Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What will we leave behind?

This morning, I am running a temperature and not feeling all that good. Kind of achy and sick to my stomach. I wanted to go swimming, but there are several older folks there who have many serious illnesses and I do not want to give them a bug so I am staying home today and feeling sorry for myself, which I have no right to do as I have been blessed beyond measure in my life.

As I was laying in bed trying to feel better, Jackie was playing music from Pandora on the stereo. Many of the artist she was listening too, have passed but I realized that no matter what their personal life was like, no matter the health problems they may have had, now that they are gone, still millions of people can enjoy and appreciate their music, movies, or books. Whatever they left for humanity will stay with us for years and years. The recent tragic passing of Robin Williams is an example. He struggled from depression apparently for years and finally gave in to the temptation to get out of his pain by taking his own life. But still he will be remembered and loved by many people for a long time.

I have to ask myself, what will I leave for future generations? I know I have a family who will remember me for a generation or two, but did I contribute to society in any meaningful way? I had a lot bigger plan for my life. I wanted to be a doctor and help people. I gave up on that dream. I was talented in music but let that go and can no longer play worth a hoot, so that is gone. I built a data center for law enforcement and a communications network, but that too is long gone and the work I did for 30 years in in the dust bin. So it is easy to get depressed on my current condition in life. 

I will never be famous most assuredly. I doubt I will invent anything that will have an impact on society. I for sure will not leave songs or movies for future generations. So what can I or anyone else, who would be considered a normal person do for future generations? In my case I think it boils down to just a few things. Live as good a moral life as you can. Try to be kind to everyone. But most importantly for me, I believe I and you have a responsibility to tell and leave your stories. That is, document what you and other family members have done with their lives. 

I am involved in the hobby of genealogy and have traced my family back many many generations. In doing so, I have found stories and events that these people have experienced. The sacrifices they have made to make our lives better. Someone needs to carry this on in the future. I will leave my records and stories on-line and in hard copy form and pass it along to someone in my family. Maybe in this way a little immortality can be be achieved and something worthwhile passed on to other people to enjoy. At least I hope so. 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Two Year Out, Checkup

I had my two year checkup yesterday with my surgical team. All tests came back very good. The dizziness I have been having sometimes they feel was because I was a little dehydrated. I am still within 6 pounds of my lowest weight and that is fine and to be expected. They weighed me dressed of course and even with all my cloths on I was just a fraction over my desired BMI. But I normally weigh on each Tuesday in my underwear and then I am within normal on the BMI scale.

I have been taking a medication for cholesterol. Because my tests came back and my cholesterol was so low they felt I should not take that medication anymore. So other than the meds I take for heartburn, I have no prescription medications at all. What a change from the days of taking a tray of meds and insulin shots 3 times a day.

The past two years have gone by very fast and the changes in my life and corresponding health have been amazing. I just hope it all continues and feel good about the prospects.  

Friday, May 16, 2014

WLS and How Long You Will Live

There have been many benefits I have had because of my weight loss surgery. I have talked about many of them on this blog before. Other than the heartburn problems which I am working with my doctors to find a cause and cure, things have been pretty uneventful for me. 

I really believe that by now without the surgery there would be a good chance that I would not have been living, or at least living a greatly diminished life . The weight was causing heart failure and the diabetes was getting way out of control. Yes I was dieting and losing some weight and felt I was on the right path when I found out about WLS, but if history is any teacher, I probably would have regained the little weight I had lost and added more. That had been my pattern for most of my life. 

Now two years out, when I tell people what I used to weigh they can not believe it. I never thought I would be one, who does not want to tell people about my past weight loss. I used to scoff at those who got upset when relatives or friends tell other about their weight loss. But now I can see that we want to be looked at as just normal weight persons and don’t want to concentrate on past problems. That my be sticking my head in the sand, and maybe I am over confident about my ability now to stay at my weight, but after 2 years of not gaining much back I am feeling much more confident about it.  

In thinking about my mortality, I always felt I would live a long life as many of my ancestors lived to be very elderly. My mother for instance seen here on this page is going to be 96 this summer. My grandfather also seen here, was 98 when he passed. And as a genealogist I can tell you that I have had many relatives in the past live to close to 100 years old. So I always thought I would live long. But I never really thought about the fact that most of those who lived long lives including my mother and grandfather were slim people and did not have things like diabetes. I liked to ignore those facts when considering how long I might live. But being more realistic I can see that my chances were not that good unless I lost the weight and taken care of my other health issues.   

My grandfather
he looked pretty much like this
when he was in his 90s
My mother as she was in her 70s
Of course non of us can predict what the future holds for us. Just this week two neighbors were on vacation in Hawaii and were killed in a car crash. Unforeseen circumstances can change for us almost over night, but considering that if you are living with excess weight and the other health issues associated with it, your chances of living a long productive life are greatly diminished. Do not fool yourself into thinking as I did that family history will take care of you, because it wont. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Making Progress

Well it has been over a month from the time I posted to this blog. It is not that I have stopped having interest in what my life is like after bypass surgery, it is just that because of the surgery I can do so many other things that I was just unable to do before.

As I have noted before, we are remodeling our home. Just now the kitchen is the main part we are doing. When I say we, I mean my wife Jackie and me. I do not have the money to pay someone else to do the work. As it is now we have about $6,000 invested in the things we had to get so far to bring our home up to modern standards. Can you imagine how much it would have cost if I could not have done the work. So not only has the surgery improved my life, it is saving me money.

Working on the kitchen. What a mess
We are living in a construction mess right now. If you know my wife, you can appreciate how hard it is on her to have the house a mess. She is the kind of housekeeper who will vacuum the same floor more than once in a day if she feels it is messy.
Old tile gone waiting to put hard flooring down. 
The old tile floor and underlayment has been removed from the kitchen and dinning room and just yesterday we got the new hardwood flooring to put down. We have to let it get accustomed to the environment for 3 days before I start to nail it down. I have never done that before but have the tools and have watched many U-Tube videos showing others doing it and I feel confident that I can do it as well.

Before surgery I would not have had the energy to do these tasks and would have collapsed in a pool of perspiration on the floor if I tried. If you are like I was way over weight and sick and can find any way of having the surgery, please do what you can, to get it done. You will not regret it. That is of course if you use the great gift of the surgery to modify your life and change you habits. Without doing that the surgery is a waste of time and effort. It is not magic, but if you follow the rules and do as you are directed to do, you too will be able to do things like I have talked about here without worry about killing yourself.  

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Not a Freak Anymore

I am not a young man, but I still think of myself as young and think I look younger than my 72 years. Because of my weight loss surgery, I feel I am in better heath than I have been in many years. I still have the normal aches and pains one would expect when I do something physical hard to do. I have also lost some muscle mass while losing the weight. I can no longer depend on my ability to use my muscles to do as much as I used to a few years ago. Even with the weight I had I was always very 
strong and could just about move mountains.  

I graduated from Puyallup High School in 1960 and then went on to college and started a family. I did not see most of my high school classmates until our 10th year reunion. Looking at the group then we had survived petty well, still a good looking group. We had not lost many to death and did not know of any of our boys who were lost to the war that was going on at the time in the far East. 

In 2010 of course we had our 50th class reunion and as expected we were looking a lot older. I could hardly recognize many who were there and I am sure they could not recognize me either and I had to reintroduce myself to them many times. Of course the thin athletic boy that had lots of hair was now fat and bald so I do not blame them at all. I had tried to lose a little weight before the reunion, and had been able to get a size 48 pants on. They were tight but on. I thought I looked pretty good but of course I was fooling myself. But I was not the only one who had gained a lot of weight and lost their hair. We had also lost a few classmates to death as would be expected but really just a few. 

I had not heard from most of the classmates again from the time except for a few who were my“friends” on Facebook. I found out from one of those friends that a group of people were still meeting once a month at a Puyallup restaurant and kind of having a monthly reunion of sorts. With the prompting of one of these friends, I attended the meetings this past week at Charlies Restaurant in Puyallup. 

After loosing about 150 pounds I had to reintroduce myself again but this time I was one of the thinnest ones there. I did not have to feel embarrassed about my appearance anymore and that was great. I would just sit back and enjoy the company of my classmates without feeling like a freak Actually I think Jackie who went with me and I were the best looking couple there. Probably predigest with that statement but I did enjoy the attention. I over heard one of the guys say how good I looked now to another classmate. I don’t think he knew I could hear his comments. He told the other guy he looks great now but he used to be huge, and that was a true statement but he did not know how huge I had been as he never saw me at my hugest 

Anyway I am so thankful for the surgery and now I feel I can live a normal life and interface with old friends and family without feeling I am the biggest elephant in the room. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014


I am so happy with how I feel most of the time these days. I have so much energy and actually look for things to do around here all the time. Jackie is amazed at how much better I am in getting things done.

But I do have a few problems that I have talked about before. I am continually having acid reflex. I have talked to my surgery team about it, and they gave me some medicines for it, but so far I still have an occasional problem. It normally happens while I am sleeping, I upchuck acid into my mouth and esophagus. It hurts like hell and most of the time I have to get out of bed to clear it. I will eat a couple of soda crackers or drink something and it seems to calm it down a little but I lose sleep over it and feel kind of weak the next day. I am going to be a little more aggressive with my doctors and see if I can find what is causing this problem.

Many of our friends, who are about our age, are having more health problems than either Jackie or I are having. Some very major problems and I sometimes feel guilty about complaining about my little problems when I have been lucky enough to not suffer any big ones myself.

Of course almost everyone these days will develop some problem they are going to work on before they finally die of something. I guess it comes down to quality of life and each day we are given to enjoy the things we do. Our health systems are good enough these days that people even with major problems are able to go on for years and still have a pretty good quality life.

Years ago many things people are living with would have meant almost immediate death of at least a pretty miserable life until they eventually died. But today medicine is advanced enough to extend our lives in better ways. And for that and the surgery I had, I am most grateful.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Phase one is done!!!!!

Boy am I tired but happy. I got the first part of our home remodel project completed and I am proud of how it turned out. We only spent about $1200 on the job and paid as we went so no credit cards were used. This is only about a third of the total project. Next is the kitchen and it is going to be a lot more money to say the least. Some new cabinets, new appliances, new floors, new paint and trim. So I am going to have to put away as much money as I can for the next few months so that I can afford the project. Jackie is still trying to decide on exactly what she wants for flooring and counter tops. That will go a long way in determining how much it is going to cost. Stay tuned.

I lost the little weight I gained over the holidays and am under my goal weight again which was 168 lbs. I had to cut my calories down quite a bit to lose the weight but now I am back on my normal schedule. If I should go up a little from time to time I intend on cutting back for a week or so to control it. The key is to weigh and measure everything very closely and to take actions if needed by cutting back for a time.

With Spring coming on I will also have to do a lot of work in my yard and home on the outside. So that coupled with my swimming that I still do 3 times a week will increase my exercise activities and burn a few more calories so my weight will probably stabilize more.

It is hard to believe but the anniversary of my RNY surgery for two years is coming up soon. Two years ago this time I weighed over 325lbs and thought I was doing good, as that was down form what I had weighed a few months before. What a difference in my life the surgery has made possible.