November 6, 2003
This week has been crazy. Monday I joined a gym. After working out for over two hours, I knew that agony
was imminent. My ankles killed me the next day, but my mother and brother had come down with bad cases of pink-eye,
so I had to go and fill in for Mom at my parents' business. This carried over into Wednesday. They were really
long days because they sell tires, and because of the snow, this is the busiest time of year. Then today my mother and
I went to Burlington. She had to have the bottom set of braces put on (she is having teeth straightened) and I made
an appointment to get my leg brace adjusted and look into getting a crutch so that I can finally get serious about leaving
this ass-extension that is my wheelchair. I haven't weighed in for over a week, so I'm not exactly sure where I am.
I have noticed that I am eating a lot more than I used to, though. Actually, this week hasn't been as bad as last week
was, but that's because I made a conscious decision to be careful with my eating. It is just easier to eat than it was
before. If I really force myself ("Clean your plate syndrome is still a problem for me), I can eat an entire Lean
Cuisine or Healthy Choice dinner in about an hour or so... if I eat slow and have a big drink to go with it.
I also don't get sick off of things the way I used to. So since I'm terrified that I will soon stop losing weight, or
God forbid, start gaining again, I am going to fight this thing with everything I've got. For some reason, and to no
big surprise, I stalled in my efforts with Richard. But I also joined the gym in town... while biting my tongue over
the cost... and today I bought a copy of The South Beach Diet. I know I thought I'd never go on another diet
again, but I was terribly mistaken. The surgery really isn't a cure-all, but it is the cliche of being a tool.
I know that if I really put my mind to it, I can pretty much stick to any diet, no matter how restrictive. This one
seems to be one of the healthiest available, and I probably won't be able to eat half of the amounts I am allowed, but it's
worth a try. I don't have the heartburn tying me up anymore. I don't have to worry about going off of it because
I'm just so damn hungry. I don't really have to worry about fat cravings like I did before. They just aren't there
like they used to be. I also want to be healthy and I feel like finally I will be able to do it. In addition to
this, I have been sticking to a vitamin supplement regime better than I had ever previously expected of myself. Every
day I take one dose of vitamins B1, B6, calcium chews (Viactiv... I couldn't stand those horse pills some people take), then
I take double doses of Flinstones vitamins on top of vitamins E and C. I also take B12 twice per week instead of once.
I figure it can't hurt and I won't have to worry about missing it once in a while or having levels that are too low.
I also strive to make my meals high in protein. I think I succeed in that pretty well. But of course there is
more to the story... I suppose it's both good and bad, but what can I do? Hardly any of my clothes fit me anymore.
Only the ones that I bought about a month ago (men's jeans and 3X shirts) fit me, and the shirts are even a little baggy on
me now. All of my other clothes are huge on me, and I honestly wonder how they ever could have been small on me at one
point. My pants are always sliding down when I stand up, and even my old leg brace has got a bad degree in the angle
of the knee because when I had been measured for it before, a few years ago, I was much fatter. Now that the leg fat
is gone, they have to adjust the knee so I can stand straighter and with much less pain. The problem is that I really
don't want to spend a lot of money on clothes right now. I hope to keep shrinking for a while and don't really want
to buy a bunch of clothes that will soon be too small for me. I could just throw away all of my old clothes. I
may donate a few to some friends, but the majority of the pants and t-shirts are not only too big and stretched from time,
but many have holes and ripped seams from either rubbing or the over-expansion of my ass in the past. Many are so nice
and were so expensive that I hate to give them up, but I suppose that's a price to pay for all of this. In the back
of my mind I also keep considering keeping them in case I ever get back to where I was in that body size. I consciously
know that that will never happen. I seriously ate about twelve to fifteen times the amount of food I eat now, but the
fear is still kicking around back there. But I need to be thankful more than anything. I remember what hell it
was way back before. It doesn't seem that long ago, and I suppose it wasn't, that I was sitting there reading all of
the other journals I could find and envying their progress, thinking they were begging for compliments when they said they
didn't see the change or thinking they were ungrateful to complain about all of the advantages. I was that person, dying
to live... now I'm just living. I want so much to be at my ideal weight, but I'm terrified that I'll never get there.
I want so much to be beautiful, to feel attractive, but I still have so far to go. I am only one third of the way to
goal, and the easiest section has passed. The first hundred drop like the leaves in the fall, bunching up faster than
I can count. But now the season has passed and I only drop a leaf here... drop a leaf there... and I have to work like
hell to get those to come off. But again, I should be thankful. I can just hear my former, fatter self criticizing
"Danny, just shut up and grateful that you're not where I am. I would do almost anything to be where you are, so just
shut up." And I am grateful. I have been given the gift of a chance. That is something I have never really
had before. I may have been promised chances in the past... by doctors, diet crazes, my own self swearing one last try
and this time it would really happen. But this is the first promise that came through for me, and I am so grateful.
I know the process is hard, it is long, it is terrible, but there will come a time when you will sit and think "I paid in
spades to get this surgery, but I got it, and nobody can take that away from me." That day will come for you.
Just remember to be grateful when it does.
November 12, 2003
I am exhausted. Today was a really long day and I haven't been getting all that much sleep because I've been working
at my parents' business this past week because of the sickness and because they want me to. I don't usually go to bed
before 1:00AM. I don't know why, but if I try to sleep any earlier, no matter how tired I am, I can't fall asleep until
at least that time. But when I go to the business, I have to get up about four hours earlier, which cuts into my sleep
time in a big way. So let's see... tomorrow I am taking my dog to get a bath, and then something so terrible I can't
even imagine. They are going to clip her toenails! Okay, I may be dramatizing it just a bit, but her nails have
gotten to about an inch long, which means the nerves have grown into them quite a bit, probably. That means they are
going to bleed and need to be cauterized (i.e. burned a la cattle prod) on the end of her raw, bleeding nails. I feel
so bad for having let them get this bad, but I have always been afraid of hurting her and not being able to fix it, so I just
let them go. As far as I know, in her six years, they have only been seriously clipped one time ever. It is going
to be a very painful ordeal for her, I'm sure, but a necessary one. I don't want her to get worse feet problems in the
future. Basset hounds already have enough problems with their feet as they age, due to their long bodies and high weight
ratios. (Sheesh, maybe that's why I've had so many feet/leg problems!) I am also getting very excited about getting
my leg brace and new crutches back. I am so eager to get walking and say goodbye to my faithful wheelchair, but now
I just get to play the waiting game. I also haven't been to the gym in a few days because I've been working for my parents
so much, so I think I'm going to make a consorted effort to get there tomorrow. I also have to stop eating junk food.
The problem is that it is just so hard to get good food when I'm working down there. The only places I can get food
are the convenience store down the street or from the local pizza and pasta shop that delivers. Frankly, I am sick of
both choices. Maybe I'll start packing food from now on if I go back down there. I'm not sure I'm going to, though,
because the family seems to be getting back to its old, fairly healthy, self again. Only two of my siblings never got
sick at all, and I haven't been sick for a couple of weeks, so I suppose we all got through it okay. On the darker side
of life, it is supposed to snow between six and eight inches tomorrow, making my life much more difficult. I reckon
I'll make it, though. But to be more optimistic, I hadn't weighed in for two weeks, but found I have lost another four
pounds, making the grand total 106 pounds lost and putting me at 321 pounds. It's not even close to my goal, but it
certainly is substantial. God, just please don't let me stop losing weight yet... just another hundred pounds or
so... or more if you can swing it... and let me have muscles... and let my skin shrink back to semi-normal... and let me walk
again, hopefully without a leg brace... and please don't make it too painful... (and while you're at it, you might
as well make me taller, HA!) So 'tis the gloriousness of being me. I hope my dog doesn't hate me.
November 19, 2003
Today is my six month anniversary! I'm down an official 108 pounds. Only twenty more pounds to lose until
I am under three hundred. That is just unbelievable. I honestly don't even remember weighing that much, but I
know it was in my senior year of high school. None of my clothes fit anymore. It seems like all of my new clothes
are too small and my big ones are too huge. On the brighter side of things, today the weather warmed up and all of the
snow melted. I even sat outside tonight for about an hour. I love the wind at night. It's funny. The
wind in the trees in summer sounds just like the ocean, but now that all of the leaves have fallen off, it sounds so different.
Now it sounds like a giant waterfall off in the distance. I love nature. It's so beautiful here, when the stars
are out or when it's warm and windy because there are no bugs. It doesn't really make up for the sheer boredom here,
but it's nice to enjoy once in a while. So now that I'm turning into the saggy, baggy elephant, I guess things can only
get better, right? I've started saving as much money as I can in hopes that I will be able to get out of here one day.
I'd like to go back to Mexico. There is still so much there left to finish that I feel never ended, both emotionally
in my relationships, and with places I still want to see. Cara told me that apartments there run about $150.00 per month
for something not too bad, so if I save up, I could stay for quite awhile. And Baby, my dog, wasn't too sore about her
visit to the groomer's. It turns out her nails weren't as bad as I thought and she didn't get hurt at all, but she was
less than happy about her bath. But now she's so shiny and she doesn't stink anymore! Well, it's cool and cloudy
and has been a pretty good day, so for tonight I bid you adieu...
November 27, 2003
I blasted through my plateau! I wasn't even sure if I was on a plateau, because for weeks I was losing two pounds
per week no matter what I did. Well, for the last week I have had "thin" days. You know what those are, where
you just feel thin that day. Well, every day this week was like that. I didn't believe I would lose more than
two pounds in one week ever again, but when I weighed in last night, I was down six pounds in the last seven days! That
is just blowing my mind! I know why it happened, though. I haven't lessened my eating, but I have changed the
things I eat dramatically. I think I've finally kicked the ice cream addiction. Every time I feel a craving for
sugar, I down a cup of frozen blueberries. This is a great idea for people who miss the munching side of pre-gastric
bypass life. It takes quite some time to eat them all, you get a sugar fix, and blueberries are one of the best foods
that a person can eat. They are loaded with vitamins and anti-oxidants (which helps skin stay young and elastic), they
taste delicious, you can eat as many as you want with no sick feeling, and they aren't expensive in the least. I go
through a bag of them about every two or three days. I also have switched all of my cheese eating habits to low-fat
mozzarella cheese peels. They aren't as appetizing, so I don't eat as many, but they are a low-fat fix for my cravings.
I've also been eating more fat free deli meets (mostly from Butterball), so protein hasn't been a real problem.
I still love beef jerky, but I have to admit that it's beginning to get a little old. It used to be a treat, now it's
just there. I need to expand my horizons. I also have been eating almonds by the handful. They are a great
source of Vitamin E, which is the best thing for slowing the aging and sagging of skin. They are crunchy and chewy at
the the same time, and you can eat as many as you want. Now some nay-sayers may claim that nuts are high in fat, but
I have been doing some reading about fat. From what I can figure out, there are about five different kinds of fat, some
good and some bad, but not all are bad. The kinds in nuts and olives/olive oil are great for you in moderation.
And the kind of fat in fish (which most Americans don't get nearly enough of) is downright healthy, the more you eat of it.
However, the trans-fats in fried foods and margerine can be very detrimental to the body and soul. I am also doing my
darndest to eat more fiber. I eat an entire stalk of celery about twice per week. I just make it a meal.
I down the veggies like there is no tomorrow. I also crack open a couple of Brazil nuts every day because the selenium
that's inside them is supposed to prevent prostate cancer, which can develop from getting too much calcium. However,
nobody seems to agree just how much is too much, so I figure it can't hurt, and besides, they're just so damn yummy.
So not to get preachy, I am now eating more than I ever have since surgery, have never felt more full, and am now losing more
than I have in nearly two months. Honestly, after trying to get in the foods that are healthy all day long, There is
practically no room left for any bad stuff anyway, so it's not really a problem. On a related topic, I have sort of
continued on my Richard Simmons treck, but I have as of yet to return to the gym. I just never have time and I don't
have a ride. I also have no real motivation to fight to get there. I have, though, been thinking about switching
gyms. There is another guy in this town that runs his own private gym, and at one point had offered to my mother to
be my personal trainer. I have always wanted to have a trainer, but never felt the timing was right. But now I'm
thinking that the timing may be perfect. He is in very good shape, having won a bunch of awards for body building, and
from the few times I've met him, he seems to be genuinely nice. The guy who runs the gym I'm at now is nice, but he
says he has been doing it for years. The only problem is that he has quite a weight problem himself. He seems
solid, but I would guess that he is at least fifty pounds overweight, if not more. I also feel intimidated going there
because there are a lot of serious folks there that one can tell have been at it for some time. What I'm trying to say
is that... they ain't a whole lotta chubbies there... if you get my drift. His gym is also quite a bit cheaper,
so maybe I'll look into it. He might also have the drive to kick me in the ass when I'm being lazy, which is something
I really need at times. I think he would do it, because the way my mother talks about him, he would make me his "project",
of sorts. Maybe I'll give him a call tomorrow. Well, this was also Thanksgiving. Not too surprising, and
seeing how the entire day is built around food and eating too much of said food, it passed rather uneventfully for me.
I love to sit there, nibble on my little piece of turkey (of which I didn't finish have) and just reminisce about how a year
earlier I probably gorged myself to the point of sickness before sprawling out on the couch. I am also dying to get
my leg brace and new crutches. I am currently waiting for insurance to approve them, still, but it could still be awhile.
The government has put a lot of restrictions on health care insurance in the last year, according to the people at the place
where I get my apparatuses fixed, so it takes a lot longer to get things approved, and quite often even essentials get denied.
Apparently even things such as wheelchair and orthopedic shoes get denied for coverage all of the time now, no matter how
badly a person needs them. But I suppose Bush has to pay for his war somehow... (again, don't bother with the letters
about this...) But I have to stay positive. My life is certainly improving. I feel better than I have in
ages, and I probably look better, too. I still have that double-chin, though! I keep looking at plastic surgery
sites online, just checking out the possibilities, still not sure if I plan to do my arms while hoping and praying that somehow
my skin will shrink back at least a little better than most people's skin does. I keep muttering in the back of my mind
that age is on my side and that all of the vitamin supplements will really help. Let's hope. Well, tomorrow's
another work day, especially since all of the kids have no school, and we will probably be getting a Christmas tree soon,
so that means the house has to be immaculate first. Time for a little shut-eye...