The 6-Month Report Card

A few pieces of information from Lor’s 6-month review yesterday:

 

  • She is still losing weight consistently, just about 1 pound a week on average. Her LPN was very encouraging, telling her that her goal weight of 150 pounds was “totally realistic”, and that she expected Lor would have achieved it by her next visit – her one-year follow-up.
  • Triglycerides, cholesterol, and H1ac levels are all still coming down. While Lor is still considered “pre-diabetic”, we have every hope that by next June she will be just another non-diabetic person. What a major win!
  • Given her diet regimen and commitment to exercise, Lor has received “permission” to stop logging her meals! Just following the basic dietary guidelines is apparently enough now.
  • We were not even passed along for our usual meeting with our Nutritional Sensei, Patti. Apparently, Lor is no longer needing regular nutritional counseling.

What a change 6 months (and a bariatric surgical procedure) can make! Lor has been overwhelmingly successful, and it is an awesome example to all of the rest of us bariatric patients who have followed her. Since I get to see her every day, I sometimes forget just how dramatic the changes have been. But, to remind everyone, here is what the “before” pic looked like, back in April:

 

And here is “after”, from last week:

 

A little different, no?

I can hardly wait to see what changes another 6 months brings! We’ve discussed everything from the Run For The Zoo to maybe trying to tackle La Luz Trail later in the summer. All I know is, it feels good to be able to talk about these things realistically, not wistfully and wishfully (is that even a word?) 6 months down, and a whole lifetime to go!

Hoping My 6-Month Review Goes Half As Well,

– Hawkwind

Trail Breaking

 

Later on this morning, we will head over to visit the folks at ABQ Health Partners Bariatrics for Lor’s 6-month post surgery follow-up.

6 months.

Wow.

It does not feel like 6 months ago that we sat nervously in the waiting room, watching the clock as the minutes ticked down to 7:30 AM. The folks from ABQ Bariatrics are nothing if not efficient. By 7:30 we were already in pre-op, getting consultations from an endless series of medical professionals, including Dr. Sanchez. A few minutes later, she was gone, rolled off into surgery to start her new life.

It all happened so fast.

Today her nightly insulin injections are a thing of the past. She is down 91 pounds and still dropping. Where she used to worry about how inactive we were, she is now concerned that 30 minutes of cardio a day is not enough. She has changed the clothes she wears, changed her hairstyle, changed her life.

I could not be prouder of her.

Though we say we went through this together, in truth Lor was 6 weeks ahead of me the whole way. She was our trailblazer, the pioneer who discovered what was waiting on the far side of each hill and mountain. She was the one who learned the hard way about hydration and nutrition post-surgery. She was the person who tried so hard to get active again after surgery that she injured herself and had to return to bed for several days. She was the one who explained to me about how it felt having doubts about the results of the procedure after it was all said and done.

It has been commented on, by Lor and others, that my surgical experience seemed like smooth sailing compared to Lor’s. Well, of course it was. I got to watch first-hand everything to expect in a few weeks. The dark corners that she had to peer into were fully lit and empty by the time I showed up. Every trail had been blazed, every trap in the path ahead had already been sprung and safely pushed aside. If I was successful, it is because Lor showed me how to succeed.

In truth, we don’t expect a whole lot of earth-shattering news from today’s visit. Maybe some new info on her A1C levels, maybe some additional tweaks to her diet. But, for the most part, the heavy lifting has already been done.

Thanks for breaking trail, babe. It takes courage to go first.

Though I Do Wish The Appointment Wasn’t So Early,

– Hawkwind

Ask, And You Shall Receive

Yesterday, I put out a request on my Facebook page, looking for additional writing opportunities due to a downturn in our family finances.

Today, I just finished setting up my profile with Lifehack: a “productivity and lifestyle” website. In a single day, they reviewed my portfolio and invited me to start contributing. The job requires writing multiple articles every week. These articles will appear under my own byline and pay a heck of a lot more than the content mills.

The opportunity to do more lifestyle and health writing is exciting. The articles I wrote for WellnessNova earlier this year really challenged me as a writer. Surprisingly, my research actually led me into making some changes of my own around our household. The idea that I can discover some additional life improvements simply by performing research feels like a win/win for me.

The Misdirected blog has taken the lion’s share of my attention for several months now, but I’ve still been working on other projects. My Fiction Vortex project is moving along smoothly. We are still on target for the release of the “Welcome To Ash Falls” series of serialized novels in February. The three authors that I have selected are all excellent writers, and I am enjoying their work and their development of the world I created in Ash Falls. My own piece, “Inheritance”, has reached the 50% completion mark. I am just about ready to take the brakes off and plummet downhill to final copy. A couple of other potential fiction projects are bubbling in the back of my mind, motivating me to wrap this one up.

Putting your request out there into the Universe can have unexpected dividends. Stay tuned here for more news about my upcoming work with Lifehack!

– Jeremy

Real Life Takes Over Misdirected!

Have you ever had that sensation of wanting to undertake a new project or life change, but being unwilling to make that final step? You look at it, you read up on it, you analyze it, but you can’t quite bring yourself to make that life-altering decision. It is like looking through the store window at the object you desire but never walking through the door. Or standing at the edge of a diving board looking down but not quite being able to muster the courage to make the jump.

Until, of course, life comes up behind you and gives you a shove.

I’ve been slowly developing my contract writing business since last year, but have never quite made the jump over to pursuing it full-time. There are so many things to worry about. Sure, this blog is popular, but trying to actually re-enter the workforce as a contract writer is scary stuff. What if I can’t find enough clients? What if things start off well but then peter out? What if I suddenly lose my drive to write? (It happens, it is referred to as “Writer’s Block”.) What if, what if, what if…The voices ring through my head like an out of tune orchestra. So, instead, I remain safe by keeping up with Misdirected and creating a few ghost-writing posts a week for content mills like TextBroker. No way to make a living at it, but no fear of rejection or major impact to our lives should I suddenly stop.

But yesterday, life threw us a curve ball. One of our sources of secondary income just dried up, with no easy way to replace it. There is no real way to slash our expenses, either – we are already budgeted down to the last penny of my SSDI income, and as it is we receive some help from family members every single month. I briefly considered getting a part-time job, but I can vividly remember my last experiences with the regular work force – everything is fine until I start having seizures at work. Then, suddenly, things are not so great, and I am shortly looking for another minimum-wage job. It is a depressing and humiliating cycle.

No cure for Epilepsy yet: there is a reason I am on SSDI.

So, having been pushed off the diving board, I am either going to have to get myself into position for a dive or else go splat when I hit the water. This writing thing is going to have to turn into a regular revenue stream, like, now.

Accordingly, I turn to my “network” – the loyal readers of Misdirected. If any of you know anyone who is looking for contract writing, please let me know! I’ve written blog posts, magazine articles, product reviews…pretty much any kind of writing you can do on the Internet, I have done. Just some contact information for the person (or people) I should talk to would be great – I am happy to sell myself, but just need to know who I am selling myself to.

(Reading that last sentence creates so many opportunities for misunderstanding, but I think I will let it stand. Mock if you will.)

Thanks again to my loyal readers, and we’ll be back to talking about bariatric surgery and all that pertains thereunto on Thursday!

“Thereunto” Just Means I Am Practicing Writer-ish Words,

– Hawkwind

Loralia Takes A Hike (Version 2.0)

It has been growing colder and colder, and the lowering temperatures have accompanied lower activity levels. Despite our new memberships at Planet Fitness, we have been finding it harder and harder to stay as active as we need to. We have teetered upon the edge, ever so close to throwing ourselves into the abyss of couch-dwelling until the Spring thaw arrives.

Last Friday, Lor decided to fight back. Rather than head to the gym for an hour or two on the elliptical, she decided it was time to head out into the wilderness again. I took a look at the temperature (42 degrees), then took a look at the determined expression on Lor’s face. I wisely chose to keep my own counsel, and just wore a couple of extra layers of clothing.

As you may remember, my pre-surgery “before” picture was taken on an expedition like this one, back in April. Lor had intended for us to get out into the Sandia Mountains regularly after that hike, but, somehow, the idea never really took hold, and we have been back only once or twice since then. Wearing multiple layers of clothing (even Vixen got a sweater) we drove up to the trailhead and prepared to head into the mountains.

10 minutes later, Lor and I had removed our jackets and taken off Vixen’s sweater. Walking uphill over New Mexico sand is a wonderful generator of thermal energy, it turns out. About half a mile up the service road, we came across the trailhead Lor wanted to try today, the Embudo Trail.

We continued forward into the mountains, being dragged hither and thither by our excited dog until she ran into a cactus. After emergency surgery to remove a couple of spines from her foot, she was much more inclined to stay on the trail. At a mile in, I could not help but remember our safari last Spring, where I lasted a whole 4 tenths of a mile before we had to turn back. This was a whole different experience – I was able to talk, was not staring miserably at my feet as I huffed and puffed, and best of all I was able to keep up with Lor and Vixen without straining. Then, after turning into a narrow valley, we were abruptly stopped:

Yes, that is a wall across the trail. I discretely checked my phone. We had come just over a mile to get here. Getting back down to the car would result in a round trip of 2 miles. This was a good day’s work for us by any measure. I comfortably waited for Lor to announce that we would head back down.

I had forgotten who I am married to. Without hesitation, Lor announced we were going over the wall.

The next 45 minutes involved us heading further and further up into the Sandias, scrabbling over rockfalls and peering into caves. It became a team-building exercise of sorts, because Vixen was too short to climb many of these obstacles. One of us would climb halfway up, then the lower person would hand the dog up, and climb to the next position, repeating the process.

Halfway through one of these dog transfers, I found myself being grateful that I did not own a Labrador or a Newfoundland.

At last, we finished the vertical section and returned to a relatively “normal” trail running through a canyon between two towering hills. The sun was completely obscured by the tall hill to our South, and despite our exertions I was beginning to grow cold again. We began to find clusters of snow on the ground. Then we broke out into the open and saw this:

…and I just knew that Lor was going to make me climb all the way to the top of the peak ahead of us.

However, sanity prevailed. It is December, after all, and we were already an hour up into the mountains. It was time to turn back and head down to the car before the sun dropped any lower in the sky.

And turning back around, we were given an incredible vista for our efforts:

The peak in the distance is Mount Taylor, over 100 miles away.

I dutifully recorded it, and we headed back down to the relative warmth of the car.

We managed 3.2 miles in just over 2 hours. Given my performance back in April (one mile in 52 minutes), I have to admit it feels pretty good – a real Non-Scale Victory, if you will. We honestly could have kept going, if not for the fear of being trapped in mountains overnight and freezing to death.

Oh, and the trail we followed? Turns out if we had kept going we would have run into another trail that heads North and South through the mountains, which would have eventually dumped us out near I-40, about 6 miles from our car.

So, all things being equal, I am just as happy we made it a round trip. But I can already hear the gears churning in Lor’s mind…

I Better Start Training For Spring,

– Hawkwind