship with food? do i hate it because things have been tough over the past few months, or is it something more than that? i know that i need more time to process all of this & figure out my next step. if i have a problem i want to get help now before it gets totally out of control. i've thought about waiting until december & see what happens. but i may not wait that long. i'm contemplating calling my mental health vendor next week to see what my outpatient benefits are, specifically if i need a referral & if my medical out of pocket applies to that. i mean, i have met my out of pocket for this year, so if i'm going to seek therapy i may as well do it now while i don't have to pay anything out of pocket instead of waiting til next year when it resets. (can you tell i work in health insurance? how many people did i just lose with that yammering?)

i've said it before & i'll continue saying it. gastric bypass has been the most challenging thing in my life. previously it was burning man. this has blown burning man out of the water. the question has been asked before & i know it'll be asked again now: do i regret the surgery? would i change it if i could? hell no. not in a million years. even with the pain, the nausea, the complications, the exploratory surgery....even with the possibility that i may now have an eating disorder, i wouldn't change it. everything happens for a reason. i'm a firm believer in that, even though that is a fucking tough pill to swallow sometimes. but, in my gut i absolutely know there is a greater purpose for why things have been the way they have been for me. i don't know it now, & i may never know it exactly.

maybe it'll help me write a better story.

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