Michael_A

Life is just so much better

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Honestly, I could just stop there and be happy expressing that sentiment. 

It's been a year since my surgery. I had to pursue it for a couple years before it finally happened, and my surgeon had me on a liver-shrinking diet for most of the 10 months pre-op, so I lost probably 75% of the weight I wanted to, pre-op. Ha ha I got to the Maintenance Cafe reaallly quickly. Once I got my bearings and got used to life with gastric bypass, I quit posting here because it had taken me so long to get the surgery and I had so many ups and downs getting there, I just needed to step away for a while and not be so deep in the community, and just live for a bit without all the extra voices in my days. I've still checked in on the place every week or two and been loosely following how everyone is doing.

The last few years leading up to my surgery were pretty dark for me. Being very obese was a huge factor in that. I hated the way I looked, the clothes I had to wear, I hated that I was the fattest dad at my kids' events. I hated that I was diabetic and had all these medications I had to take all the time for high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol etc. Ibuprofen every single day. Just my life and the way I had to live was really depressing.

I can honestly say that I have lived more life in the last 8 months, than I have in probably the last 10 years. I feel SOOOO much better about myself. The "young" old guy that was inside of me (I'm 44 but feel like I'm 25) has come out in full force now. I used to wear the lamest, most boring clothes. Always the same thing almost every day- huge black slacks that I had to use suspenders for, black nondescript casual shoes and a button up shirt. I hated the outfit, but it was what I could get fairly easily and it wasn't awful looking. But that's not who I was on the inside.

The real me wears nice blue or black or tan or navy 36 waist jeans every day now, usually with a nerdy graphic tee of some kind and a nice zip up jacket or hoodie. And, I have got a good collection of Chuck Taylors going now. I love them lol. Me and my 14-year old daughter definitely have it in common.

This summer we rented a motor home and took a very cool family vacation to Seward. My kids are 14, 13, 8, 6, and 4. It was amazingly beautiful. First time I've really even been in a motor home. I have a friend there who is getting ready to build a house, and had a piece of land cleared with a driveway graveled in. We stayed there for four nights and it couldn't have been more perfect. We brought a fire pit with us, and had a fire every night, tucked deep into beautiful forest. We toured the area, went on hikes and I chopped wood. We've done a lot around our own town as well. More than I personally have done in a decade. Just random activities, fun runs, biking. Things that I would normally have just stayed home.

One reason for for my overall feeling of wellness I'm sure is that I'm off almost all the medications. I don't think we realize how much that stuff eats into our lives, one pill at a time. Headaches, pains, aches, sadness and depressions, CAUSED by the things that we take to fix OTHER problems, in my case obesity related.

I do not pay attention to protein at all, which is something I definitely never saw coming.  My very first labs at only 4 weeks out, my surgeon told me to stop protein drinks because my protein levels were pretty close to the high end. Since then I do not supplement protein at all and my numbers are always a bit high. My surgeon is pretty aggressive about labs and I've had 4 sets since surgery (my one-year labs I'll get drawn next week). She's not overly worried about it, because otherwise my labs are stellar and so we're just keeping an eye on it. I do have to be cautious not to get dehydrated though. It's a bad combination with high protein. 

My pouch works marvelously and I am so happy with that aspect of my life now. Yes sometimes I don't stop soon enough and get to the painful/sick part, but I find it all empowering to be honest. It is such a badge of honor to me to finally be at a place where I put a little bit of food on a saucer and I know it will do the job! I usually have some eggs and sausage for breakfast, or I skip breakfast and have lunch instead. I met my wife today for lunch at the hospital cafeteria and had some green beans with butter on them, and some cooked roast beef. Probably 6 oz food total. And split 1/2 a cookie with my wife.  I will probably have a snack later in the evening, often a sugar free Jello pudding, or some smoked cheese (I love it so much, I make my own now!!) or broccoli with butter. I'm addicted to broccoli with butter right now :-)  We were just in Anchorage for a few days and my family loves IHOP. My routine is that my wife cuts off a small piece of her omelette and I have that and steal 1/2 of someone's pancake or something. I simply love the way I eat now. I absolutely don't judge anyone around me eating "normal" plates and portions, but honestly, for my own self, I feel blessed to be liberated from them. Those portions were what I lived for.

I could ramble on for a lot longer so I'll stop. I guess I could sum up my life right now by saying here, at the one year mark, my life is mostly everything that I wished it could be, for the last many years. A ton of that I'm sure is that I feel so much better about myself. I feel better in my relationships with other men because I feel like I'm more of a bro now instead of a plump outsider to bro culture. I feel better about myself as a dad because I can do tons of dad things now that I didn't or couldn't before. I feel better as a husband because I think I'm a lot nicer guy now and much more at peace with myself. And sex is sooo much better. 

Anyways, winter is here now in my land so life is slowing down for now and I'll be around a little more. "Slow" is maybe relative though, with 4 kids in school and number 5 starting next year lol.

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I am so happy for you, and feel the same way.  :)

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Hi @Michael_A

thank you so much for this! The timing is perfect; I really needed to hear it right now. 

My head was getting the best of me....talking me out of the surgery. It’s too expensive, I don’t deserve it, good things never happen for me, I’m going to end up a smelly farter that no one wants to be around....but your post has tipped me back in the other direction. Right now I still have the EGD and X-ray to do, plus 3 more monthly dr visits, so it’s been hard to keep my eye on the prize.

A question for you: one of the things that I’m worried about is what surgery to have. My dr thinks the DS would be the best for me, but I’m not finding a lot of positive testimonials online. I want this to be a “one and done” surgery; I don’t want to need a revision. How did you decide on the gastric bypass?

congratulations, by the way!

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@Michael_A i was hoping you would come on and post!  How different we all are than we were this time last year when you, @AustinJ and i were all in the hospital!  Now, a year later and we are rocking our pouches/sleeves!  (Did you get to see Austin’s post and pics?  Mine is in the blog section).  I also love that I love clothes now! I find it fun to get dressed and that hasn’t happened in literally decades!  Baggy things were my go-to because it “hid” the fat (which wasn’t as true as I thought, there was plenty of ways to tell I was fat —like by my chins alone!)  I love that no one where i work knew the fat me so I can just be normal CJ and not the poor fat girl on the 5th floor!  I still haven’t had a second of regret!  Today I was getting something from the bottom drawer and I squatted down so easily and stayed down a while so i could fix something under the desk. I  felt so badly for another girl that I knew was too heavy to bend so low or sustain that position like how i used to be. My legs are so much smaller but sooo much stronger! I also do things i haven’t done in ages and love it!  

So glad to hear another November (k)Nockout has successfully reached their surgiversary and are so happy about their new life!  (Share some pics of you and your cool new outfits/sneakers when you can!)

 

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6 hours ago, Boston Redhead said:

Hi @Michael_A

thank you so much for this! The timing is perfect; I really needed to hear it right now. 

My head was getting the best of me....talking me out of the surgery. It’s too expensive, I don’t deserve it, good things never happen for me, I’m going to end up a smelly farter that no one wants to be around....but your post has tipped me back in the other direction. Right now I still have the EGD and X-ray to do, plus 3 more monthly dr visits, so it’s been hard to keep my eye on the prize.

A question for you: one of the things that I’m worried about is what surgery to have. My dr thinks the DS would be the best for me, but I’m not finding a lot of positive testimonials online. I want this to be a “one and done” surgery; I don’t want to need a revision. How did you decide on the gastric bypass?

congratulations, by the way!

Congrats on your decision to pursue WLS!  I made the mistake once of "encouraging" someone here to not bail out on their surgery plans, when they were getting cold feet at the last minute. I won't do it again because I think that you have to really want the change that WLS can bring- regardless of the obstacles or feelings. Smelly farts couldn't have kept me away from WLS because I badly wanted it, and I knew WHY I wanted it. Nothing was going to deter me. Plus, they make fart deodorizing pills that you can buy on Amazon :-) So maybe I'm the wrong person to be asking advice from lol, because I think if you can be swayed easily by (what seem to me to be) fairly small fears and worries, then maybe you don't want the surgery badly enough. But also I know at times I'm not very empathetic, so I'm sorry if that's how I'm coming across now. You said it though-- eyes on the prize. With determination.

Only you can decide which surgery is right for you. Gastric bypass was the option for me because I had Type 2 diabetes and gastric bypass almost always and instantly eliminates it. Plus I just wanted the surgery that was a little more aggressive --- restriction AND malabsorption. I can't tell you which to choose, but my opinion (and it's free, so take it for what it's worth) is that if you are being honest with your posted current weight, then you don't weight nearly enough for the DS. The DS is the most aggressive WLS there is and you can easily meet your weight loss goals with the sleeve or gastric bypass. IF your head is in the game.  Sleeve is only restriction, and weight loss is slower than with gastric bypass (or DS). Also it has a high rate of causing acid reflux/ GERD after surgery. BUT only a part of your stomach is altered, and you can drink normally and with meals. GB alters the stomach and intestines. There's no gerd complication with it but for the rest of your life you'll have to pay attention to not drinking while you eat, because the part in your stomach that usually regulates that, gets bypassed. Keeping up with your vitamin supplementation is more important for bypass than sleeve.

Continue to read through through the forum and ask questions, and you will begin to get a good feel for what is right for you.

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5 hours ago, CheeringCJ said:

@Michael_A i was hoping you would come on and post!  How different we all are than we were this time last year when you, @AustinJ and i were all in the hospital!  Now, a year later and we are rocking our pouches/sleeves!  (Did you get to see Austin’s post and pics?  Mine is in the blog section).  I also love that I love clothes now! I find it fun to get dressed and that hasn’t happened in literally decades!  Baggy things were my go-to because it “hid” the fat (which wasn’t as true as I thought, there was plenty of ways to tell I was fat —like by my chins alone!)  I love that no one where i work knew the fat me so I can just be normal CJ and not the poor fat girl on the 5th floor!  I still haven’t had a second of regret!  Today I was getting something from the bottom drawer and I squatted down so easily and stayed down a while so i could fix something under the desk. I  felt so badly for another girl that I knew was too heavy to bend so low or sustain that position like how i used to be. My legs are so much smaller but sooo much stronger! I also do things i haven’t done in ages and love it!  

So glad to hear another November (k)Nockout has successfully reached their surgiversary and are so happy about their new life!  (Share some pics of you and your cool new outfits/sneakers when you can!)

 

Thanks CJ :-)   I did see yours and Austin's pics when you all posted them. Good to see that you guys are making the (original) November Newbies group look good!!

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An awesome update. I feel exactly like you. I'm going on eight months out. Lost 105 pounds, shop for clothes and shoes weekly, run 5k three times weekly, got a new job and joined a gym. ALL things I have NEVER done in my 55 years. This choice and change is a blessing. Keep on keeping on. 

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Congrats @Michael_A!  I was wondering how you were doing?  Sounds like you are living life to the fullest!  Life is good on the losers bench!  Hope to see you around more often.  Got any pictures of the cool young dad?  

@Boston Redhead I had smelly farts before, lol!  Now about half the time they aren’t smelly, gas occasionally yes. But not much different than before.  I had my eye on the prize which was getting healthy and eliminating 18 pills a day.  I never really put much thought into how much I would lose.  Pre surgery I just took it one thing at a time.  And I was so nervous day of surgery, I got to OR and told myself it wasn’t too late to run!  Just ask yourself, “where do you want to be in a year”. I agree with Michael, check out bypass or the sleeve.  Both can get you where you want to be.  It’s still about what you put into your mouth in the end..

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15 hours ago, Michael_A said:

.........I guess I could sum up my life right now by saying here, at the one year mark, my life is mostly everything that I wished it could be, ...........

That brought a lump to my throat Michael because it pretty much sums up how I still feel today.  

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This was beautiful to read - I missed you around TTF! I'm so glad to hear you're doing well; your motor home trip sounds amazing! I'm sure tracking after the kiddos is much easier now too - talk about busy!

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16 hours ago, Michael_A said:

Congrats on your decision to pursue WLS!  I made the mistake once of "encouraging" someone here to not bail out on their surgery plans, when they were getting cold feet at the last minute. I won't do it again because I think that you have to really want the change that WLS can bring- regardless of the obstacles or feelings. Smelly farts couldn't have kept me away from WLS because I badly wanted it, and I knew WHY I wanted it. Nothing was going to deter me. Plus, they make fart deodorizing pills that you can buy on Amazon :-) So maybe I'm the wrong person to be asking advice from lol, because I think if you can be swayed easily by (what seem to me to be) fairly small fears and worries, then maybe you don't want the surgery badly enough. But also I know at times I'm not very empathetic, so I'm sorry if that's how I'm coming across now. You said it though-- eyes on the prize. With determination.

Only you can decide which surgery is right for you. Gastric bypass was the option for me because I had Type 2 diabetes and gastric bypass almost always and instantly eliminates it. Plus I just wanted the surgery that was a little more aggressive --- restriction AND malabsorption. I can't tell you which to choose, but my opinion (and it's free, so take it for what it's worth) is that if you are being honest with your posted current weight, then you don't weight nearly enough for the DS. The DS is the most aggressive WLS there is and you can easily meet your weight loss goals with the sleeve or gastric bypass. IF your head is in the game.  Sleeve is only restriction, and weight loss is slower than with gastric bypass (or DS). Also it has a high rate of causing acid reflux/ GERD after surgery. BUT only a part of your stomach is altered, and you can drink normally and with meals. GB alters the stomach and intestines. There's no gerd complication with it but for the rest of your life you'll have to pay attention to not drinking while you eat, because the part in your stomach that usually regulates that, gets bypassed. Keeping up with your vitamin supplementation is more important for bypass than sleeve.

Continue to read through through the forum and ask questions, and you will begin to get a good feel for what is right for you.

Thank you @Michael_A! I appreciate your comments. I am horribly bad at waiting, so this six month pre op crap is pulling me all over the place. I will try to keep my eye on the prize and read as much as I can about each surgery. Next up: an EGD on Monday and visit #4 of 6 with the surgeon on Tuesday.

thanks again for your kind and thoughtful words!

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13 hours ago, Cheesehead said:

@Boston Redhead I had smelly farts before, lol!  Now about half the time they aren’t smelly, gas occasionally yes. But not much different than before.  I had my eye on the prize which was getting healthy and eliminating 18 pills a day.  I never really put much thought into how much I would lose.  Pre surgery I just took it one thing at a time.  And I was so nervous day of surgery, I got to OR and told myself it wasn’t too late to run!  Just ask yourself, “where do you want to be in a year”. I agree with Michael, check out bypass or the sleeve.  Both can get you where you want to be.  It’s still about what you put into your mouth in the end..

@Cheesehead my bathroom issues are bad enough now lol. Luckily I’m not even prediabetic...yet. I have hbp and sleep apnea, and while I hope they get better, my main goal is weight loss. I’ll do some more research and maybe discuss with my dr at my next visit on Tuesday.

thanks!

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2 hours ago, delilas said:

This was beautiful to read - I missed you around TTF! I'm so glad to hear you're doing well; your motor home trip sounds amazing! I'm sure tracking after the kiddos is much easier now too - talk about busy!

It's a good busy :-)

You look amazing! Great work.

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