On the Other Side

My gastric bypass surgery on Tuesday went well and I’m back home.   I miss the reassurance of having a nurse a few feet away if something comes up, but being back on home turf is wonderful!

Overall, my surgery and post-op days were blessed.   I’ve experienced very little pain, just the kinds of aches and soreness that I guess you’d expect with abdominal surgery, some unusual sensations, and a general sense of fragility, which I’m sure is more perception & paranoia than anything else.

The opening from my new stomach pouch into the newly attached small intestine had some swelling that prevented the x-ray contrast from passing through for the better part of a day, which certainly gave us all a bit of a scare.   There was a chance that Dr. Davenport would have to go back in and make an adjustment, but patience triumphed and we all breathed a big sigh of relief when we repeated the test this morning and the contrast just slipped right through like water.

A tremendous "thanks" goes out to everyone who sent such nice notes of encouragement and especially the visitors who came by to offer morale support and comfort.   And I can’t say enough about how great Dr. D was about making sure that I was well-informed all along the way.   I really appreciated his visits — which never felt rushed — and felt like he’d gone out of his way to make quality time for Dede & me.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t also praise the MCH 6C nursing staff, especially Mona, Brad, Hope, & Shawna.   They were patient and supportive and, well, just everything I needed and more!

The Big Day

Prepping to leave for MCH for my Roux-en-Y Gatric Bypass surgery this morning, I dared one last look at my home scale.   Whether it was teasing me by being optimistic or I’ve done better in the weeks pre-op than I had thought, I can’t decide, but the silly thing claims I weigh 366.8 lbs today.

I’m not too nerve-wracked…   I’m taking slow deep breaths, saying lots of silent prayers, and drawing great comfort & resolve from knowing that so many people are wishing me well and keeping me in their prayers.   I’m blessed to have so much enthusiastic support.   Thanks and I’ll see you on the "loser’s bench!"

Sister Margaret is back in Ireland

One of our favorite people, Sister Margaret Ledwith, has returned to Ireland.   Of course we were sad to see her leave MCH but we’re sure glad to hear that she is safely back home with her family.   Below is a picture taken at her retirement party a few weeks ago.

Sister Margaret Ledwith

Scheduled For Surgery

More than 2 years of thoughtful consideration, research, discussion, & prayer culminated last month in a life-altering decision — my decision to undergo weight-loss surgery.

My decision to have Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is a major one.   It’s a choice that I took seriously & willfully, with an ever-increasing awareness of the potential pros and cons.   This procedure isn’t an "easy way out" but more simply it is…   a way out.   Out of what?   Limits.   My lifestyle is littered with limits imposed by my weight, peaking recently at more than 380 pounds.   And without a radical change, the future promises more of the same.   These limitations physically made it difficult to do things I need to do, much less things that I want to do.

Being large and/or heavy invades your mental processes also — gradually your thought patterns shift from "what would I like to do" to "what will I be able to do?"   Someone would invite Dede & me to go to a movie, for example, and my first thought was not about whether it’s even a movie I’d like to see — it was whether the theater where the movie is showing had tolerable seating.

Being "morbidly obese" — a sickening term that I’m embarrassed to admit applies to me — puts limits on daily routines.   Random and increasingly more-frequent arthritis flare-ups have made even minimal walking a real challenge some days, although I thankfully still had many more good days than bad.   But joint problems have been altogether debilitating at times, causing multiple missed days of work — two years in a row, I was hobbled with intense knee swelling right at Christmastime when we’ve had friends visiting and wanting to enjoy our company.

And other heath issues are certainly at hand.   The looming fear of cardiac problems has been on my mind frequently.   Granted, I know of seemingly trim & fit guys who’ve had heart problems, so that isn’t a threat unique to someone of my size, but being this overweight is surely tempting fate.   Dr. Perlman advised me that I was on the brink of Type II Diabetes back in June, which certainly served as yet another strong incentive for a permanent weight-loss solution.

So, the die is cast.   I’m scheduled for surgery with Dr. Davenport on July 27th.   Beyond that, hopefully, the sky’s the limit!

The Cult of Ikea

Ikea logo

We love Ikea.   Turns out, Ikea loves us too!

Oliver Burkeman’s interesting 2-part article, The Miracle of Älmhult at the online newspaper Guardian Unlimited is a revealing & impressive look at the Swedish icon Ikea, its tireless founder Ingvar Kamprad, and the cult-like mindset that drives the innovative furniture company to succeed & thrive in the global marketplace.

Something to do with those AOL CDs

No More AOL CDs is working to stop the deluge of those darn freebie AOL CDs that get jammed into your mailbox without you even asking for them.   The best part is that they intend to return them to AOL once they have collected a million of them.   The website states that a million AOL CDs laid end to end would stretch about 75 miles.   Great site that’s trying to do something to help the environment!

Update:   Unfortunately, as of August 2007, that site is no longer active.   However, according to info on Wikipedia.org, an estimated 410,176 CDs were collected within the 6 years it was running!