Update on Exercise After VSG

I learned a valuable lesson this weekend about exercise after VSG (or any big weight loss). While I’ve been thinking that I’m doing great since I walk/jog 2 miles and can do Kathy Smith, this, apparently is not actually true.

We went to a show at The Tabernacle (Atlanta), which is an old church with multiple levels. ALL STAIRS. We were in the top level, natch, so much stair climbing ensued.

Going up the five or six flights of stairs to our seats, I noticed that my leg muscles were complaining, but I wasn’t winded or anything, so I just ignored it. Then I had to go to the bathroom, which is three floors down from our seats. Again, I noticed that my legs were complaining about going down the stairs, but what could I do? I had to pee!

THEN I had to go back UP the stairs to my seat. This is when the fun really started! My legs started actually failing – as in: no worky. I’m sure everyone thought I was drunk (I had been drinking, but was not drunk), but it was complete muscle failure. Luckily I did not fall or have to sit, but it was close. I pretty much pulled myself up with the railing. On the way out of the venue, Nick had to help me down the stairs, with LOTS of rest stops. (It never occurred to me to ask if there was an elevator. Derp. I just checked: NO. ADA is floor ONLY.)

I know it seems silly that I wouldn’t recognise muscle failure when it happened, but I don’t work out like that (until muscle failure), so I was truly puzzled by it. Once I got home, I realised what happened and started working on a new exercise plan.

Sunday and Monday I could barely walk. I really shredded what little muscle I have in my legs! I was creeping around here like a 90 year old! I did some research to refresh my memory on which exercises are best for building leg muscle (squats, lunges, extensions on the weight bench) and I will integrate them into my workouts. We’ve got an elliptical that bores me to tears (because I can’t read while doing it; something I’m going to try to fix), a weight bench and stairs, so I’ve got the tools to fix this issue. I will reclaim my body and get my muscles BACK!!

So, weight loss people: make sure to have strength training in your workouts! No wonder my legs are so slim: no muscle!!

I’m also adding back in a protein bar every day to bump back up my protein. You MUST have enough protein in your diet to support adding muscle and I know for a fact I can’t eat enough meat for that.

Just a little PSA (warning!!) to my fellow VSGers! Strength training is KEY!

IBD Diet Similar to my VSG Diet

A friend posted about this Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) diet and as I read the study, I recognised the diet immediately: it was very similar to the VSG diet I created for myself! I was surprised, but after thinking about it, it makes sense. You want to present food in the way that it will be best absorbed and with as many nutrients as possible. MY goals for post VSG surgery!

This is the study: An anti-inflammatory diet as treatment for inflammatory bowel disease: a case series report.

Here is part of the foods chart from the study. It is strikingly similar to my plan (click to embiggen, go to study to see the whole chart):

As you know, you start off with purees then progressively go towards “whole” foods that have not been ground, canned or otherwise altered. I went from purees to canned things like tuna and chicken, then to ground meats then to solid meats. I was on “regular” foods by around 2 months. I wrote all about that in my early posts.

I just thought I’d make a post about this to strengthen my assertion that you do not have to eat yogurt and canned meat for 3 months after VSG, as the Mexican nutritionist would suggest. I did give the info to her, in the hopes she might rethink her approach to VSG patient nutrition, but she probably won’t.

Anyway, I hope that this study’s findings and their method of getting the most nutrition into the body in the easiest way for the stomach and digestive tract is helpful to VSG patients who just want to eat something besides yogurt smoothies. Fruit and yogurt is not nutritionally dense enough, IMO. You need vitamins along with that protein to heal. Fruit is not vitamin dense, it’s just sugar, and canned meat is just fat. So if you’re doing VSG and don’t agree with the diet you’re given, look over this IBD plan and my recipes and make your own diet that suits your tastes. You’ll be happier and I promise it will not ruin your VSG healing – despite the drama you’ll hear from your nutritionist and team for going “off plan”. It’s my opinion that you’ll heal up faster when you are eating vitamin dense foods and lots of protein. I was on to regular foods at about 8 weeks, a few weeks faster than their plan and I feel that this is because I was eating a better diet, which got me healed up faster. As always, your mileage may vary. :)

Taxes and Obamacare

So, last year, our expensive accountant had no idea how much we were fined for not doing Obamacare. We got about the same tax refund as the previous year, so we couldn’t tell, either. THIS year, I am doing a lot more research into the fines for Obamacare and the plans we are offered as well. And AGAIN, I see that Obamacare is ridiculous and 100% useless for anything. You might as well BURN the money.

Here is the Subsidy/Fine calculator:

Obamacare Subsidy/Fine calculator
Obamacare Subsidy/Fine calculator

As you can see, the fine indicated would be around $1500, or 2.5% of our income. OR it could be the flat rate fine of $695×2 = $1390, as the calculator below indicates. Who the fuck knows?

Flat rate $695x2
Flat rate $695×2

And here are the illustrious plans offered us:
Shitty Obamacare plans
Shitty Obamacare plans

Wow, only $7k deductible? WHAT A DEAL! LOL Or a measly $13,300 for the other. LOL The rates in bold are the “discounted” rates that reflect our “generous” subsidy of $235.55/mo. LOL What a fucking JOKE.

Keep in mind, that this year, with ALL my shit: surgery, travel, blood tests, one Dr follow up and meds, I have spent about $5400. If you add our AFLAC accident insurance**, which is about $165/qtr ($660/yr, less $60 wellness refund), that still brings us to only $6000 for this year. Even if you add in the biggest fine ($1500), it’s $7500yr, which is technically more than these shitty insurance plans, but keep in mind that you have to add the deductible, so the cheapest plan comes to $6590/yr PLUS $7000, which comes to $13,590 per year before you get ONE PENNY OF COVERAGE. So how in the blue fuck is Obamacare “affordable”? HOW?

Since the surgery was a one time deal, then without that $5000 my typical spending for healthcare is around $400/yr for both of us. That does not include dental ($400 for both, once/yr or around $700 for 2x/yr) or my eye dr ($130 1x year-ish). So my typical spending is what? Around a grand? I’ll take a grand out of pocket over paying out $6590/yr for literally nothing. Obamacare does not cover dental or eye anyway, so all the suckers that pay for it STILL have to pay for that. SUCKERS.

I still see people complaining about their shitty insurance and how it covers nothing, yet they run themselves into bankruptcy to continue paying Obamacare. WHY?? WHY WHY WHY? I just don’t get it. Unless you have a chronic illness that requires shit tons of non generic meds, then I see no reason to pay out thousands of dollars for “insurance” with a $7k DEDUCTIBLE and $14,300 cap! Which means it ain’t gonna pay, yo! I think Americans are fucking insane. Insane to put up with the ass fucking of insurance companies and insane to elect a fucking asshole who is going to make EVERYTHING privatized. You think healthcare sucks now? HA!! Just wait! All you fuckers on Medicaid/Medicare? Get your lube ready, cuz you’re taking it up the ass, my friends. UP. THE. ASS. The Obamacare subsidies will go away and everyone will end up with heinously pricey insurance with heinous deductibles and minuscule spending caps. You just think it’s bad now…

I will continue to hold onto my cash. If an accident occurs, we’ve got AFLAC. We are healthy and do not take Rx drugs. We’ve got credit and savings if we need it. I think that is a far more intelligent way to manage your money than hand it over to private insurance companies who give you LITERALLY NOTHING in return.

But, y’all keep on handing your money over to those private companies. I’ll be over here counting mine.

**Speaking of AFLAC, that shit rocks. You can’t get hospitalization unless it’s through your employer, which is a shame. I think if AFLAC would offer a stand alone hospitalization plan like the accident plan, they’d own the market. The accident plan has generous pay outs for various things like ER visits, etc. We figure if anything serious happens to us, it’ll be on the road or Nick cutting his dick off with a power tool. Either way, AFLAC’s got our back. We’ve had this plan for a decade. :)

Beware of Out Patient Procedures

So, a few weeks ago, I got my blood tests and called my gyno to get an appointment to discuss. She answered the phone and told me that her nurse, Alicia, had died suddenly, so she had very restricted hours.

I was so shocked, I started bawling on the spot. I was (and AM) very upset by this news.

I’ve been going to my gyno for years. She is the only Dr I’ve ever liked and who is genuinely interested in me as a person, not just a hooha that needs a probin’. Her nurse and office manager Alicia was a part of the fun atmosphere and I looked forward to seeing them every year. Crazy, right? I actually like my Dr and nurse that much. I was looking forward to sharing my weight loss with Alicia and joking around like we do.

So losing her was shocking to say the least. She was mid 40s, had a husband and kids. TRAGIC.

What happened?

She went in for a simple “out patient” sinus procedure that required general anesthetic. They used propofol. They did not monitor her breathing and she died. Just like that.

Sound familiar? It should. It was what happened to Michael Jackson. And Joan Rivers.

Propofol is a VERY dangerous drug. It is used in these office visit procedures because it dissipates quickly for a fast recovery. HOWEVER, it can also overshoot quite easily and requires a very attentive anesthetist to make sure that the patient’s breathing does not get too slow.

The lesson to be learned from this is to NEVER EVER agree to an “out patient” procedure (read: insurance won’t pay for a proper hospital) that requires anesthetic such as propofol to be used without demanding to see the operating suite. They should have a crash cart. They should have proper monitoring equipment for respiration and blood oxygen. Demand to see your anesthetist’s CV and ask how much experience and training they’ve had. Demand to know the procedures in place for respiratory arrest or other emergencies. IT IS YOUR RIGHT TO ASK THESE QUESTIONS.

Or better: do not have surgery in a Dr’s office. If it’s something you need to be completely out for, then do your damnedest to get admitted to a proper hospital. If Alicia had been in hospital, she would not have died.

Alicia’s death was unnecessary and easily preventable. The anesthetist was inexperienced and did not continue to monitor her after the surgery was done. The office must have been sketchy in general, as several employees quit the day this happened. And YES, the family is suing. DAMN RIGHT.

THIS is why I always preach about taking control of your medical issues. Alicia was a nurse and she didn’t take the time to ask the questions. It happens all the time. It’s a simple procedure, but the anesthetic is not discussed. People tend to be afraid to ask questions or disagree with Drs. DO NOT BE. Be your own advocate. If you’ve got a Dr that won’t answer questions, find another. If your insurance refuses to pay for a hospital procedure, then ASK THE QUESTIONS to ensure your safety. SO MANY Drs do “out patient” surgeries because of insurance pressure. And SO MANY do not have adequate facilities or personnel to handle emergencies. Have someone with you to monitor what’s going on. Any time you’re put under, you should have someone ON SITE with you.

I was not worried about my surgery, as it was in a hospital, but I made out my will just in case. NEVER assume that nothing could go wrong. When you’re dealing with anesthetic, there is much that can go wrong. Be diligent. Don’t be a statistic. Please.

Real Talk About Being Fat

I know it’s en vogue right now to be “body positive” and all that shizz. But I have to tell you something: I hate being fat and I do not think it is ever pretty.

There. I said it.

I am still fat, but just getting my face back has been a revelation. You can see my eyes! I have only one chin!

I’ve been reading a lot of fat positive blogs and books and while I agree that you should wear whatever the fuck you feel like wearing, I do not agree that it is cute. I just don’t think obesity is a pretty sight, no matter what you’re wearing. I’ve tried really hard to accept being fat, but ultimately, it just never worked for me.

Which brings to mind a girl at DragonCon about 15 years ago. She was easily 300# and she wore the LeeLu Dallas white strappy thing ALL WEEKEND. I saw her and I was all at once hugely impressed and grossed out. It was impressive that she had no fucks to give and she rocked that minuscule cosplay despite the jeers and mean looks. I’ve never forgotten that girl and her bravery. Wonder what happened to her? Is she still fat 15 years later? Is she still as fierce?

Anyway, back to me. When I look at the few pics I have of me at 250#, I am stunned by just how horrible I looked. I knew it was bad, but dayam. All you fuckers who told me I looked great can SUCK IT. LIARS!! While I appreciate your support, I feel it was more for my feelings than the truth. So, thanks for the support despite your lying to my face. :P

I’d also like to publicly apologize to Nick, for ignoring his gentle nudges to be more active and try harder to lose the weight. And I’d like to acknowledge his continued love and support for all these years, during all the sizes and all the mood swings. I love you, honey, and I couldn’t have done this without you. Yes, I wanted a better life for myself, but I also did the VSG for you. I was tired of being an old fat wife. I’m still old and currently still fat, but soon I’ll be old and average rather than fat. And I’ll be much more able to be the partner Nick needs me to be. He deserves that.

I’ve only lost 44# so far, but I already feel SO much better. I’ve still got issues with the new stomach (Pouchie is an ASSHOLE), but I think I eat enough to start exercising again. I just ordered a NuBand Activ+ and I plan to start walking every day again. Starting today!

I like that I’ve dropped from an 18/20 to a fat 14 (Avenue is a fat store, so their 14 is bigger than a straight 14). But I can tell I’ve lost lots of muscle mass. I’m going to ask a bodybuilder friend for some guidelines to get my muscle tone back. I’ve got a lot of weight to go, but the carrot is wearing straight sizes again and being able to cosplay next year at DragonCon. I’ve always responded better to the carrot than the stick and this is no exception. The fact that I did Dragoncon this year and only had a sore lower back (no muscle tone) is AMAZING.

To all the fat and fabulous out there: good for you! I’m really happy that you are fine with your body and rock it daily. That just wasn’t me. I was never fine with being fat. Which is why I did VSG. I’d had enough of the fat and the inflammation and the sore joints. I’d had enough of my face looking like a bloated balloon. I’d had enough of the huge belly. I’d had enough of not wanting to go out because I hated the way I looked.

VSG is not for everyone, true, but for me, the surgery was a breeze and despite the reflux, it has been worth it. I feel SO MUCH better about myself as I come to my 51st birthday than I did at my 50th. Last year, I was beyond unhappy. This year, I feel a glimmer of hope that our future will work out. I’ve not had hope for a VERY long time. I feel like throwing a party! And I just might. My cooking mojo is coming back – thank the gods. The loss of my desire to cook was pretty devastating after surgery. But it’s coming back and that is another reason to rejoice!

I’m happy to leave behind the world of the fat girl. More power to those that are rockin’ it, but it just ain’t me. I hope to reach my ultimate goal of 150, but I’d be happy with 170. Even at 170, I’ll be in a 10 or 12 straight size. And THAT, my friends, is what I’m after.