Wednesday, December 30, 2009

12/30/09 - Nesquik Banana Milk rocks!

Well it seems that 2009 is coming to a close. I have a year-end visit with my surgeon Dr Richard today, since effective 2010 his practice is ‘out of network’ for my new health insurance carrier Aetna (thanks, LexisNexis!). But on a positive note, Dr. Richard has been asked to head up the new bariatric Surgery program at Gwinnett Medical Center, and while he will not be leaving his practice in Gainesville, this new program in Gwinnett County will be considered ‘in network’ for my Aetna health coverage! So I can continue to see Dr. Richard, albeit via the Gwinnett Medical Center program. When God closes one door, He opens another one.
12/31/2009 will be my nine-week anniversary since the Lap RNY surgery, and I have lost a total of 88 pounds from my initial date with Dr. Richard, and 74 pounds since the surgery date. Absolutely stunning. I am still having a big of a nervous stomach, but I have found that if I can eat it, my new stomach reacts well. No more scary episodes like I experienced Thanksgiving (see prev posts).
I am concerned though about my protein intake – since that episode I have not been able to get the IsoPure protein mix down – and prior to that I actually looked forward to mixing it with my morning coffee. Now I can’t even get that mix to my lips without retching. Just thinking about it makes me queasy. I have been drinking the IsoPure flavored drinks to try to get some protein in me, but I fear that is not enough. I have been feeling weak lately and dizzy, and am having issues with my left hand not wanting to cooperate. This is really affecting the accuracy of my typing, and in my job as a Database Administrator, you have to be accurate.
This morning I was able to mix a scoop of IsoPure protein in with a cup of skim milk and drank it just fine. I am going to try another scoop here in a few minutes with a bottle of Nesquik Banana-flavored milk and if that works, I’ll go with the milk/protein mix for awhile. My hope is that by increasing my protein and better tracking my food intake will help me with this dizziness…I read on Brad Garland’s blog that he experienced dizziness and found that his protein intake was too low. Crap. I do however hope that is my problem. I just completed a stressful oncall weekend where I had to review very carefully all of my entries (which I probably ought to be doing anyway), and everything went well. But still, this isn’t how things were just before my t’giving episode. At first I thought it was a head cold causing inner ear issues. I went to the doctor and got a shot for that (he did see some pressure building behind my left eardrum). And I took a z-pack. Then another z-pack. Still no change. I’ve tried Mucinex. Nothing. My doc said that the next step would be to have an MRI done, which I did (yesterday), and the results should be back today. I was fortunate to get that MRI done so quickly, but I pressed hard since my insurance deductibles for 2009 were all met, meaning no out-of-pocket expense for me. I called to check on when I could get in, and the receptionist asked if I could be there in 20 minutes. Oh yeah! I got there, got scanned, and was back home within an hour.
I’ll post the results when I get them.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Day 2009

I remember my Christmas mornings from my youth well, but one of the fondest memories was of my parents on those chaotic mornings. With 4 kids it was an energetic time, and generally way before dawn on Christmas day, after a full evening of ‘can’t we open just ONE present on Christmas Eve?” Finally Christmasx morning would come and Mom and Dad would make sure that all four of us were up and somewhat awake (WE were all awake, it was Mom & Dad that were shaking the cobwebs out after a long night of making sure that Santa had everything all taken care of). We would each take a turn opening a gift, first checking with Mom to see if it was OK to tear open the wrapping paper or having to try to ‘save’ the paper for future use. Once all those formalities were worked out we would tear open the gift, squeal with ‘oohs’ and ‘aaahhs’, and then gather all of the paper, tissue paper, connectors, and trash, and hand them to Dad who had a large plastic trash bag at the ready. Then it was my brother or sisters turn. As we worked through this, it was exciting to see who gave out of gifts first. I remember when I got my High School class ring as a gift, while my younger brothers and sisters had many more individual gifts than I did. I ran out of gifts to open early that year, but the ring was a wonderful gift and a sign that I was growing up. Christmas Mornings were orderly, somewhat structured, and made for some wonderful memories. And no mess! After all of the gifts were opened we would reassemble all of the carefully under the tree with the reminder from Mom and Dad that Santa would base NEXT years gifts based on how well we took care of THIS years gifts.
After Courtney and Chris were born and we were with my (ex) wife’s family for Christmas morning one year, I remember how different it was to watch as all of their kids and grandkids opened everything at once – it was crazy! but a tradition in their family and another flavor of how families spend their Christmas mornings This year, with just Laurie and I (empty nesters!), it was our dog Koko that watched with rapt attention as we opened our gifts – I think he was hoping that each brightly wrapped package was somehow a treat for him! And Koko had the most number of gifts, which brought all of this full circle for me. Oh how excited he was to see the new chew toy, and how neutral he acted about the pretty new treat canister (it even says “Stud” in bright blue letters). But when you get to be “my age”, Christmas is so much more than how many gifts, or what gifts, or even gifts, period..…. Both Laurie and I opened out gifts to each other and relished in the thought and love that each represented (socks!), remembering back to our Christmases past (my Dad always said ‘you can never have enough socks’), and looking forward to Christmases future with our kids and grandkids later that day and the next. It’s a celebration that can span several days, as my Mother likes to say “it’s a moveable feast”. And indeed, it is. A feast for the soul, the heart, and the memories. Thank goodness for our digital media so we can save in a visual form so many of those moments!
And right next to me was a large plastic trash bag, ready for the cardboard, Styrofoam popcorn, wire wrappers and such. Now when Courtney brings my two grandsons over today for our Christmas together, I wonder what the protocol will be for opening those gifts? Peirce is more aware of Christmas this year, and my gut tells me that HE will be making the rules :o)
I've loaded all of the pics at my flickr page. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your families. Steve

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wednesday 12/23/2009 - chili and gumbo!

Took my boss to lunch today to celebrate his upcoming birthday. At Pappadeaux! They had a great looking lunch buffet, but I had the gumbo and a sushi roll instead. Yummy!

My wife has been on a Chili kick lately, so I have made two batches of Chili for her along with my corn soufflĂ©. It has tasted exceptionally well, and agreed with my system. We also have booked our trip to Cancun for March 2010 (two weeks) staying at our favorite place, Solymar. Now to figure out how I can get my protein while I am there! The powder is just not agreeing with me – I tried this week again with coffee and just couldn’t even get the first sip down before I was gagging! I have found respite in the IsoPure drinks, but an 80z bottle run about $2 and I need three of them a day to equal what two scoops of the IsoPure powder gives me (50g protein). Iso Pure also sells the 20oz bottles, which I have kept at home – but the sheer weight alone would make transporting them to Cancun prohibitive. Perhaps Amazon can ship me a case of the 80oz bottles without breaking the bank. How else am I to get my necessary protein for the 2 weeks? Yogurt is 7grams, lentil soup is 13. (imagine 4 cans of Lentil soup a day!) Sargento string cheese has 8g in a single cheese serving (you’ve seen those).. How about peanut butter? Anyone have any suggestions? I have till March 03 to figure this out.

And it is just a few days till Christmas, so please, to you and your family and friends – Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

the weekend 12/19 & 20 - Chili!

Laurie and I went to a birthday dinner for my nephew Clayton at Kiku's Japanese Steakhouse. The Hibachi dinner was excellent - I even had a small sushi appetizer and with a substntial mix of wasabi and soy sauce, things were very good. I had the scallops and some rice and vegetables. Yummy!
Tonight Laurie really wanted some chili, so I cooked up a pot for her, along with my corn souffle. Both were yummy.
Tomorrrow starts Christmas week. I also go on-call. It will be a fast week. Merry Christmas everyone

Friday, December 18, 2009

Wed -> Fri 12/16,17,18/09 Soups on!

The doc asked me to quit taking my high blood pressure meds – he thinks my dizziness may be due to my BP being too low! IT was 113/78 at my visit. So no more insulin, no more Lisinopril… slowly getting rid of the “co morbidity factors” that come with being obese! But he is also concerned that I might be dehydrated, so I am now concentrating on making sure I get the minimum 64oz of fluids each day.
I’ve been bringing in lunch from home – wonderful soups that Mom and Lisa make, and also have tried he soup of the day selection in my cafeteria to work! A cup of warm soup makes for a great meal. I’m still hovering around 268lbs – and have been for the past week. A plateau maybe? I can wait it out! I still have 50 pounds to go to hit my goal.
The home life is returning to normal – Laurie is back, Koko is happier with a warm body in the house during the day so he doesn’t have to stay in the crate. Life is good!

Wed Thu Fri 12/16,17,18 2009

The doc said to stop taking my high blood pressure medicine - my bp was 113/78 when I visited him. So now I am not on insulin (still on metformin for now), and no more H

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tue 12/16/2009 Seafood tastes better with Hooters Hot Sauce!

Today I cooked seafood - first a meal of about six scallops (big ones) quick-fried them in some olive oil, then tossed in some Hooters sauce (hot, Kroger sells it) and some salt, pepper and garlic. Very tasty and agreed quite nicely with my stomach.
Laurie and her mom returned today from Houston, where they were visiting with Bridgette and baby Jon. They hated to leave them, but sure looked glad to be home.
I am off to see my general Dr. today - I am unusually dizzy and feel disoriented - hoping it is something that can be treated with a shot or a pill :o) Doe't we always hope for that...
Brought in a serving of tilapia (again, cooked with the Hooters sauce) it was almost as yummy as the scallop. I know I need to be getting more fluids in me. Need to work on that! Blood sugar is doing great - at 116 this morning (weight at 268.2)

Monday, December 14, 2009

the weekend and Monday 12/14/2009

the cabin was very nice - it was a cold weekend and it did rain on Saturday night, but that was not a problem. With the tin roof the rain was very soothing. Koko enjoyed the trip, he rode in the passenger seat like he owned the car.
I took the chicken pot pie that I baked at home with us and picked at it most of the weekend. I also bought some chili at Ingles, and I did eat half of it - Koko had the rest and loved it.
Nice and quiet weekend. Laurie returns on Tuesday!

Friday, December 11, 2009

12/09-12/11 W/Th/Fr Chicken Pot Pie and off to The Cabin for the weekend

I have been a little under the weather for Wed and Thu (and even today, Fri 12/11). I did swing by my family doc on Tue (12/08) and he said my sinuses are a bit swollen. So I am slugging through things and waiting for “this cold” to be over.
I thought about a quick meal on Thu and decided to cook my Chicken Pot Pie – not all that quick or easy, but always tasty. I cooked up a pack of boneless skinless thighs on the grill and 90 minutes later I had a Pot Pie! I ate exactly one serving (about 2 tablespoons) and Koko got to enjoy the rest. I am taking the other 5/6 of the Pie with us to The Cabin! It gets better over a day or so. My weight continues to drop – today (fri) I was at 268.8 (down 66 lbs). Koko and I are doing w2ell, Laurie and her mom return from Sugarland, TX on Tue 12/15,.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Dec 7 and 8, 2009 Mon and Tue - Dr's visit and Working from Home and Chicken-and-Rice!

Monday found a return to work, and boy, did my legs hurt! I guess Ken and I did a lot of walking during the SEC Championship Football game…. I read a Facebook post about cooking Chicken and Rice, and boy, did it sound good. I have a C/R recipe I like, so I stopped at Publix on the way home Monday evening and bought a pack of boneless, skinless thighs, a can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom with garlic and spices soup, and a container of Texmati Royal Blend rice (a mix of Basmati, wild rice, and red rice). Instead of water I use chicken broth, 1C of the rice, 1can of soup, 3cans Broth, 1/2stick butter or margarine, all in a rectangular casserole dish, stir well. Lay 4 or 5 of the boneless, skinless thighs on top of this mixture, season to taste, preheat oven to 350, and bake for 90 minutes.

And it sat very well with my new stomach! I was concerned about the effects of the rice, and I was very light on the rice for the first serving – but everything went fine! In fact, I have had leftovers for 2 days. Mmm Mmm Good!

On Tuesday I had 2 doctors’ appointments, with the first being with my Endocrinologist, Dr. Neland Shenoy. My appt was at 9am, I was there at 9am, and the waiting room was already full. Bad Omen. My 2nd appointment was with my Family Physician, Dr. Crooker (well, actually a P.A. at that office, Richard Petit). I was still in Dr. Shenoy’s waiting room at 10:15am and there were now people standing! I decided that if I was still waiting at 10:30am I would leave. And find a new Endocrinologist! There is no excuse to be 90 minutes late at 9am.

And as fate would have it, the nurse called me back right at 10:15. As she was weighing me and recording my vital signs, she realized that I was the wrong “Stephen”! But since I was back in the exam area, she was not going to make me go back out there. Gee, wasn’t that nice. I could tell by the nurses attitude that this was already a very bad day for her, too. My weight on their scale was 277 (271 at my home scale), my BP and O2 were fine, and I was left in an exam room to meet with the doctor. It was now 10:30am.

And in walks…a P.A.! Dr Shenoy now has some help! He was very friendly and spent quality time with me, and we discussed my GBP surgery and overall health. My A1C was unchanged at 8.2, but he said that this measurement runs about 90 days behind the trend. He recommended I start on Metformin ER but not change any other meds (no insulin, no glimiperide, etc) and start blood testing twice a day (Laurie took my sugar monitor to TX with her :o). He then wants me to fax the 4-week readings back to their office so they can decide where to go from here.

I bolted out of there and hit the GPS in Laurie’s Kia Borrego to find the fastest route to Dr. Crooker's office, and I arrived there right at 11:15a.m. I didn’t sit down in the waiting room good and I was being called back by the nurse. After she weighed me and took vitals, she reviewed my drug list and asked one-by-one if I was still on Regicide. Regicide? I’m not on Regicide. Oops! She called back the wrong Stephen, too. But she went ahead and put me in an exam room, and before she even got turned around good, Richard Petit walked in. I told him of my ears “percolating”, and he examined them. No obstruction or excessive wax (very surprising!). He recommended I take Mucinex (otc) to help with the slight pressure he detected behind my eardrum. This office converted to all-digital in the summer 2009, so he was able to transmit the prescription (Z-Pack) to my pharmacy (Publix in Dacula), shook my hand, I whisked by the receptionist, and I was back in my car by 11:30. 15 minutes total! What an odd day.

I returned home and got Koko out of his “enclosure”, and ate some of the Chicken and Rice leftover, drank my IsoPure protein drink, worked from home (it was cold and rainy outside). I went over to Courtney’s for dinner and got to play with Caden (Peirce stayed the night at his grandmothers) and had a nice chat with Courtney. Donley had to work late. When that was over I drifted home, did some school work, chatted with Laurie in Sugarland, TX, and went to bed. It was a very full day!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sat 12/5 and Sun 12/6 - the SEC C/championship Football Game

On Saturday my brother, Ken, and I went to downtown Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game with the Florida Gators vs the Alabama Crimson Tide. We got down there very early, did the ESPN Gameday madness, and were in our seats in time for the kickoff. The game didn't go our way, but it was a great crowd, and afterwards we wandered around a few feet from the hotel looking for somewhere to eat that didn't have an impossible wait. We ended up at a Brazilian Steak House where I had just a bite or two from the salad bar (seafood, asparagus, snow peas). Ken did as well. Then back to the hotel. Got up early this AM and returned home.

tomorrow is another work day, the stomach is feeling OK, but I'm still not up on real solid food. But it hasn't even been 7 weeks since the surgery! I'm down 61 pounds to 273. 60 pounds to go!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Thu Dec 03 and Fri Dec 04 - Go Gators!

On Wednesday, I had a errand to run at lunch, so I stopped at a QT (our local quickie mart) I ate the insides of a QT Southwest Chicken wrap for lunch - just the chicken and grated cheese and spices. the label said 320 calories for the entire sandwich - I did not touch the wrap or the lettuce - thought the lettuce looked very good! I am recording 1/2 of the numbers for my record - 160cal, 14g carb..., 7g protein. ONe-half hour later, still feeling fine! In the pic below, you see the wrap and lettuce at the top - and the chicken at the bottom. Yum!

For dinner, I really wanted Hot & Sour soup for dinner. After I left my daughters house I went by our local Chinese buffett.... and the lady said $7.25 for soup. One price for dinner, including soup. I couldn't buy just the soup. OK. I bought the meal and absolutely loaded the foam container with food - and the soup container with... Hot & Sour. Then when I got home I gave the "meal" to the teenagers next door (free food!) and kept the Hot & Sour soup.

The protein is going down so much easier via the IsoPure 20oz bottled drinks. Lots of flavors, kinda pricey, but the negatives of not getting enough protein are pricey, too! Like losing my hair! I have worked very hard to keep the hair I have, no need to rush the balding process.....

Off to the SEC Championship Football game tomorrow to cheer the Florida Gators on as they face the Alabama... well, what is the Alabama mascot? Is it the red elephant? the "crimson tide". And what exactly is a "yammerhammer"? Well, tomorrow they will be pulling out all of the stops to win, but I believe the gators will as well.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Wed and Thu Dec 02 and 03, 2009 - I need to get my protein!

Wednesday was a very unsettled day as far as my stomach goes. I am still forcing myself to mix the protein mix in my morning coffee, and yesterday it just wasn’t working. It made me miserable all day, so I have decided to stop ruining my coffee – I’ll get my protein another way for now. And that way is – via bottled IsoPure drinks! One 20oz bottle has 40grams of protein (2scoops of powder is 50g). I bought five bottles on Monday at Dr. Richard’s office, so I will go that route for now. $3.75a bottle, but at least it doesn’t run my entire day. I had some of Lisa’s chicken broth for lunch. I just wasn’t hungry…..

And here I am on Thursday on my 2nd cup of plain old black coffee, and it feels pretty good. Dr. Richard did prescribe Protonix to deal with a suspected acid problem in both my “new” stomach and in the old one – but from what I read it can take up to 6 weeks for Protonix to kick in. I brought miso soup for lunch today, and a gelatin snack, pudding, and two Sargento cheese sticks.

Laurie and Shirley are becoming Sugarland regulars, finding their way around to all of the necessities – Outback steakhouse, Walmart, the regional Mall – and of course the beeline route to that new grandbaby, Jon! They are there for 2 weeks, till 12/15. Lots of great bonding time for everyone involved. Koko and I are settling in with just the 2 of us for that 2-week period. Off to the SEC Championship Football game, Gators vs Alabama, this weekend. Well, I am anyway. Koko is off to the kennel. He gets his latest rounds of shots and the canine flu shots. Hey, better he than me!

I’ve uploaded the latest pics from Laurie of baby Jon to my flickr page here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tue Dec 01 2009 - the girls are off to Sugarland, TX

Laurie and her mom are on their way to Sugarland, TX to see Laurie's daughter Bridgette and her new baby Jon. They are going to be in Sugarland for 2 weeks, which means it is me and the dog (Koko) in the house by ourselves for awhile. Laurie tells me it is cocld and raining in Sugarland, kinda the same weather we have here in Auburn, GA! I drove them to the Atlanta airport this morning - the traffic in Atlanta is as bad as ever. I worked from home the rest of the day.

I did stop at Chick-Fil-A and got a sausage and egg burrito combo, I ate the small hash browns (about 10 pieces) and about 1/2 of the burrito. I had miso soup again for dinner, though my Mother and Lisa have prepared some wonderful soups for me!

And most importantly, today (Dec 01) is the start of Laurie's and my month to place flowers at my son's grave. Chris' mom and I alternate months, and I get December and January each year. I have more pics of Chris' headstone and picture and the December flowers at my flickr page. This will be my sixth Christmas without Chris, my how I miss him! Chris passed away in May 2004.

the other pics are at .