The Fat Crawler Experience
Journal (September 2003)
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My Journal for September 2003

September 3, 2003
I'm tired and irritable and I've only lost three pounds in the last two and a half weeks.  On the bright side, it's turning autumn, there is less housework because the kids are in school, and it's not so hot that I can't stand it.  I really don't feel like writing tonight, so bye!
September 7, 2003
Dixie Chicks and my day off!  What more could a guy ask for?  Well I have some fantastic news.  Yesterday afternoon, after finishing work for my parents, I went shopping in Burlington with my brother, Luke Jr.  I don't hang out with him all that much, so it was great to spend some time with him.  So anyway, after shopping on Church Street (pedestrians only) and in the underground mall, we went to Men's Big and Tall.  I was only going to look at getting one shirt because I've been having a recent problem.  It seems that in the past I would always wait until I was too big for the clothes I was in, and then go shopping and buy clothes that I would grow into.  So this has recently left me with all clothes that I don't fit into.  I only had clothes that were too big or too small.  Well, I tried on a 4X shirt, because the 5Xs were obviously too big.  I wanted to buy shirts that were tight so that I could shrink into them as I lose weight.  Well, the 4X were still to baggy on me, so I bought two shirts sized 3X.  I can't believe this!  I haven't been that size since I started college!  I mean, I know it might seem really big to some people, but it's simply amazing to me.  And even better, it's only a little tight in the belly area.  The chest part of the shirts is still baggy-ish.  The store was also having a sale on jeans.  For years, since I was about 14, I have been wearing women's jeans, size 28W, because they were the only jeans I could find in my size with elastic waists.  Well, yesterday I wanted to just try on some jeans without elastic waists.  I have never owned men's jeans, only men's cotton pants or women's jeans.  I picked two pairs of the absolute tightest ones I could get into and still fit comfortably.  (Keep in mind that I don't pull my jeans up over my stomach.  I keep them under the belly roll.  It's more comfortable that way, especially since I sit in the chair all day.)  They are size 48 waist.  I know that's still a lot, but they are men's jeans!  It's a big first for me and it's going on The List.  Anyway, the women's jeans had gotten so big on me that I could pull them up to my chest (which I was doing as a quite hilarious joke yesterday).  So watch out world, Danny isn't a drag queen in disguise anymore!  And watch out ladies!  His newfound masculinity may be too much to behold!  Mwahahaha!
September 9, 2003
Last night a friend of mine came up from Massachusetts with her brother to spend the night.  After we went out for dinner, I decided to take them up to the Watchtower to look at the stars (one of my favorite activities!).  Well, the moon was really bright and we ended up staying there for a couple of hours.  Then we came back to the house to watch my movie, The Sweetest Thing, which is one of the funniest films ever created, however I don't think that they share the same version of humor that I do.  This morning we got up and went to Burlington to spend the day (my second trip this week).  Everything was going along nicely until lunch rolled around.  The food was great, but I could only eat little more than one chicken wing.  I thought this odd because I can usually get about three down, but I felt very full.  After a few minutes the stuffed feelings didn't subside, so I took a drink of some juice I had ordered.  This only made matters worse.  Now I think you know where this is leading.  The waitress seemed to take forever to bring us our bill.  I needed to find a bathroom to throw up in NOW.  Well, I held it in until I felt like my stomach was going to explode, but we just made it to the Ben & Jerry's up the street in time for me to find a toilet and let the upheaval begin.  It was very embarrasing, but my friends knew all about the surgery.  I don't usually throw up after eating chicken, but I think I just didn't chew it well enough.  I have to make something clear, though.  I know a lot of people choose not to have the surgery because of this very reason, but vomiting is very different now than it was before.  Previous to the operation, throwing up, no matter the conditions, was much like how it happens when one has the flu or eats some bad mushrooms.  It's very liquid-like, flowing out of all airways available.  But the exit of food post-surgery is very different.  First of all, throwing up is a matter of will.  I could probably force myself to suffer through the pain of digesting something poorly chewed if I had to, but the agony would be unbelieveable.  Secondly, because the stomach is so much smaller and therefore produces little to sometimes no stomach acid, regurgitated food is much dryer, chunkier, and nearly undigested in any way.  Thirdly, because the food is more solid, it can't pass through all airways and often gets stuck in the throat and behind the base of the nostrils near where the mucus membranes are located.  This causes one to begin choking until the muscles spasm enough to force the food back out of the mouth.  (Panic may or may not set in from not being able to breathe.)  After the initial burst of vomit there is usually a second or third episode (possibly more) where one will not be able to stop vomiting until the truant piece of food becomes dislodged from the stomach and is thrown up.  Now I know all of this sounds terrible to someone who has not experienced, and it is pretty disgusting anyway, but it is something that will happen to 99 percent of people who have this surgery.  The only people who avoid it are the people who never ever forget to chew their meat enough or are lucky enough not to eat something that disagrees with them.  I know it is something a bit morbid, but I feel that people should know what they are getting themselves into before they plunge in unaware.  I also find this to be an excellent argument against of the nay-sayers that promote weight loss surgery as "the easy way out".  There is nothing easy about embarrasing yourself in front of people and puking and choking for minutes on end so that a desirable weight can be achieved.  Anyone who says so is full of shit and is obviously a very ill-informed person.  The post-feelings of throwing up are different as well.  Before if I threw up, I would still feel sick afterward probably because there was still bad stuff in my system.  Now when the vomiting subsides I feel fine instantly.  I never feel anything but a little rattled from the convulsions.  My stomach never hurts after throwing up and I never feel nauseated after the food has been removed.  It is certainly something to consider and can be verified by nearly any other post-op person out there.  Take care and have deeply-rooted thoughts...
September 10, 2003
I weighed myself tonight and was very surprised to see that I had lost five more pounds, making total loss 84 pounds and my current weight 343 pounds.  It may seem weird, but this is actually a milestone for me.  This is exactly how much weight I had lost after being in Mexico for a semester, therefore the thinnest anyone there had ever seen me.  If I lose one more pound I will officially be smaller than all of my friends (and enemies, har har) there have seen me.  Other than that it has been a pretty uneventful day.  I cleaned the house and have gotten back on the ban-wagon as far as working is concerned.  I didn't work Sunday through Tuesday because my friend was here, but no more!  I also want to try and start exercising again.  I always lose so much more when I do, and I would just love to be a hundred pounds lighter when I have my follow-up appointment on September 30th.  It is certainly do-able if I get my act together now, but it won't be easy.  I will really have to focus on cutting out junk food and get some serious calories burned.  Little Dicky Simmons has been missing me anyway, so I suppose I'll have to just grit my butt cheeks and do the friggin' video.  When I went to the hospital tonight I saw a guy heading to the sleep apnea department for an overnight test.  He was about my age and approximately the same weight as I had been before surgery.  I wanted to ask him if he was doing pre-op stuff, but I didn't want to embarrass him if he wasn't so I just kept quiet.  He seemed really happy to be there, so I can't imagine any other reason somebody would be so happy to go through that misery other than as a precursor to the surgery.  I certainly hope he is because it was obviously difficult for him to walk and I suppose he's probably feeling a lot like I used to before my surgery.  I certainly wish him all of the best if that is what he was doing.  Well, I've been trying to get more reading done because it seems like I have been reading a lot less since I got the computer back and I want to start reading more again.  It would really make sense considering how much I spend on books!  So I bid you all good evening, bon soir, buenas noches, guten nacht, buona notte, kaleesperasas... and all of the other ways to say good night that I can't think of.
September 11, 2003
I feel sick.  Why do I do this to myself over and over again?  I know what will happen before I put the crap in my mouth.  I ate ice cream.  And I didn't eat a little, I had two chocolate-dipped bars of vanilla richness...  only I'm paying the consequences right now.  I feel suddenly sluggish, nauseated, and generally pretty bad.  It should last for about the next half hour to an hour.  I deserve it.  I chose the action knowing fully what was going to happen and I did it anyway.  All I have now are my sick stomach and a mind full of regrets.  The rules are simple.  Stay away from foods you know will make you sick, chew the foods you can eat very well, and try to execercise as much as possible.  Two days ago I was heaving chicken wings that weren't chewed, now I'm sick on ice cream, and I haven't done any formal exercise in two or three weeks.  Honestly it makes no sense in my mind why I keep losing weight when I continue to break the rules.  But it also makes no sense to me why I keep breaking the rules when I know how bad I will feel afterward.  *Sigh*  It just doesn't seem to improve sometimes, mostly because of my own stupidity.  I could have easily said no to the ice cream.  I didn't even really want it.  I certainly wasn't hungry.  Blech!  Now I just wish I could drink enough water to make it feel better, but I'm all full from the ice cream.  I'm now lying in the bed I made for myself.  I wanted justice, I got it...
September 15, 2003
They did it again and I for one will no longer stand by without taking action.  Today "Doctor" Phil McGraw called the surgery, and I am quoting, "another quick easy fix".  I have had it.  I am not only going to sit here and complain about what he said, but I am going to do something about it.  This week alone I have talked with people both in my area and online about a few specific reasons that people do not get this surgery or why they are so quiet about it.  The first is simply because one said person "doesn't know much about it".  At first I found this hard to believe, but the more I thought about it the more I realized just how right this statement was.  Unless someone goes looking for information specifically online, it is nearly impossible to find information about weight loss surgery.  It's a crime that this isn't plastered on every street corner in America, but the media refuses to touch the subject.  Of course it doesn't help when every other talk show host is calling it the easy way out, but it is not easy.  I puke and have diarrhea on a daily basis.  I was in bed for weeks suffering from severe pain and pulled muscles.  Even now it is not easy to lose weight.  I still have to watch what I eat and if I don't, I will get sick.  The only reason I haven't quit this way of eating is because I can't.  Quite simply, that is the idea to start with.  If you are pre-op, pay especially close attention right here.  THIS IS NOT EASY!  You are going to throw up.  You are going to get sick.  You are going to have lots of physical pain.  You are going to have lots of emotional pain, even more than before because now you have to deal with things.  You are going to have moments of regret.  You are going to plateau, possibly for weeks on end, wondering if your weight will ever be lower than it is.  You are not going to be thin overnight.  You are not going to be ideal in six months.  The lower your weight before surgery, the slower you will lose it.  The higher your weight is, the longer you are going to have to wait for it to go down.  Exercise is essential for this to work.  If you do not exercise, you will not lose as fast or as much.  There is a possibility of gaining some, and rarely all, of the weight back.  Most people never reach their ideal weight.  Only a small percentage ever do, and an even smaller percentage will stay at that weight.  This is not a cure-all for your looks.  If you are ugly before surgery, you will be ugly after surgery.  If you are beautiful before surgery, you will be beautiful after surgery.  There is a slight possibility that you will have this surgery and never lose weight.  It is a very minimal risk, but it is a risk.  If your weight is significantly high, you will probably need some reconstructive surgery performed when the weightloss has slowed or stopped.  There is nothing easy about this.  The only differences between these results and the results of diets, no matter the genre, are that the success rate of weightloss is astronomically higher in comparison and patients have the ability to keep the weight off for years.  You may not have the same results.  However, for the most-part this surgery is highly successful.  It is more dangerous if you have more co-morbidities, and as with any surgery, there is a chance of death.  The chance for death is in the area of one percent of all patients.  Depending on where surgery is performed in your area, this rate may be higher or lower.  At my hospital it was significantly lower (only one person out of over six hundred).  But I am sick and tired of television personalities that have never had a serious weight problem (or at least in recent history) putting down this surgery publicly just because they may have some prejudiced and preconceived notion that it is not only morbid, but immoral.  The only reason I can find that they may believe these things is this: They are confusing success with ease.  They believe that because one can lose weight without a monstrous battle that will inevitably fail that it must be easy.  If I can't give in to my cravings then it must be easy.  If I don't deprive myself of the things I want then it must be easy.  And what is wrong with easy, anyway?  Haven't we all suffered enough already by being trapped in this hell?  I know that I have.  There are also the criteria that I have mentioned before.  The doctors do not give this surgery to just anybody with a self-image problem.  The people who have it are suffering and are in a health crisis with no other viable solutions.  I will not sit here and be badgered by the media for choosing to change my life and I will not allow other people to suffer anymore either.  Today I called the Wellness Center at my local hospital and offered to give a talk and discussion about gastric bypass surgery.  I am going to prepare myself, both mind and body, with the presentation that will hopefully help some of the people in my area to improve their lives.  I may even get a cheap transport going so that people can get to the hospital where they do the official meetings.  I would also like to start a support group for people going through this process.  There is nothing of the sort in this area and I think it's about time there was.  Another reason that was expressed to me is the concern that "in [her] area no one has ever had it done and everyone is against it".  I lived through this.  Before surgery every person I knew felt it their duty to tell me some horror story that had happened to some person they had never met.  I called one of these people that was supposed to be in insufferable pain after having surgery because I was tired of hearing it from others and wanted the account firsthand.  The stories were, not surprisingly, completely unfounded and exaggerated beyond recognition.  I know this can seem like something to be ashamed about, but I have come to learn that it's not.  I am damn proud of my scar, my success, and the fact that I can now be a success story for those people to replace their made up ones.  I am now the example that others want to follow and that is how you should look at it if you are in a similar situation.  Others have had concerns about what their families would think.  I was this person also.  I didn't mention the surgery for over two years because I was afraid of what my family might think.  Finally my mother suggested it to me (though she may have had regrets about it later on *LOL*).  Many in my immediately family believed every rumor.  They came to me pleading for me not to go through with it.  They were all certain that if I didn't die, I would at least be horribly disfigured.  Of course either of those could happen, but that can also happen while having teeth pulled.  It can happen by tripping down a flight of stairs.  It can happen by getting into a car accident.  The ultimate decision for me came down to these questions I had to ask myself.  Am I willing to spend the rest of my life in this condition or worse?  Personally, I would have rather died than know that there would be no hope.  Did the benefits outweigh the risks?  This one took more time, but I promptly came to a resounding yes.  How much was I willing to sacrifice in the way of personal relationships?  This one was a bit tougher, but I decided that if someone I knew could only befriend at extremely obese levels then I don't need that person for a friend anyway.  And finally, Am I willing to give up the parts of me that will never be the same?  This was the hardest to answer.  I had never been anything but fat.  I did not know how my life would change if I wasn't any longer.  Would my personality change?  It certainly seemed like a lot of post-op patients had (both bad and good).  Would I be willing to give up my loneliness and seclusion that I had become so familiar and comfortable in?  It took a long time, but I decided that all of these suggestions were acceptable even if I wasn't anxious for all of them to occur.  Have I changed all that much up until now?  I don't think I have, but one can never really judge one's own character.  Of course I am still in the fairly early stages of this process, so I suppose there is still plenty of time for me to turn into an asshole!  But these concerns have stopped so many people from progressing into a happier, healthier life.  I can't sit by and watch it happen to others when I know there is something I could do about it.  I wish someone had approached me and talked to me about it before.  Lawd knows they did with every other solution!  I also urge you to do the same, especially if you are a post-op.  You don't have to run out and start a group or even tell every person you meet about your surgery, but when you can see the pain in somebody else's eyes as they are trying to look inconspicuous because their feet hurt from standing so long in the grocery line, say hello and get to know them.  Confide in them your little (or not so little) secret.  Show them that there is a way.  If you know of someone but don't want to approach them, casually walk up to one of their friends or relatives and introduce yourself.  We have to do something about this stereotype that is letting thousands of people each year die and stifle what could have been happy and beautiful lives.  You can also start writing letters to some of these shows about their policies and anti-promotion of surgery.  Two prime examples would be the Dr. Phil show and the Oprah show.  Let them know what you really think of their uninformed opinions.  I know I am tired of this segregation, humiliation, and public ridicule over my choice to improve my life.  It is my right and my life and I am tired of these pompous windbags talking about a subject they are just not informed about while in the process discourging hundreds, if not thousands, of people from making the choice that could have saved their lives.
September 24, 2003
I've decided to take a full-on, frontal attack on my obesity this week.  I walked while cleaning the house two days ago for over three hours (with many sitting breaks involved), I've done over four-hundred ab cruches this week, and I've been trying to be very careful and selective about my eating habits.  I've been avoiding my temptation foods at every cost.  I don't want to fail at this strategy and I've decided to own the experience in a much more valid way.  Until now I've looked to the surgery to simply do its job, but after talking with other post-ops and reading several articles in Men's Health Magazine, I have realized that this surgery will only work up to a certain point.  I already knew this, but it really dawned on me for the first time only a few days ago.  I was losing weight and I didn't think I would have to worry about it, but my six month window of opportunity is quickly fading and I know that soon this will become a great battle again.  The only real difference is that I have the secret weapon in my corner for a change.  I know this road is not going to be easy, but it will be do-able and my goals will be attainable this time.  I've looked at gyms in my area, but they are all either too expensive or not accessible, so I've decided that I can just do my own thing right here at home.  I have a twenty pound dumbell, about seven Richard Simmons movies, Men's Health (my motivation), and my body.  What more do I really need?  I am considering investing in a stationary bike, but there are no definite plans for that just yet.  But I don't need all of those things.  I have a will power that is all my own and I've been doing great at taking all of my pills and vitamins.  The water has increased to levels never before seen and my social life seems to be in relative check.  I can do this.  I am going to do this.  I will do this.  Now let's just hope I still feel the same way tomorrow...

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