Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
I know I mock way too much and way too often but this storm (while not yet over) was hyped all week long with everything from 19" in snow to severe cold and wind the likes of which could bring a man to his knees.
Uh - we're almost 24 hours in and the city of Wichita has yet to see a single snow flake (sleet and freezing rain do not equal a blizzard).
Stay warm, Wichita! Stay classy, Weather Guy!
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Ryan Moats, a 26-year-old married man who plays for the Houston Texans, got in to a scrap with the law while frantically driving his wife to be by her mother's side as she died from breast cancer. Here is what happened - as far as I can tell - Moats drove as quickly as he could upon hearing his mother-in-law (a 45-year-old woman who was succuming to breast cancer) was about to die. He and his wife (and what I gather was another family member and a friend) made it to the hospital and, after stopping to observe it, ran through a red light (there was no one coming) to get to the hospital.
A police officer followed Moats in to the parking lot and that is when it got random. The officer, himself 25-years-old, would not allow Moats or his wife to leave the vehicle. He drew his gun. He threatened Moats with jail time. He challenged Moats to not "make this difficult". All the while Jonetta Collinsworth lay upstairs, just feet away, dying.
Moats wife decided to screw-all and just went inside. She made it to say "good bye" to her mother. Moats did not.
Heartbreaking. Sad. The woman is 45. She's dead. The wife, in her mid-20s, is motherless. Moats was not even able to say goodbye at all (he made it in to the hospital moments too soon - thanks to a security guard and nurse from the hospital who would vouch for the immediate need for him to be released, by the way). The cop came off like some toolbox with a gun and a God complex. Moats came off as the most admirable man in the history of the world who simply ran a red light and could not find his insurance card. No one wins. People are calling it racism. People are calling it abuse of power (for the football player and the cop). People should just be calling it sad (The New York Times agrees with me, for the record (smile)).
I am obsessed with the death of Jonetta Collinsworth for a very simple reason. Time. Life is about time. Not years. Not months. Not hours. Not even minutes. Seconds. Split seconds. Split second decisions and how we spend splits of seconds.
What if Moats was staying at a hotel down the street versus wherever he was coming from (could have been a hotel down the street, for all I know)? What if the light had been green? What if Moats would have just sat through the light? What if the cop was one block away and not right behind Moats when he ran the light? What if the cop had used his head and heart instead of his badge to decide what to do with Moats? What if Collinsworth had gotten a mammogram earlier or had a different treatment approach or had a cancer that was just a little slower in taking her from her loved ones? What if? What IF? WHAT IF?
I know two things. 1) Every second is important. 2) You can never go back. You can try to fix things and try to recreate moments and try to improve on them but you can't get them back and you have to realize the importance of the time spent.
I think about these things. I obsess and pour over these things. It is like a friend of mine - her father and sister were killed by a drunk driver when we were kids. What if the family had been five seconds faster or slower leaving the house that day? What if the drunk bastard decided to stay for one more drink or drive a little slower or what if he just ran off the road in to an empty field a mile before he hit my friend's family?
What if my father's ambulance didn't get to the hospital as quickly as it did the morning of his stroke? Or what if I had never met Joy? What if I had smart mouthed Uncle Jessie in the summer of 1999 (a long story, few people will know, for a different post) or just taken longer in Kinko's that night? What if I never had gastric bypass surgery? What if I had gastric bypass surgery at a different place or time in my life than I did? What if Ava's birth mother changed her mind during her pregnancy? What if I had eaten three more Oreos on one of my binges before surgery and died from the gluttony?
Moments. Split seconds. Life. Death. Decisions. Impact. Fate.
Is there such a thing as fate? Is our entire path pre-determined? Would Ms. Collinsworth have died without her son-in-law by her side no matter what happened that night? Would a flat tire have delayed the family's hospital arrival if the cop did not? Would the cancer inside Ms. Collinsworth have simply taken her two minutes sooner? Would that light have changed from green to yellow to red just as Moats was approaching it just to spite him? Would Oreos really kill me for as much as I loved them for all those years?
We'll never know if we are lead by fate (unless the series finale of Lost says so). We can never go back. We can just try to make the most of the seconds we do have and hope that God is the kind and merciful omnipotent the bible says (she/he/it) is (while destroying entire cities and smiting entire armies, mind you).
Call your mother and tell her you love her. Kiss your kid a second time before you leave the house tomorrow morning. Know EXACTLY how long it takes to drive from your house to the hospital your parents might be taken to if things go wrong (I'm trying to tell you that every second counts). Sit through stop signs patiently. If your shoe is untied - look above you, to your left and right and then stop and tie it. If someone seems in a hurry - let them go past you. Treat every second with the urgency it deserves.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
I got a post from my dear friend Michele Delenick, MD (MD MD - as she once signed one of her comments on my blog) that I wanted to share with you. (NOTE - She's the upright citizen in the middle of this picture of drunkards.)
Michele, as I have mentioned on the blog before, is one of those people that I forced, sadly, to suffer me for many years of my life. We had a very nice e-mail exchange in December and Michele reminded me of a few of the crappier things I said and did to her that I honestly did not even remember (forgetting what a jerk you can be and have been is just the kind of stuff to keep you humble in this life, I guess).
Anywho, Michele, always a better person that I was, has decided that I can still call her a friend and that she is not only going to allow me that gift but she's going to turn around and actually say nice things about me. And she's going to share her own fight with obesity in a way that really hits home to me (truth be told - one of the first things that made Michele and I friends was that, as the fat kid, I made Michele (as a formerly fat kid) comfortable . . . another brick in my jerk wall that I violated that sacred trust of fat people sticking together).
I have not seen Michele since our wedding. I've seen pictures of her on Facebook (the greatest tool ever for a man who is too lazy to pick up a phone but still wants to see what sort of kids his friends Chris and Michele can pop out (CUTE ones, is the answer)). Michele claims she struggles with her weight - and she might - but I never noticed her weight or ever thought about her weight. Michele was to me, a persona and a dynamic force. Her size and physical body were never part of the discussion or the reason for me feeling the way I did (on any given day (smile)) about her.
Well, Sean has asked me to be a guest blogger and I'm not really sure what to say. Now I realize how tough it must be for him to come up with something on a daily basis! I am an old friend of Sean's from the Quinnipiac days...but I'll spare you readers stories of Sean in his wild and crazy days--they're not for the faint of heart. He did say I could pretty much write whatever I want but I'll stick to the topic at hand so I'll reflect a little on Sean's journey and my own weight issues.
First, I am in awe of the work Sean has done in his surgery process. Don't ever let anyone say that bariatric surgery is the "easy" way out. That is a load of crap. Nothing that takes a lifetime commitment to change is easy. If you think it's easy then you have no idea what you're getting yourself into and you're setting yourself up for failure. I have seen patients (and we can see someone now on the Biggest Loser) who didn't get that long lasting attitudinal and dietary changes are part of the process and the weight has crept back on after the initial year or so. There are days when I am trying to make better food choices and I think to myself, "well it could be worse, I could be Sean and have to do what he does when he eats--now that's hard!"
Sean's journey has been amazing to watch for me, as I'm sure it has been for all the people who know him and love him, but it's also been meaningful for me on a very personal level. I have struggled with my weight since I was about 8 years old and Sean has inspired me to finally focus on my own issues. I have exercised and eaten well and lost the weight in the past but it was always temporary and old habits found their way back in. It was always easier to not exercise and eat what I wanted because I was feeling sad, tired, angry, whatever. I have been ignoring my weight and my eating habits for years, citing my pregnancies and med school/residency (ie lack of time and money) as reasons why it was not the time to deal with it when really I think I was in large part trying to avoid looking at the reasons why I over ate as well as the hard work it would take to change. Unfortunately for me, Sean with his introspection, commitment and incredible changes as a result (all while dealing with everything else in life AND showing it on the internet for everyone else to see no less!) has kind of forced my hand.
Now here I am, a wife and a mom and a doctor and I think its finally time to do what I need to about my weight. One reason is that I absolutely don't want my children to have weight issues, or more accurately eating issues. I don't want them to think that food will comfort them, reward them or fulfill them. I don't want them to be embarassed about their bodies. I don't ever want to hear my daughter say she's fat. I realize now that I am the one who will teach them these things if that's all I show them. Another reason is that as a physician I'm supposed to be a role mode for my patients. Every day I see the end result of obesity with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, debility and disability. A healthy weight is crucial to a healthy life and I want that for my patients. I want them to believe that it is possible to eat well and exercise regularly and that these are things that can be done for a lifetime. I want to be able to show them that with kids, a home, a job and all the rest of life's stresses it can be done. I know how to talk the talk, but I realized over the past year I don't walk the walk. So finally, the last reason I need to do this is that it's for me. I want that long, happy life for myself and I don't want my weight to get in the way of that.
So, I decided to make 2009 "the year of me." That's right, in all of its selfish sounding glory I've decided to put myself at the top of the list. Frankly, for the past 4 years or so I haven't even made the list of "Michele's life priorities" so it's quite a change that I'm trying to embrace. What does "the year of me" mean? Well, it means I'm striving to be happy, healthy and grateful for who I am and the life I've been so richly blessed with. So I've begun exercising again. I'm trying to do activities with the kids that are well, more active. I'm trying to be more mindful of what I eat and why. The results so far? I'm realizing how much I like to swim and ride a bike and that the gym isn't too bad either. I'm remembering how good you can feel at the end of a workout. I'm realizing that it's ok to take time for myself to recharge and reconnect with who I am in addition to the wife/mom/doc roles. The weight is (slowly!) creeping off and I feel stronger. I'm starting to think of food less as therapy and more as fuel. It's a work in progress, some days are better than others, but as Sean has shown me, it can be done.
Thanks Sean, for sharing your story and for inspiring me. Happy Surgaversary!
I'm truly honored that Michele took the time to share some thoughts. I'm shocked and flattered that I might have somehow "inspired" her through my journey. I hope that 2009 is The Year of Me you always hoped it would be, Michele. And I hope 2009 is the year our families can sit down, break some bread (not eat it - just break it), hug it out and get back on the right track of supporting and loving each other.
I love you, Beer-Man!
Monday, March 23, 2009
Sunday, March 22, 2009
This was our first serious "injury" as parents (we've had some bumps and bruises but never the bleeding, immediate head swelling, crying, anxiety or the size/fury of the tears we had today.
We abandoned groceries for the week and got her home. Put her face on ice (smile) and then waited it out. She seems to be doing just fine. She refused to eat at dinner so stuff is pretty much back to normal (smile).
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Friday, March 20, 2009
The numbers don't lie (click on the chart to the right to see a more legible statistics grid).
As I sit here today, I'm either at or below everyone of my pre-surgery goals (as far as my physical body is concerned) except that I still have 30 pounds to lose (ugh) and my BMI is 3 points higher than I want it to be (obviously one impacts the other).
Overall, I'm pretty happy with my numbers and proud of myself.
VERY weird to think I have been losing weight and getting smaller for two straight years. Never - in the 30 years before my surgery - could I have ever said that was possible . . . nor did I probably even DREAM that was possible.
Here's to getting the last 30 off and a life time of maintenance.
Two years since I felt so crazy (and two years since I started feeling and acknowledging crazy in other areas of my life and working through it all).
I last updated my statistics chart at my 18-month mark (the end of the journey) and it seems like, true to the expert decloration, the journey of how gastric bypass will impact my weight and body did, in fact, end six months ago.
I have had SINGLE DIGIT weight loss since then. Yep. Six pounds. Six. I could have lost way, way more than that by just getting off my butt. And that, my friends, is the point of this post. The truth. The confession. The repeating of what I've been saying for two years on this blog.
Surgery is not the easy way out. It is not a guarantee of weight loss. It is not a guarantee of lifelong success. It is a tool. A vehicle. A first step. An aid. A hope and a prayer and a start.
Those hours on the table are all the surgeon or the procedure give you.
The rest is up to you. Same as it was before surgery. Same as it was when you first fell in love with junk food. Same as it was when you first realized you were morbidly obese and needed help. Same as it was when you took that last bite of solid food before you had to all-liquid-diet to ready for your surgery.
I have 30 pounds to lose. I might well be technically gaining weight. The number is down but Joy and I both feel like I might have been lighter around New Year's than I am now by a few pounds (promise to self - I will not go more than a month without weight myself ever again).
I have to lose them. I have to take responsibility. The ride of the surgery is long over. Six months over. Enough with the kidding around that the weight will just fall off me. Time to get to the gym. Time to use the treadmill in the basement. Time to start using my Biggest Loser DVDs again. Time to sign up for that yoga class instead of looking at the sign-up form. Time to start tightening my diet again.
I'll be fine. It's up to me. I got me this far. I've had this much success. I've done this much work. I've made it work and I've figured out a lot about myself and food and who I really am in relation to food. I can do this. I will do this.
It is up to me and I, two years after surgery, am strong, committed, loved, blessed and ready.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go sit on my duff and watch some TV. Tomorrow. I'll go to the gym tomorrow! It's my surgarversary. I deserve to take today off (smile)!
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
My dear friend Brandi (whom I've given several nods to here in the past) was also kind enough to do some guest blogging for me.
One of my favorite things about Brandi (and I may have already said about Brandi here but I will say again) is that she is probably the MOST empathetic skinny person I have ever met when it comes to obesity. Not only does Brandi gather and share knowledge to and from fat people for a living but she also can sit, without the slightest bit of awkwardness, and talk about obese people who over feed their children, obese people who self loathe, obese people who don't take care of themselves and really disrespect their families in the process and the charms of the rare morbidly obese person who is not just a morbidly obese person (that is sarcasm, obviously). Brandi is the only person that I have ever met who is not the slightest bit overweight that I have not ever felt odd about being overweight in front of (I get over it with most people but not quickly or easily) and she is the only person that I have met since moving to Wichita (the rest of my crew of honest-keepers came with me, to be clear) who I truly believe could easily put me in my place when and if the time ever comes that I need someone to do the "tough love" thing with and for me.
Thank you, Brandi. For coming in to our life and bringing your husband with you. We really enjoy you and we appreciate you. Skinny or not - you Koskies are gooooood people. So good, in fact, that I can't resist another plug for your site!
I remember the first time I saw Sean. I had gone into the agency to visit a friend for lunch. I am an alum of Sean's current employer. I was taken back when I saw this portly fellow walking through the agency. Being totally frank and honest, as mine and Sean's relationship has grown to be, I initially had all the stereotypical flags wave in front of me that the ignorant people I hate would typically have. But there are members of my family who are in a position to consider bariatric surgery and so I reminded myself that he's probably just as normal and lovely as they are. I have no idea what he said, but I remember thinking, "Nice! He's kind of cocky and full of himself."
It was several weeks before I saw Sean after that. As a work-from-homer I enjoy getting out of the home office space occasionally and the "employer" was letting me share a desk for a few days. I heard Sean say something about Biggest Loser and my interest peeked more. With my job I do some work with the show so I was excited to pat myself on the back and share this with a perfect stranger. That same day Sean came into the office I was using to meet with a co-worker about a client. This would become our first real engagement with one another. It was February. I had just received my order of Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies. I'm what you might call a sharer. So I offered. A cookie. Just one. To Sean.
INSERT PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: At the zoo, they advise that you not feed the bears for a reason. They will bite you. The same phenomenon is true with a Mr. Sean Amore. Do not offer him food. Food with sugar and preservatives. He will bite.
So I held out my sleeve of icy cold Thin Mint cookies and said, "Would you like a cookie?" I got a response somewhere along the lines of "Did you REALLY just offer ME a COOKIE?! You don't offer someone who has had GASTRIC BYPASS SURGERY a COOKIE?! ARE YOU KIDDING?!" And so on. And with each ALL CAPS word or phrase he spouted, I lost two inches off my small 5'4" frame. By the time he was done berating me for offering him a cookie the size of a Ritz cracker, I could have run laps around the blasted cookie.
And wouldn't you know it, after that we became friends and lived happily ever after.
Seriously, while his outrage over A COOKIE shook me a bit (and rarely do I find people who "shake" me), I was impressed. He was funny. Rather sure of himself. He can play sarcastic word exchange like a raucous game of volleyball. And I liked it!
A few days after that we went with a few of his current and my former co-workers to lunch at Chipotle. While standing in line it came up that he has an adorable little girl named Ava whom he and his wife Joy adopted because they couldn't have kids on their own. Again, the stars aligned. I of course had to pipe right up and offer that my husband and I also can't conceive on our own and are pursuing IVF.
So an unlikely friendship was formed. An accidental meeting between two cocky, sarcastic people who shared a very odd bond over obesity, Biggest Loser, infertility and a certain Wichita ad agency.
It took several months of scheduling negotiations but we were finally able to bring our spouses together and let our new little foursome finally meet under proper terms. The Amores invited us to their house for dinner and my husband, Shelton, and I left feeling as though we'd left with much more than full bellies. (That Sean can cook, p.s.!) We had two new friends.
We spent that evening swapping stories about our broken reproductive systems, Sean's battle with weight and that had by some of our loved ones, the emotional angst that can only come from being all-too-involved with the Biggest Loser and a few other topics you should always discuss with new friends - politics, religion, abortion and money.
So enough about our love story. This was supposed to be ALLLL ABOUT SEAN, right? Well, that's my Sean story. It's how I know him. In the year since I met Sean he's grown to be one of my favorite people. While I didn't know the pre-GB Sean, I'm incredibly proud to know the one that exists today. I'd love to be able to clink a frothy beer glass against Sean's and kill some tacos together, but I much prefer being the tipsy one in this relationship if it means that his life has changed for the better in the endless list of ways he says it has. My heart swells when I hear, see and read how happy Sean is. It's never fake with him. He's probably one of the most legitimately happy people I know. He's one of the few people I know who can genuinely say he has his priorities straight. It's strange how losing "a few" pounds can do that for someone. Of course, "a few" might be the most understated thing I've written here.
I applaud Sean for so steadfastly sticking to his proverbial guns about his diet and lifestyle. There are no beers. There are no GIRL SCOUT COOKIES! There are no salads full of evil, evil lettuce. There's a happy man. A healthy man. A man who will live to see that gorgeous curly-mopped little girl grow into a beautiful woman. A man who will stand beside Joy long after Ava has her own kids keeping her up all night. While to this point in my life I've probably only ever had a good ten extra pounds to lose, and so my empathy might feel like a slap in the face to some, I've learned one hell of a lot from Sean's experience. And since we're like buddies now, I hope to keep watching and learning from Sean. Moreso, I look forward to watching Sean meet and beat more milestones in his very, very post-bariatric journey.
Happy Surgaversery, Sean!!!
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
There are 11 grams of sugar in a serving of Lucky Charms. 46 grams of sugar in a Sno-ball. Very little protein to be found. I don't miss either food.
I would have the surgery again in a second. It has given me QUALITY time with my family and a new sense of self I haven’t had in years. The hypertension and all the other lovely side effects of being heavy are GONE. All of them. I will live a long and happy life with my family and put forth a good, healthy role model for my daughters.
EDITOR'S NOTE - I HAVE talked about farts, Jen. I guess we have different farting experiences. Must be a lady thing (smile)!