Weekly Check In – 7/14/2021

One hundred and four weeks out from surgery, and here are the numbers I care about:

  • Weight: 240

This is probably gonna be a long one. I had my two-year follow up for my gastric sleeve surgery this morning, and I knew it’d be something I wanted to write about, so I intentionally put this off until today (Thursday). I actually chose to have an in-person appointment for my follow up this morning because I’m not sure I’d have taken care of the mess on my skull if I didn’t have to leave the house. I shaved on Saturday, July 3rd, and then again yesterday, on the 14th. In the middle of all that my wife had spinal fusion surgery, which I wrote about last week, and I did not give a single fuck about anything else. When I was done shaving 11 days of skull and facial hair, it looked like I’d used the bathroom sink to skin a small badger. Anyway…

Down half a pound, so #huzzah. The scale at home read 240 but the one at the doctor’s office read 246. I was in a slightly more risque outfit at home though, so fuck it. The doc looked at my recent lab work and was overjoyed with where I’m at, saying things like, “You’re rockin’ it dude!” I think she even called me a star student which, yes. Going into this appointment, I had four things I wanted to talk about:

  1. My primary care guy’s insistence that I go back on a statin, which I wrote about here.
  2. Kaiser’s one-size-fits-all nutrition plan for immediately after weight loss surgery, which I’ve written about several times (and I’m too lazy to find a link).
  3. Do I really still need to be taking biotin?
  4. When are in-person classes coming back, because I need to resume taking their disordered eating class.

So, going down that list:

The Statin – I described my diet in exhaustive detail to her and then asked her if I really needed to be on a statin and I reminded her that this was the same guy who refused to take me off my blood pressure meds the day before I fainted due to low blood pressure. She said my recent lab work didn’t include a lipid panel, so she ordered one for me and told me I should fast beforehand. She also said if my cholesterol was at the same level it was at this time last year, she probably wouldn’t go back on a statin, even though it is a preventative thing that most diabetics should be concerned about. She also said her opinion would be different if my diet ever changed to include a fuck ton of bacon or dairy.

Totally related, I told her Kaiser needed to get its shit together and hire more primary care doctors with experience in bariatric medicine, and she agreed that they do. My primary care guy is a great doctor, but as another bariatric doctor said to me, “Primary care guys aren’t used to their patients’ problems going away.” So, unless my primary care guy starts demanding that I go back on a statin, I’m not in the market for a new doctor.

Kaiser’s One-Size-Fits-All BS – I’ve also written about this before, and I’m still too lazy to track down the link, but here’s the relevant information: My wife and I had the exact same surgery, but she had hers about 2-3 months before I did. She’s 5’6″. I’m 6’10”. Kaiser told us to consume the EXACT SAME PORTIONS AND CALORIES after each of our surgeries. This is as ridiculous as expecting a Land Rover to only need as much gas as a Prius. GTFO with that nonsense. I told the doc about how little energy I had for the first several months after the surgery and how I eventually realized that, because of their stupid guidelines, I’d been subjecting myself to malnutrition. Obviously most of their patients are going to look a lot more like my wife than me, but I won’t be the only giant they perform that surgery on, and in the future, Kaiser should do their best not to fucking starve those poor guys. I asked the doc who I should communicate all that to, and she told me she’d bring it up at their next department meeting. So hopefully that’s something that will change in the future.

Totally related, she asked how many calories I was getting in a day, and I told her I always aimed for 1200, but on the days I go over, it’s usually in the 1200-1400 range. She said she put on my record that I could be eating between 1600-1800 calories a day, which…wow. I won’t be doing that for as long as I’m still working from home, but it’s good information to have in the back of my head for when I’m back on multiple campuses in a day, actually moving my body constantly. More fuel might be necessary.

The Whole Biotin Thing – I asked the doc if I needed to still be taking biotin. The only reason I was taking it in the first place was to avoid a bunch of hair loss, which:

Me “Rockin’ It”

At the time of surgery I’d lost “just the right amount” of hair, and didn’t need to lose anymore. I did lose a little bit, but then about a year ago, I started shaving my head “Lex Luthor” bald, and I actually really like it, so I asked the doc if there was any other reason to be taking the biotin.

She said, “No.”

The Disordered Eating Classes Thing – A few years ago I began a 10-week class called Disordered Eating, which is now apparently called “Considering Your Relationship with Food” or something similar, which is affirming as fuck, and also stupid. As a society, we really need to start labeling things that are bad with honesty and no judgement. A president’s illegal actions are “criminal,” not “extra-constitutional,” and I’m not dating my food, I have a fucking eating disorder. Two of them, if I’m being honest (binge eating disorder and compulsive overeating). Anyway, I had to stop taking the class because I had the surgery, and then we had the pandemic and subsequent lockdown, and now I’d really like to take that class again (in person (even though Zoom is a miracle, it’s a miracle I fucking hate)) because even though I’ve made all these changes to how I live, I still sometimes binge. It’s just that it’s grape tomatoes, instead of candy or fast food (seriously, I spend $20-$30 a week on grape tomatoes). And yeah, tomatoes are healthy and shit, but the behavior is fucked. And long-term success, when it comes to my health, means unfucking my head as much as possible.

Also – This doesn’t belong here, but I don’t go on Twitter anymore: “Gourmet tacos” can fuck off.

Three things I’m grateful for:

  • Medicine / Science / Actual Healthcare / California
  • My wife’s good health. Normally this would be listed at the top, but this week I want to acknowledge how much we owe to those things listed in the first item. Her surgery went great and we’re already back at the gym (taking it easy, just hitting the exercise bikes). She hates the neck brace, but it’s so much better than being paralyzed. Or dead. And I don’t know what I’d do without her.
  • My health. See item one.

I’m good this week. I’ve been living with a LOT of stress and anxiety the last ten months. Between September and January, Annette was diagnosed with the deteriorating condition in her spinal cord, the most toxic election in modern memory happened, and (blame it on the virus or just stupid people, but either way) the pandemic ramped up and took a couple hundred thousand people, including six of our own. That’s a lot. But I’m still here, so is my wife, and the worst is (please, please, please, let this be true) hopefully behind us. It’s time to let my shoulders drop a little, I think.

Here, have a graphic: