Monday, March 31, 2008
For the rest of you . . . here's Trishia's Pureed Cheeseburger recipe . . .
While chicken salad has too many chunks for me, I buy deli chicken, have it shaved and chop it fine and turn that into chicken salad and it sits much better in my pouch.
And . . . drum roll please . . . my FAVORITE snack is one Reduced Fat Triscuit with a small piece of tomato and eggplant (from a trader joes "marinated vegetables" jar) with a small piece of Laughing Cow garlic cheese on it. Toasted. Heavenly. Makes me drool just thinking about it. Granted, I can eat just one, but it is healthy and quite tasty!
Friday, March 28, 2008
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
1 - Get a good food scale. I got a digital one. $30. Worth every penny. I measured every little thing for the first couple of months. I was stunned at just how little food I got for the weight some days and how much other days. Don't guestimate following surgery. You should also pick up the Magic Bullet or an immersion blender too. SO much easier to puree, blend and prep foods than a "regular" blender.
2 - Get Rubbermaid containers, tiny ones. Rubbermaid makes containers with locking lids that are as small as two-ounces. Get them. Love them. I used to pour four ounces of protein shake in a container and just take my time with it. I could watch the clock and say "okay, half way down this hour and I'll be good." I would take stuff with me too - hummus in a movie? DELICIOUS.
3 - Get some little tiny glasses, plates and utensils. Go to the kid's dish section of Target (or have a baby). Get a four ounce cup. A baby plate. Baby fork and baby spoon. It won't seem like a tiny meal if you eat it with tiny dishes. I went through the four ounce glasses and then eight ounce and then twelve ounces and then sixteen ounces. Now I'm back to the 22 ounce tumblers of water I used to love - I just don't chug any more.
4 - Get some new cookbooks. Eating Well After Weight Loss Surgery is my favorite (I still cook out of it). It gives you 140+ recipes and different ways to prepare each depending on what stage you are in (NOTE - their stages don't perfectly align with Danbury Hospital's, check with your nutritionist on some of them accordingly). You can also find some cookbooks on BariatricEating.com and you can but the South Beach cookbooks (you can't eat all of the stuff but some of the recipes are really useful). Just don't try to cook for you out of Nigella Lawson's books (as yummy as she AND her food is). It won't work. Trust me.
5 - Get a food journal and keep it. I just scratched my food and beveage consumption in a pocket-sized notebook but it was very, very helpful for the first three months or so after surgery. There are websites where you can track calories too but if you aren't at a computer all day . . . they aren't all that useful.
6 - Get some new sneakers. Research suggests that you will walk and work-out more if you have new footwear (the excitement and the guilt mix in your mind to form a "must walk" cocktail).
NOT that the Carnation Instant Breakfast is not delicious (it is - I still drink one every now and again to remind myself of how far my iddy-biddy pouch has come in the last year) but it just gets soooooooooooo boring after three or four straight days of sipping the cursed stuff . . . forget WEEKS of it.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Monday, March 24, 2008
The Easter Bunny (aka Grandma and Grandpa Terry) gave Ava a Cadillac Escalade/Barbie Power Wheels for Easter/her birthday. Dad Terry and I put it together on Saturday (notice who gets trusted with the bigger, more powerful tools). No, to answer your questions, neither of us has any true affiliation with either Ivy League school . . . I just like that I can finally wear a size XL Brown sweatshirt while putting my father-in-law in an oversized Cornell swearshirt (it was very big on him, for the record).
Anywho, Ava LOVED the thing. She seemed truly surprised and scared that her foot was making her move foward in it but she enjoyed just sitting in the thing and mugging for the camera.
We took another family picture . . . why is it so impossible to have a picture where all three of us are a) looking presentable and b) looking at the camera? Oh well.
THANK YOU, by the way, for the bike, Easter Bunny/Grandma and Grandpa Terry.
I promise to ride it as often as possible and not to loose any teeth in the process (ahem).
These are last pictures of me before my surgery. Joy took them off me the evening before (we think).
I was having major surgery the next morning, I weighed 483 pounds and yet - in my vanity of vanities - I felt the need to shave my nose and ear hairs to look more presentable on the operating table (notice the fresh hair cut (and neck/head fat ripples) too). Anywho, Joy felt the need to document the experience and don't I just look SOOOOO happy to be alive and having my picture taken?
Thank GOD I got a chance to take some better pictures for the ol' scrapbook-of-life.
I'm working on a real post that I'll try to get up later today or tomorrow.
Sorry I've been MIA for four whole days (I got your angry note, Ms. Impatient (smile)).
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
She is the most wonderful person I've ever met. Let's just be honest. She saw a 500+ pound man across a restaurant and CHOSE to love him. That doesn't make her a saint - superficial people piss me off (he he he) but that makes her a wonderful person. The months and years that have chased each other since we first met and that have gotten us to this point have seen her standing by me in plenty of times. Good. Bad. Ugly. Beautiful. She's been right there. Holding my hand. Holding me up. Urging me to move forward. Willing me to be a better man. Willing me to be the man that she saw across a restaurant, looked in to and fell in love with.
I'm not there. I have plenty of distance to go and plenty of work still to do but, if there is one thing this wonderful woman has proven . . . I won't go it alone. I won't have to feel alone and I will have a wonderful reason to do the work.
Joy has not just given me a new lease on life . . . she's given me my life. I'll get in to it more on my surgaversary post tomorrow but, for now, just know that I love you, Pop Tart, more than you will ever know and you will never be alone as long as I am alive and - thanks to this surgery - that should be much, much longer than it might have once seemed. You and me kid, until the end. Come what may. Good. Bad. Ugly. Beautiful.
I love you. Thank you for sharing your life with me and for guiding me on my journey.
In all honesty, I can’t believe today day has come so quickly.
I can’t describe the difference this year, and not just Sean’s weight loss, has made in our lives. I can’t do the experience justice. All I can say is thank you, my love, for adding years to our life together and for making the last year of our life such a quality experience. Thank you for taking care of you so that you can be around for more time with us – as a family.
I remember one year ago tonight like it was yesterday. Ava was about to turn eight-months-old. We had been in Connecticut less than a year and Sean was just beginning his career at IBM. So many changes and so many beginnings and yet, here we were, just a few hours away from embarking on another new life.
As excited as I was for Sean and for us as a family, I couldn’t help but feel scared.
Eighteen months earlier, in Baltimore, Sean had come very close to having this surgery. We went through an extensive prep program together and I had learned all sorts of sobering statistics. I knew, from that experience that, at Sean’s weight, the surgery itself was very dangerous. People his weight can develop gangrene or suffer fatal blood clots just laying still on the operating table (the chances are very, very rare but the heavier the patient the higher the likelihood). I learned that Sean’s weight might require an open v. laser surgery and that would open the door for more complications. His own apnea could further raise concerns. As important as the surgery was to our life and as safe as the surgery was versus doing nothing – there were risks with the operation.
I tried to be strong. I tried to focus on the positive. I tried to just be supportive and let Sean feel what he needed to feel without worrying about me but, deep down, I was petrified that he was going to leave us. Every time I’d look at Ava in the days before Sean’s surgery, especially the night before when he had gone to pick my mother up at the airport, I would pray “Dear God, if you’re there, please don’t let her grow up without knowing her wonderful father and please don’t take this man from me. We need him.” I offered Sean words of encouragement but, inside, I was begging for his body to let him get through the operation.
I don’t think either of us slept at all a year ago tonight. My mind raced and I could feel Sean tossing and turning too. I focused on happy thoughts. I pictured the nurse coming toward me in the waiting room to tell me that my husband was out of surgery and waiting for me. I pictured us on our wedding anniversary and at Ava’s high school graduation and Sean and Ava dancing at her wedding. I kept repeating my new mantra “My husband will be the poster boy for gastric bypass surgery.” I focused on just the positive but my mind raced.
I replayed the special moments in our life that had defined us and that we had gotten through together over and over in my head. I also thought about moments before that night when I wished I would have said something more or done something different to help Sean. I thought about what I could have done that might have prevented this situation all together. I realized, at about 3:30 AM that I had done all I could. I had loved and supported and encouraged Sean to be himself and to be responsible for himself.
Then I seethed over the few people in Sean’s life (and our life) that seemed to not support Sean in his weight loss efforts or in his struggles and, instead, chose to just sit back and wait for Sean to fail – like there was nothing more to do than assume the worst and wait to be proved right. People who never said anything to him but would make their feelings and doubts known to me. In my head I went back to those people and moments when I wish I had said something but didn’t and told them all what I believe about my husband. The simplest truth I know about the man. He might not always get things right the first time, but he never gives up, he never breaks a promise, he never fails those he’s pledged his success to and he will try and try again until he gets it right. “He’ll prove you wrong,” I thought. Then I cried over all the good friends, loved ones and supporters that have always cheered for and cherished him and that understand the amazing man he is and the potential that he carries in his hands, head and heart. As I said, it was a long night.
When the alarm went off the next morning, we looked at each other but, trapped in our own minds, we just got out of bed. We didn’t speak as we readied for the day, kissed Ava, handed her over to my mother and drove to the hospital. A rare moment in our life . . . we were silent. We spoke, instead, in looks, hand squeezes, neck rubs and hair tussles.
We checked in, walked that long hall to surgery prep and, in what was a quick-blur, Sean was taken back, prepped, IVed and readied for surgery. We were given just a few minutes alone before he was taken from me. Sean had been given something to calm him and he seemed confident and ready. I, on the other hand, held back my anxiety as tears welled in my eyes and my emotions leaked onto my cheek. Sean kissed away my tear, handed me his wedding ring and assured me “I’m not going anywhere but down the hall.”
I don’t remember anything about the surgery or the length of the wait. As the nurse I had pictured the night before approached me, I got excited but, when she told me – emotionless – that Sean’s surgeon would like to speak to me, I held my breathe until my lungs hurt and I could feel my heart pounding. I walked back to see Dr. Zuccala uttering “He’s fine. Poster Boy. He’s FINE!” And then I got the news Sean believed I would and that, in my heart, I knew I would too . . . Sean’s surgery went “perfectly.”
I thanked the doctor and ran outside and wept for my doubts and then I celebrated the life that was ahead of us.
I immediately called our families and the friends Sean had asked me to contact. I relayed the good news to everyone. Almost all of them breathed a sigh of relief and celebrated with me - except those few nay-sayers who plagued me the night before and have so many times. They spoke in half-hearted congratulations and understated caution.
Well . . . it’s a year later. All of my concerns were for nothing and the simple truth I always knew about my husband has proven itself again. Sean has followed through. He’s made good on his promise. He’s put in the effort. He’s succeeded and exceeded his supporter’s expectations and defied and shamed his doubter’s.
Make no mistake. He’s still the same man. He is the same courageous, generous, loving, inspiring man I’ve always known. Just with a few softer edges and a much, MUCH smaller body.
For those that have always cheered for him and for us, I thank you. You can take pride and a small part of the credit for him rediscovering himself and for him reclaiming his life. For those that have sat back, waited and perhaps even continued to assume the worst, I apologize. You’re missing out on an amazing transformation in his life and you are holding on to a man, and his shortcomings, that left us a year ago tomorrow.
I love you Sean and, while I’ve always been proud of you, I am truly proud of the man you are today. You never cease to amaze me.
I've been logging changes to my body for the past year in a very handy-dandy Microsoft Excel spreadsheet (insert laughing, finger-pointing and "nerd" shouting here).
I update the chart above about once a month and, to be honest, I have yet to update the chart when I can't change at least three or four of the figures and stats on the chart. Some months I've had to change every figure.
Anywho, I was reviewing the chart and all the old figures (and the graphs that go along with them (smile)) this morning and decided to share these figures with the masses.
Not a bad year! Not bad at all!
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
I think my mother and I went through a phase because I was very anxious to be my own person but, damned if every turn I made I wasn't just like her or my father (or both). If I had to choose one or the other . . . it was going to be my dad just because, before that phase, he and I were far closer. I regret that now. I will never know how much I missed out on during my snit and I will never know how much I hurt her or let her down as I went through my emotions BUT I know that I'm very glad that we've kissed and made up along the way and, today, we are closer than I ever thought we could be while 1,500 miles apart. I love you, Mom. Thanks for always loving me and liking me as often as you could too!
March 20th marks the one year anniversary of your gastric bypass surgery. I remember the fears, concerns, doubts and apprehension that you experienced while trying to make a decision about this life changing surgery. There were positives to be regarded, like living a longer, healthier life and being able to easily "move" through daily tasks. In time you would experience less fatigue, be able to participate in activities that your weight now prohibited and just enjoy a higher quality of life. All of these positives would come at a price. You would need to watch your daily diet very closely for the rest of your life -and longevity prevails on your mother's side of the family! You were cautioned about the many health hazards that could result if you strayed from the set diet or if your system took an adversity to the surgery. You carefully weighted the pros and cons and made a life changing decision for yourself.
You have met with such great success with past year. The other day I was looking at your blog site. As I quickly scrolled past some of your most recent pictures I realized that I might not recognize you in a photo if it was out of context or laid out with various other photos. How sad that a mother might not recognize her own son, but there was also a rush of pride that my son could change himself so positively in 12 months time. Bravo!
An anniversary is the marking of a date on the calendar. Most often it is a time of celebration. Always an anniversary marks events that have happened - the joy and the tears - but we find ourselves changed. We are no longer the person we were one year ago. This anniversary in your life has seen you have many changes; job, home and geographic culture, but the most drastic being a positive physical metamorphism. The butterfly is now free. Love, Mom
It is a joy to spend time on the phone with Sean speaking about what is going on in his life and hearing him talk about it in calmer terms. There still are times when he is upset with things but not to the degree that he once was.
We miss tremendously spending time with him and his family in person but do spend time each week on the phone which helps some with the distance. He shows great concern for us by calling often and verbally reinforcing his love for us.
His work is a challenge which is good with feeling success. He seems to be meeting the challenges of the job as well as his coworkers which is a positive thing, further attesting to his happiness with his new life post surgery.
I have always loved my son, (whom we affectionately called "Tons of Fun" when he was a toddler), but it is much more rewarding to see and experience this new man and son since his surgery. We know and can see the outward manifestation of a person who made a decision, acted and has followed through for a year now attaining great success.
I am very proud of you Sean and happy that you are so successful in your life. Keep up the wonderful work. Much love today and Always, Dad
Monday, March 17, 2008
My allergies are KILLING me here in the Wichi-Wichi and I've been having some issues with my C-PAP and some other medical "stuff" going on.
I realized, as I sat across the desk from my doctor, that it is the first time I've EVER gone to the doctor PROACTIVELY. It is the first time in many years that I've gone to see a doctor to look at or to discuss something OTHER than my weight (or the impact my weight has on me and my body).
I am going to get my sleep apnea re-accessed and I'll likely get a new, less powerful C-PAP. I am HOPING that I can get rid of it completely but I have ALWAYS snored so I don't know if I'll be that lucky. I was given a medication for my allergies. I was given a few referrals for the other stuff I was concerned with AND I got some other very encouraging news that I'll save for another post - let's just say that I will not hit my self-set goal of losing 225 pounds in one year BUT I will come very, very close.
What a year it has been. What hope I have for the year ahead!
Kate is doing really, really well since surgery. She's an inspiration to me. She's lost more weight than most women will lose in the few months since her surgery and she's got a spirit about her life (before and after surgery) that inspires every one who meets her at support group - and I'm sure she has the same effect on people she meets casually and professionally as well.
Kate, like Ryan, is a teacher. That, to me, is all you need to know. She's given her life to bettering others. In my case, she's taught me that it is not impossible to go through this surgery without changing for the worse and she has bettered me by letting me share her journey with her . . . and by sharing my journey with me.
Thanks for the kind words and for the support in the last year, Kate. You truly are the BGBFF a guy could ever have (smile). Love you! Congrats on YOUR success since surgery too. Much more to come!!!!!
Greetings from Connecticut! Nothing puts a bigger smile on my face then talking with or about my BGBFF (Best Gastric Bypass Friend Forever)! Sean Amore is truly an angel walking here on earth! He possesses a kind and giving spirit! He makes the world a better place!
Let me tell you why . . .The evening I met Sean, at the John C. Creasy Auditorium at Danbury Hospital, was the night that my life changed forever! Whether it was chance or divine intervention (let it be known that I do believe in destiny)! It was a moment I’ll never forget! Attending my first support group meeting made me a bit apprehensive. The room was packed and of course my mind was racing! I never had any doubt about having gastric bypass, but I did have a lot of questions! It was then that I glanced over and saw Sean. What was he doing you might ask? He was whispering under his breath and commenting about the good, the bad, and the ugly of what was being shared at the meeting. I had to chuckle!
I, also a woman of many words (or so I’ve been told) was immediately drawn to him. That night, he shared openly about his weight loss journey. I was intrigued by his newly acquired sense of freedom and transformation. Fortunate for me, the support group offers the opportunity to “break out” and talk to others who have “walked the road.” Sean was just a few weeks post surgery. He had just transitioned to purees. Talking to him that night was a crucial moment in my weight loss journey.
My surgery occurred approximately three months after that night. The night of my surgery, coming in and out of consciousness, I remember “seeing” Sean. It wasn’t until Day 2 in the hospital that I realized he really did come to visit to make sure I was alright. Glancing over and seeing the HUGE pink, smiling flower balloon tied to my IV pole made me realize that yes, he really had been there. Those next few days walking the halls of the hospital, with that balloon, I felt him “walking the road” beside me. I feel fortunate to declare that he never left my side. Even today, far away in Kansas, I still feel him walking by my side.
Sean and I have had the opportunity to “look at a lot of stuff.” Walking the road to weight loss surgery and the “afterlife” is a slippery slope. I have learned that there is nothing like talking with someone that has also had a lifetime of obesity, proceeded with the surgery, and is now living in the glory of the afterlife. A BGBFF is like NO other friend! Yes, Sean that is TRUE! With Sean I am able to be open and honest and never fear being judged. Yes, his humor always comes into play! That’s one of the character traits I love the most about him! His quick wit and remarkable sense of humor can light up any room and lighten up any tough situation! He always knows how to put a smile on my face!
In the short year that I have had the pleasure of calling Sean my BGBFF, I’ve watched him change! Not merely in physical size, although HOLY COW, I believe, he has broken all records in Danbury Hospital’s weight loss program and his legend continues to live on! Yes, Sean, they do still talk about you!
I’ve watched him change in his handlings with family and friends, both old and new. He truly has become a new man. He is a gifted writer, being prolific and descriptive in his blogs. I’ve enjoyed the serious side of him, discussing redemption and restoration! He has inspired me with his “personal project about his life.” His desire and drive to go back and make good, heal, gain understanding and acceptance, forgive, and be forgiven is simply astounding!
This year has been one of enlightenment, for me, too! You have had a remarkable impact on my life in more ways than you’ll ever know! Witnessing the transformation in you, and walking with such a remarkable man at my side, I can only say thank you! Thank you for wanting to be a better man! There is NO doubt that you have become a better husband, father, son, brother, professional, individual, and FRIEND!
“Anywho” . . .You always remain in my heart and mind! I miss you my dear friend! Keep up the amazing journey! May your road continue to be paved with sweetness, blessings, and happiness of every kind! You continue to awe and inspire me every day! Congrats on your remarkable year! I’m SO proud of YOU!
Here's the thing about Dad (Terry) that I love. He's taught me stuff like how to install an electical outlet, how to sheetrock, how to hang a storm door, how to swap out plumbing (pictured here) and how to rip up a floor and a sub-floor and then lay a new sub-floor.
While my father has taught me millions of things in this life (and I don't mean to imply that Dad Terry has ONLY taught me the Bob-Villa-Essentials), he never had the capabilities to teach me handy stuff. No one ever taught him. So, in a way, Dad Terry has taught me things from his experiences in life. His perspectives. His talents and skills. I hope I've done the same for him, in the last year. I thank him and appreciate the gift of his teachings very much. I also appreciate him taking a few minutes to help me celebrate my one-year anniversary.
Thanks, Dad. I love you. Now get on over to the house - we need to get the sprinklers turned back on for Spring (smile) . . .
We are all so very proud of Sean.
I remember when he first started talking about the surgery. I was dead set against it because of the dangers that I had heard about. We loved him no matter what and couldn’t imagine taking any chances (no matter how small the odds) of losing him. I kept this to myself as Sean worked through whether he was going to proceed or not. I kept getting the feedback that he was going to have the surgery and I worried more and more about it. I am the designated worrier in the family. Finally, after many conversations with myself, I decided that he probably was not going to be happy if he didn’t do it.
After the surgery, we noticed almost immediate results in Sean’s attitude. He has always been a cheerful person but now there was a bounce in his step as the weight started to melt away.
With every week, came a weight reduction and an added helping of pride and accomplishment. I watched with tears of happiness welling up inside as he was able to buy a suit off the rack. It was such a momentous day for all of us.
Just knowing that he is so much happier with himself and getting healthier on a daily basis is all we need to see to know he made the right decision.
Now, close to a year later, we can honestly say he is “half the person” he used to be and we love him for it.
I couldn’t ask for a better son-in-law and can’t wait to see what the future has in store for us all.
Keep going Sean. You are such an inspiration for so many.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
NOT that my parents (who lived "just up the road") were not willing to be there (they were BEGGING to be there) but I knew that Nana Terry would be a much more calming influence on Joy and Ava while I was in the hosptial and would be the right sort of "support" for me once I got home.
She's a wonderful woman and I love her and I appreciate all that she's done for Joy and myself and Ava too. I believer her when she says (as she will below) that she's never seen me for my size of my body - but rather the size of my character.
Thanks for your support and your kind words, Mom. I won't even tell you that I think you're full of crap . . . I'll just give you that "look" next time I see you. TOTALLY KIDDING!
Who would have believed that Sean would be half the man he was a year ago? No! No! I mean ½ the size he was a year ago. Whoops! I almost got myself in trouble. What an accomplishment. You talk about shaking things off. Here are some of the comments that family and friends have said.
"Wow! Sean you are melting away."
"I always knew Sean was a handsome man but, wow, he looks good."
"Sean has so much energy, does he ever slow down?"
"How can Sean make food that is nutritious and still taste good?"
I am extremely proud of Sean for endless reasons but I would like to mention a few.
- He has reached all his goals (to this point) ahead of schedule.
- He has taken responsibility for his weight loss without complaints.
- He continues to share and support others in a very professional and caring way.
- He has become a much healthier and energized man for himself (first) and his family.
- He has become more confident. It was never an issue, but you should see him strut his stuff.
We are trying to put together some family vacations. It is very exciting because Ava's Grandpa is ready to go to Disney World and the only thing slowing us down now is Ava being a little young to enjoy. We don't have any health issues to be concerned about. Aren't we one lucky family?
As I look back and remember the first time we met Sean I didn't ever see his size. I saw the way he looked at my daughter and held her hand so lovingly. I saw the beautiful warm smile that light up the whole airport. When I looked at my daughter I hardly recognized her. She had a look of total complete happiness. This is something I haven't seen on her for a very long time. Yes, we are very proud and lucky to have Sean as a Son.
Sean would do almost anything for family, friends, or co-workers. He has so much love, knowledge, experience, and generosity to give that it is a wonder there is anything left for himself. You know his size was never noticed in my eyes, until there was talk of health issues and physical limitations. I am telling you this so that everyone will understand the type of person he is. Anyone and everyone can feel comfortable reaping the benefits by corresponding and reading his blog.
Friday, March 14, 2008
People used to think we looked a little alike (and my parents claim that, since my surgery, the confusion has started to return). I wish, in some ways, I was more like my brother. He took the "road less traveled" by taking the same profession my parents chose to give their lives to (public education . . . big challenges, little tiny paychecks) and he has become the glue for the three children my parents raised. We do have our sensitivity, our concern for others, our "heart on our sleeves" sensibilities and our never-ending love for The Big Lebowski in common but - we are not "twins."
Ryan is smart, funny, charming and single (hey LADIES) and, if I had to choose a partner for any trivia or drinking game, Ryan would be the first person I would call. His heart is as big as could be (sometimes to his own peril) and I appreciate, greatly, that he's always stood by me as a brother and a friend. Thanks for being a supporter and for your kind words, Ryan. I love you very much!
Overall, Sean has a always been a big brother, a counselor, a knowledge giver, a source of debate and a friend. The Sean I always remember was a very moody. Somedays he would laugh with you and make your cry you were laughing so hard. Other days it was best to just stay out of the house and hope that you could avoid annoying him any further. However, Sean has a had some major changes in the past 3-4 years of his life. He has fallen in-love, gotten married, become a dad - making me the uncle of the cutest girl ever, and of course undergone a major surgery - one I would not have the courage to do. All of which should have set off "moody Sean," and sometimes did.
In prepping for his surgery, Sean hit many complications and insurance road blocks, but he never gave up. As he was awaiting to go in for the surgery, I can remember several times talking to him about his feelings, and to my surprise, he always seemed optomistic and knew he had to do this for him and to secure his health for his family for years to come. Though the path was rough from start to finish, and I can imagine still is rough from time to time, Sean has done an exceptional job at steering the right course.
Since his surgery, Sean has dropped an enormous amount of weight. Not just that, he has seemed to gain a new perspective on life. Though I reside in Maryland and he in Kansas, I do frequent his web-site and am amazed to see the progress he has made by looking over pictures of my big brother. Beyond the pictures, talking to Sean I have seen a dramatic change in his attitude. "Moody Sean" has seemed to move out and there are times I, being the youngest brother, I still cannot bring that out of him. I guess what I am trying to say is that Sean has become a new person in my eyes.
No longer can I call him my "big" brother, but my older brother.
He remains to be my counselor, knowledge giver, sometimes source of debate and alway friend. I love you, Sean and I cannot tell you how proud I am of you.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Carrie and I, as she will clarify, became friends through the "it is a small world after all" theory and I can honestly tell you, for a good stretch, Carrie was my number-one-go-to-friend for all sorts of foolishness.
I have had so much fun with Carrie and I had all that fun during an era in my life when I wasn't having a lot of fun or enjoying very many people. I never once said "no" when Carrie asked me to lace up my yellow sneakers and hit the streets of DC with her and I'm really, really glad I never said no!
I miss Carrie all the time and I'm happy to report to you all that Carrie seems, like me, to be the happiest now that she has been in the time we've been friends. Thanks for your friendship and your kind words, Carrie. I love ya'!
PS - Apologies on the photo. I don't have a single picture of Carrie and when I googled her, this boat came up as the first photo that matched her name so - I went with it. Somehow, I just figured she would get a giggle out that. I did.
Sean Amore was a character, just a name really, I'd known of only vaguely since my youth. He was a dear childhood friend of my cousins and important enough to have been mentioned repeatedly over the years. We eventually made acquaintance several years ago at the Vermont wedding of one of those same cousins.
I'd arrived dateless, having broken up with my longtime live-in boyfriend only days before. Nobody really asked me about it, and rightfully so, because who wants to talk heartbreak at a wedding celebration?! Well... Sean did. He sat himself down in my Gramma's living room that weekend and started asking away. It was completely cool, though. We talked about breaking up and, once we discovered we were neighbors, we talked about DC. OK, everything's relative. When you're sitting on top of a mountain in Vermont, Washington DC really is "just down the street" from Fairfax VA.
On the actual wedding day, Sean was dressed in one of the handsomest and most impeccably tailored suits I'd ever seen. I caught a glimpse of him resting out on my Grampa's "sitting stone" and it made me smile. The men I know don't tailor their suits, so I took Sean for a first class fella and made up my mind that he must do something important downtown.
It wasn't long before Sean and I started hanging out back in DC: movies, lunches, dinners, happy hours, parties, museums and brunches. We invented "day of fun," an afternoon of traipsing around the city with a loose agenda that involved museuming and lunching and anything in between. Nearly every adventure we had, we experienced on foot.
We quickly became true friends. I opened up to him about and trusted him with every detail of my nutty life. I got invited to Easter Pie with his brothers and I went along on his first date with Joy.
I haven't seen Sean in almost 2 years, and we don't confide in one another these days, but I read his blog daily. It's comforting to have the link to an old friend, but more surprisingly, I've begun to learn so much more about him. About the guy who I would have called my "best friend" for a couple years there, and I realize that I didn't truly know him as well as I thought.
Learning this certainly does not diminish the friendship we had -- Sean was an amazing friend to me. I have just discovered that there was a whole other layer to my friend that has only been exposed to me in his therapeutic post-surgery revelations.
Now I know that the suit was expensive-looking and tailored because it had to be. Now I know that Sean was hiding his misery when I dragged him around the sidewalks of DC, even on the days he wore his funky yellow sneakers. Now I know that when we parted ways after a fabulous meal at Jaleo, he probably went straight to McDonald's anyway.
But back then I was oblivious to that dark side. Here's what I knew about Sean: he was a great listener, a reliable companion, a hilarious and clever conversationalist, an intelligent and connected businessperson, a magnetic social presence, and a curious learner. A man with offbeat cultural taste, artistic talent, family values, community roots, high education, an affinity for using parentheses in emails, and a love of "good times." I'd never have described Sean as my obese friend or my drinking friend or my insecure friend. There are so many other things that come to mind first.
So when Sean wrote just this week that "my insecurities about that phase in my life might not really equal everyone else's insecurities about me," I wanted to speak up. He's made references to, and I am paraphrasing here, being ashamed by certain behavior and how that might look to his friends or acquaintances. If there is one thing I wish for Sean during his "bariatric journey," it would be that he make peace with those feelings.
Sean, give your friends the benefit of the doubt. The people that love you remember the things about you that are, well, "lovable," (see my short list, above) before they remember you for the mistakes you made. I know you do the same when the tables are turned, pal. Set yourself free.
I don't wonder if we'd be friends if we knew each other today. Well, we ARE friends, but I am confident that we'd be good friends in a new way, because I am sure all the qualities I listed above are still what make you special, along with your new roles as husband, father, and obesity-issues-evangelist. We probably just wouldn't make a date of Restaurant Week to have our fun, right?
I am so proud of you. Happy 1 year!!
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
III - Plateauing - This is where MANY people who have had gastric bypass surgery are going to roll their eyes and mumble under their breathe in my general-direction. I have yet to even plateau in my weight loss since surgery. That is right. For the last 356 days, I have been losing weight. I have slowed way, way down . . . I lost almost 40 pounds in my first three weeks alone and 100 pounds in the first three months. In between the last two times I weighed myself (a three week span) I had lost only 8 pounds. I say "only" like it was one pound BUT - I do have a skewed perspective of what weight loss is. I am positive that I will plateau very soon. It is a right-of-passage for post-surgery life. I just hope that it is quick, painless and leads to another sharp drop when I do start to drop again. I've got about 70 more pounds to go. I've got no time to sit around while chasing that goal.