…And Looking Forward to 2017

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Welcome, friends and neighbors, to the last Misdirected post of 2016.

Been a heck of a year, hasn’t it?

I am looking forward to 2017 with a considerable amount of hope. Compared to last New Year’s Eve, the contrast is like night and day. I am lighter, happier, and more productive now than I was last year, and any year before this for a long, long time. Mainly thanks to an aggressive neurologist and the team at ABQ Health Partners Bariatrics.

Now, it has not been easy. I still have to shake off my disappointment after seizures. I still miss pizza and beer. I still look in the mirror and sigh wistfully over the “apron” of deflated skin I now wear around my waist. And I am still baffled at how eating an ounce each of deli meat, cheese and nuts make me feel like I have swallowed a cow. But my quality of life has never been better, and I choose to focus on that.

I may not be able to run a marathon, but I can walk 5 kilometers. I may not be able to bench press my body weight, but I am able to lift weights again. I may not see the person I want to see when I look in the mirror, but I certainly like the person I see better than the one that was reflected at me back on December 31 of last year.

So, what does 2017 have in store?

Big changes here at Misdirected, for one thing. I won’t spoil the surprise for you, but on Monday things are going to look real different, I can tell you that.

I am also going to be moving away from the embedded ads, I think. I intend to convert the site over to support via the Patreon system, essentially crowd-funding the continued existence of Misdirected. I love the Patreon system, and actually am a patron of a couple of my favorite bloggers. More details to come.

Episode #1 of “Inheritance” will be releasing on Fiction Vortex in February of 2017, followed by the remainder of the novel, one episode per month throughout the year. I am seriously quivering with joy at the prospect of producing my first novel, and love the concept of being a part of the cutting edge of producing episodal fictional content. The other 3 stories that will be written as part of the “Welcome To Ash Falls” Storyverse are already excellent, and I can hardly wait to see what the authors have planned for the rest of their tales. Fiction Vortex produces great stories by excellent authors – if you haven’t checked out an episode or two yet, I strongly suggest you go read a few episodes now, and get all warmed up for the release of the Ash Falls stories later in 2017.

I will be producing non-fictional content as well, of course, and will keep everyone posted as these articles are released. This will be the year that I shift gears and begin producing regular content under my own byline. I feel like I have completed my apprenticeship working for ghostwriting agencies, and am ready to move on to consistent creation of my own material.

I also intend for this to be the year that “Learning To Live In The Dark” is finished. This is the book I have been working on for a couple of years now, dealing with Adult-Onset Epilepsy. My current intention is not to seek a publisher, but to self-publish it once it is completed, and I will keep everyone posted on its progress and eventual release date.

We have travel plans for Nevada, Arizona, and South Dakota tentatively on the books for 2017. Depending on the success of Inheritance we may also sneak in a visit to Oregon, so I can spend some time near the locales where my novel is set. We will be participating in our first 5K event in May, and should both hit the “100-pounds lost” milestone in 2017.

It looks like it is going to be a full year.

Thanks again to all my family, friends, and followers here on Misdirected. If it wasn’t for you, I would be jotting all this down in a journal and never sharing the experiences with anyone. I sincerely appreciate you allowing me to be a part of your lives.

Be Blessed In 2017,

– Jeremy

Looking back at 2016

 

313,000 words typed this year. Dang. That is quite a few. Like, if those words were put into novels, I would have written a trilogy. In one year. And I used to wonder how Robert Parker managed his output of books…

Seriously, though, 2016 was the year when I finally decided I had something important enough to talk about on a regular basis. In the past, I have written about Epilepsy – which is important to only a very small segment of the world, though I wish it was important to more people. I’ve written about gaming, which is important to me, but not necessarily the majority of the planet. But, this year, I finally discovered something that was important to me and a good percentage of the world: obesity, and the life-altering methods that can be required to combat it.

Despite my terrifically bad memory, I can distinctly remember stepping on my scale in February and seeing the numbers “302” appear on the readout. I felt like my heart would stop beating. I don’t know why it was that I was willing to previously put up with scale numbers like 280 or even 290. But cresting that 300-pound plateau was just too much for me. I could barely walk down the street and back (2 tenths of a mile) thanks to my blown knee. I couldn’t empty groceries out of the car without gasping for air for minutes afterward. The combination of my weight and my seizures was so overwhelming that we finally had to give up being foster parents, since it was not fair to expect my wife to be raising kids by herself as well as caring for me full-time. My life revolved around my shattered dreams of being a parent and a musician, my sexless marriage, and waiting for the next batch of seizures to arrive.

And, of course, food. LOTS of that.

300 pounds is what it took to get me to accept that I had a problem that I was not going to be able to fix on my own, despite years of trying to do so. After abusing my body for 20 years I gave up my belief that it was all somehow temporary and that I could change any time I wanted to. I needed help from an outside agency – drastic, dramatic help that was going to involve radically changing my physiology, and altering my life not for a few days or weeks, but for the rest of my life. Bariatric surgery from Dr. Tyner, and the unflagging support of my loved ones, provided me with the tools I needed to finally make those difficult choices and changes.

And, so far, it is working. I can walk 5 kilometers without falling to pieces afterward. I go to the gym almost every day. I have a social life again. I have a sex life again. My increased health even seems to have had a positive effect on my seizure activity. A year ago, I was sitting around the house waiting to die. Today, I am constantly in motion, and planning for 5, 10, and even 20 years down the road. Obesity was killing me, and I have now sprung back to life.

And, in the place of being passionate about food, I have discovered new passions. I was able to get a quill and inkpot tattoo back in April to celebrate becoming a published, professional writer. I am halfway through writing my first novel. I have begun work on not one but two non-fiction books. I even went so far as to buy a house, fully expecting to be around when it is paid off in my 70s.

97 pounds lighter and 300,000 words later, I am still discovering new things I want to experience.

Thanks For Joining Me On My Journey,

– Jeremy

Life in the Freezing Frozen

I wake up in the 5 AM darkness, shivering. I check on Lor, who is still fast asleep, curled up in the fetal position, clutching Vixen for a heat source. I am positive that something has gone wrong with the heating system in the house, so I make my way across the (frozen) hardwood floor, out into the (frozen) hallway, and check our thermostat. It insists that the temperature is 69 degrees. But I know, for a fact, that it is -12 degrees F, and we have been somehow transported from the high desert of Albuquerque to the middle of an iceberg floating through the Arctic Sea.

Welcome to the Freezing Frozen – also known as life after bariatric surgery.

I sit here writing feeling as though I have icicles dangling from my earlobes. I am wearing flannel underwear, thick socks, flannel boxers, a set of “thermal” leggings, an undershirt, a sweatshirt, and a hoodie. Except for the hoodie, this is what I wore to bed last night. It is a whole new world. A very cold and ice-covered world, in fact.

I have had it explained to me many times, and no two explanations are the same. Maybe the body’s heat regulator gets completely out of whack after bariatric surgery. Perhaps increased metabolism causes us to perceive heat differently. It is a temporary condition that will correct itself after a few months. Or it is a torment to people who are a decade out from their surgeries. The only consensus is that there is no consensus.

I kind of like Lor’s explanation, actually – she tells people that, with having lost nearly 100 pounds each, we have ripped out the majority of our “insulation”. What would happen to the temperature in our house if we removed half the insulation in our attic?

I am fairly sure it would feel exactly the way it does right now, actually.

Apparently, we have been talking about this more than a little. One of the gifts we received from my in-laws was a 1500 Watt space heater. My parents bought us clothing gift certificates, and my mother advised me to “Buy something warm.” I sincerely apologize to everyone who has had to listen to us complain about the cold.

But, it is either that or listen to our teeth chattering.

Wishing I Could Type With Gloves On,

– Hawkwind

The Post-Christmas Report

Wrapping paper litters the floor after Christmas presents are opened.

(Sigh.)

Despite 5 days of exercise (including 2 lifting days and one 5K walk) during Christmas Week, the holiday diet was too much to overcome, and I wound up regaining 1.8 pounds, putting me back up over 207.

C’est la Guerre, I suppose. I actually had very little I was unhappy about during the last week, including my diet. It was probably the grazing that did me in more than anything – even eating relatively healthy things will have an impact if you are hitting them every time you wander through the kitchen. That and very poor hydration – once the holidays ramped up, I doubt I hit 64 ounces on any day.

But we got to spend time with our loved ones, open some presents, and drive back and forth across the state, so I am still mostly content. My creative juices even started firing back up on Christmas morning (thanks, Santa!) and I had to dive out of bed at 6 AM to write down a couple of new story and article ideas before they got away. The break from blogging and writing apparently got my Subconscious Creative Engine running again.

We actually get an extended holiday bonus this year – I get to see my brother later this week, and as a special gift from Lor’s brother and sister-in-law, we get to hang out with our nephew all week. Two best Christmas presents we could receive.

The last week of 2016 will be spent playing online shooters with my nephew, continuing some transition work for Misdirected, and re-righting the dietary ship. Sounds like a full plate. (Ha! See what I did there?) Overall it has been a glorious holiday season, capping a year of immense personal change and development. Not something I have experienced for a long, long time.

I hope everyone else’s holidays were wonderful, and that you didn’t miss Misdirected too much. Keep on eye on us as we make a few announcements here in the very near future!

I Love A Good Cliffhanger,

– Hawkwind

Christmas Week!

River of Lights Display at the ABQ BioPark (Courtesy of AlbuquerqueHomes.com)

 

Happy Holidays, Feliz Navidad, and Merry Christmas week to all my Misdirected friends! (Happy Feast of Winter’s Veil for all my WoW buddies, too.)

The schedule here is going to be weird this week. We’ll be spending the second half of the week up north, which will most likely mean that I will not be posting from Wednesday through Friday. Don’t panic! I will back to my normal posting schedule on Monday the 26th, and have no additional travel plans for the foreseeable future. Also, big changes are coming to the blog on or around January 1, 2017, so you can rest assured that I will be hard at work getting those ready to rock.

I must have been good this year, because I’ve already received two early Christmas presents. First, on Saturday night, I was able to get in and comfortably wear a pair of 38-inch waistline jeans for the first time since, like, ever. Back in 2004, my “ultimate fitness achievement” goal was to be able to do just that. It has only taken me 12 years and bariatric surgery to accomplish it, but I have finally arrived.

On the same note, this week’s weight check-in revealed that I have finally broken the 210-pound mark. As of this week’s weigh-in, I am at 205 pounds – a tantalizing 3 pounds away from a total loss of 100 pounds from my heaviest point, and only 6 pounds from being below 200 for the first time in 20+ years.

I had originally hoped to hit this goal by Christmas Day, and will be coming up a little short. But I think there is a better-than-average chance that I will be entering 2017 at 199 pounds or less.

Best. Christmas. Present. Ever.

Enjoy your event planning and last minute shopping!

 

Almost Half The Man I Used To Be,

 

– Hawkwind