Monday, June 14, 2010

My Spleen Has Fallen and Can't Get Up

Starting Weight: 328 lbs.
Current Weight: 273 lbs.
Amount lost: 55 lbs., minus whatever a spleen weighs

If you are at all familiar with Douglas Adams' mind-blowing, ground-breaking novel, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, you know that the answer to the ultimate question is simply this: 42.

And if you are at all familiar with the mind-blowing, earth-shattering events of my life from this past week, I can honestly tell you up front that the answer to your ultimate question is simply this: I have no freaking idea what I was thinking.

Saturday, my youngest and I were playing in the front yard. She's always been curious about climbing trees, so I often prop her up in the crook of one of the ones in the front. She gets the giggles of being up there for about 5 minutes but then wants down because said tree really isn't a good climbing tree, and she can go no further than said crook.

BUT ... for whatever reason, I decided it would be a good idea for me to show my youngest that her Big Bad Voodoo Daddy can make like the monkeys. So up I go, and quite nimbly I might add (thank you Mr. Lap Band). I proudly shouted down to my youngest, who smiled broadly and even got the attention of her sister. They both waved back quizzically as if to say, "Look at that silly Daddy up there in the tree. I hope he doesn't fall and bust his ass." Ah, the wisdom of youth.

So as I started to get down, I honestly thought to myself, "I need to be careful here so I don't fall and bust my ass." I surveyed my options and decided that the quickest, easiest and OBVIOUSLY the safest route would be to swing out on a branch, hang for a few seconds, then drop down. Easy breezy, right?

I must have underestimated my strength, grip, forward momentum, air-speed velocity and the limb's desire to be held onto, because at that moment, Howard Cosell started shouting in my ear.


Eleven and a half feet later, I landed flat on my ribs on the ride side, as well as the right side of my face. After taking a personal inventory to make sure I didn't have a bone and/or stick poking in and/or out of my body, I summoned my youngest, staggered inside and coughed out words rarely heard from a married man's mouth ... "Go tell your mother that Daddy just fell out of a tree."

At first glance, my injuries seemed minor. Ribs weren't in too bad of shape, and the small gash that had opened up in my right eyebrow near the bridge of my nose was only trickling blood.

Nonetheless, I stuffed my macho-ness into my back pocket and had the Wife take me to an Urgent Care facility just to be safe. Once there, the rib x-rays came back clean, and the small cut needed no more than a couple of stitches, mostly for cosmetic reasons.

But then, much like a recalled 2008 Honda Element sitting on a steep incline, I started going downhill ... Q-U-I-C-K-L-Y.

I knew at that point something wasn't right, and while I never miss a chance to don Shakespearean garb, embrace an English accent and shout, "Something's rotten in Denmark," (Hamlet, Act I, Scene IV), I grunted toward the doctor that I didn't feel so swift.

First came the cold sweats, then the nausea and then my systolic and diastolic decided to see how fast they could reach zero. Before long, the paramedics arrived to transport me to the big hospital, and upon arrival, a gaggle of doctors, nurses, technicians and for all I know, a few clowns, descended upon me to suss out the situation.

They did a CT Scan of my belly and watched my blood pressure ride the Shockwave at Six Flags, going up, down, round and round before finally deciding that I would be better served with my spleen on the outside of my body instead of letting it leak blood BP-style into my abdomen.

So ... a short time later I was out of surgery, which at that point had been deemed "emergency surgery," minus one spleen. Scary note: I had bled two pints of blood into my belly, thanks in part to the fact that the impact had caused my spleen to split into THREE PIECES!!!!

I spent the next day and a half in CCU, moved to a private room on Monday afternoon and was discharged late Wednesday night. Rest of the week pretty much consisted of hours and hours of cuddling up in a warm, loving embrace with my sultry mistress hydrocodone.

So what does all this mean going forward? Well, you can obviously live without the spleen. It does some cool stuff, but the amazing human body adapts. The spleen works primarily with your immune system, so I had to get several immunizations before discharge and will have to get yearly vaccinations to protect against particular infections. It also means that I'll need to immediately start taking antibiotics if I start running a fever above 100.4 degrees.

A small price to pay considering the alternative. It's amazing how an instantaneous decision can quickly turn into a life-threatening event. I consider myself very lucky and am very thankful to all the doctors and nurses who took such great care of me. I'm also appreciative to all my co-workers, friends, family and extensions thereof for the prayers, thoughts and well wishes.

Next time out I'll discuss how all of this affects the Lap Band and my weight loss efforts going forward. But for now ... PICTURES!

TOP: Behold ... FRANKENBELLY. 13-inch scar. 21 total staples. GAK!
BOTTOM: An illustration of the offending tree and surrounding area.

Until next time ... peace, love and pints of blood

Friday, June 4, 2010

My Cup Size Runneth Over

Starting weight: 328 lbs.
Current weight: 275 lbs.
Amount lost: 53 lbs.

So where have you guys been? I haven't heard from you in a while.

Yeah, I know. I have been a bit, um, shall we say, delinquent in my updates. I could sit here and give you a million excuses, but you know what the proverbial "they" say: Excuses are like assholes - everybody's got them, and most of the time they are really stinky (OK maybe I added that last part).

Truth is, when I decided to blog about my experience traveling the Bariatric Highway, I knew that putting myself out there warts and all meant that I was accountable to anyone who decided to read along.

So when the losing slowed, stopped and even began to go up and down more times than Linda Lovelace, I simply felt like I was letting myself and you as friends and followers down. And quite honestly, I was embarrassed.

To borrow a turn of phrase from Lost's great Benjamin Freakin' Linus, "Weight loss can be a fickle bitch sometimes."

When all is well, she can boost your confidence, quicken your step and energize your soul. But when all is not, she can leave you curled up in a blubbering heap clinging to an extra large bag of baked Cheetos (chewed slowly and thoroughly, of course).

All this to say that the reasons behind the decrease in weight loss are not highly scientifical or a Mystery of the Universe.

I was intaking more calories than I was extaking (hey look, new word!). I stopped eating right. I stopped working out. I stopped losing weight. Well, duh!!!

But, after a three-week bout of pneumonia that left me moving slower than British Petroleum, I have reversed course, gotten back on the eating right and working out train and am down a total of 53 pounds! More than halfway to my goal. YEAH!

So there you have it. I have confessed my shame and beg your forgiveness. Dramatic much?

Last time out I promised pictures, and here they are in all their shirtless glory. I realize many of you have no desire to see my man boobs, but hey, that's the way I roll! At least I have pants on.

Oh, and there is no truth to the rumor that 5 pounds of my weight loss came from getting a haircut.

BEFORE (top): Taken Oct. 25, 2009, four days after my surgery.
DURING (bottom): Taken June 4, 2010, 7 months and 14 days after my surgery

Until next time ... Peace, love and baked Cheetos.