6 Starting Posts For Misdirected

6 Posts to get started exploring Misdirected

I’ve been diligently visiting websites, blogs, and forums recently, answering questions about bariatric surgery. Along the way, a few folks have asked me how to get here, to Misdirected. I happily hand over the address, pleased that someone is interested in reading my meandering thoughts.

But, recently, I have been getting some feedback that is…not so great. “Jeremy – there are over 200 articles on that blog! Which are the important ones? Where do I start?”

A fair question. Accordingly, I have put together a list of the “highlight” articles. This post will point out the ones I think everyone should look at for pre-surgery. On Thursday, we’ll tackle the most significant articles around and post-surgery.

Here, then are my personal choices for Really Interesting Pre-Surgical Blog Posts:

The Times, They Are A Changin’

This was the very first post pertaining to my decision to investigate bariatric surgery. This is a great place to look at my mindset before I knew anything about anything. It would also be the place to start if you were going to try to read the whole blog sequentially. (You poor, mad, soul.)

Not Living, Just Surviving

My first (but not last) experience with explaining bariatric surgery to less-than-supportive family memebrs.

The Emotional Pain of CostCo

This is where the rubber meets the road: what the restrictions of the pre-surgical diet really mean.

The Slippery Slope

My first major dietary failure during the pre-weight loss phase. (They are going to happen.)

Food Porn

My discovery that I suffer from food addiction.

Top 10 Things I Won’t Miss About Being Obese

One of my most popular articles, describing (in graphic detail) the things I wanted to leave behind me when I escaped from obesity.

And, a note: The transition from the old blog format to the new one at the beginning of the year did leave some weird graphics and text problems in its wake. If you should spot one anywhere, please let me know so I can fix it.

Happy reading!

Experiencing Nostalgia,

Jeremy

One For The Win

My 199-pound weigh-in

And, in other news, bariatric surgery works.

Breaking Through

I have finally broken the 200-pound barrier.

I went back to check my calendar, just to be sure. But (for once) my memory is correct. On February 1, 2016, I stepped on the scale here at home and almost had a heart attack thanks to seeing the number “302” staring up at me. That single moment led to my journey through bariatric surgery, and to my lowest weight since my early 20s.

I had to step on and off the scale yesterday a few times, just to be sure I wasn’t dreaming. Or, you know, reading things incorrectly, since I never wear my glasses at 5 AM.

I was so excited that I had to share it with someone. So I actually went into the bedroom to tell Lor. However, it was 5 freaking o’clock in the morning. So I whispered the news to her and let her sleep.

I then picked up Vixen from her sound sleep and hauled her into the living room, and told her about it for half an hour. Sometimes it is good to be the Alpha Dog.

Looking Down the Road

As the day progressed, the shine started to come off a bit. My two “impossible dream” goals have now both been reached. I weigh under 200 pounds, and I am in 38-inch waistline pants. I, quite frankly, had never thought about what might happen next.

Lor, bless her heart, has already been planning for the future. She is only 8 pounds or so away from her “surgical goal weight” – the weight your surgeon thinks you should reach. She now wants to start ramping up the gym work to start toning the musculature that is being revealed by her weight loss. What, she asked, would my new goal be?

I am somehow non-committal about reaching my surgical goal weight – 185 pounds. For one thing, my primary care physician and my neurologist both advised me that it would not happen. Both doctors felt that I could achieve a sub-200 pound weight, but not much beyond that. I think this double-whammy of medical advice early on probably removed the idea of weighing 185 from my personal radar.

But, like Lor, I can now shift to performance goals, rather than weight-based ones. I am still working through the Couch to 5K program, though slowly. Any time I feel “twinges” coming from my repaired knee I stop and go back to the previous week’s workout. This means that I am only in week 3 of the program despite having been on it for 5 weeks. But my original goal for 2017 was to participate in the 5K Run for the Zoo in May.

My newly updated goal is to be able to run it.

These are the types of lifestyle changes that come along with successful bariatric surgery. I traded in milkshakes and french fries and was given the opportunity to develop a physique that could run 3.1 miles.

A year ago, I could barely walk a quarter of a mile.

The Proof is in The Photos

I’ve had lots of requests for before/after pics. The sad truth is, I did not allow myself to be photographed much while I was obese. I think more pictures have been taken of me this past year than in my whole life previously. But my sister-in-law was able to produce a picture of me from May 2015, when I was still flirting with 300 pounds:

May 2015 Photo of Jeremy and Lor
The “Jolly Fat Man” look

Yeah, that’s a 2x shirt and 48-inch waistline pants struggling to hold me in. On the plus side, I did still have hair.

vs. yesterday:

Selfie on January 29 2017
The “Psycho Killer” look

Though I am obviously not a selfie artist, this is a Medium top and 38-inch waistline jeans.

Onward and downward!

103 Pounds Down, And 5K To Go!

Jeremy

Non-Fiction Friday: Not Quite ‘Fiction Friday’

Not Quite Fiction Friday: The reasons that our first Fiction Friday has been delayed

Today was supposed to be our very first ‘Fiction Friday’. I was going to chat about our big upcoming fiction project, and release a contest as well.

Instead, we had a bit of a fender-bender on the Information Superhighway.

Discovery: The Painful Process

I freely admit that I have never published any fiction at all before, so this entire process is new to me. As it turns out, there are dozens of moving parts that all have to work in perfect synchronicity to move a full-blown fiction project from inception to publication. And, from time to time, a little grit can get in the gears.

My serialized novel, “Inheritance”, is currently going through de-gritting. As is the whole Ash Falls shared storyverse.

I have grown very used to blogging. You have a concept, you sit down and write it, you make some revisions, then you press the “Publish” button. Nothing to it.

However, as it turns out, publisher-backed fiction requires a few more things. It requires a project plan. You need a marketing plan. Artwork must be conceptualized and created. You need oodles and oodles of “extra” material that will never make it into your story. And you need a very thick skin, to deal with the ego-crushing edits and revisions that will be visited upon you by your proof-readers and editors.

Building a Shared World

In a shared storyverse, like Ash Falls, you also need some extra tools. In our case, four different authors are writing four different stories all set in the same city. As it turns out, you need an encyclopedia full of facts and figures available to all your authors. Where is your setting? How does it function? Who are the movers and shakers? All these details need to be fleshed out.

Someone has to draw a map of the setting so that we know where things are happening in relation to one another.  We need a history of the world around our characters. Do our characters even know each other? Do they meet? What do they think about one another?

Yeah, there’s some real detail-oriented stuff in here. Which sort of jumped up and bit us right in the schedule.

Delay is not Destruction

So, we will now be pushing our release towards the end of February, instead of the beginning. As an author, I am chomping at the bit, ready to get my masterpiece out into the world. As the creator of Ash Falls, and the lead author out of four, I am internally kind of relieved that we have a little extra time to polish things until they gleam.

This is the split personality disorder of shared storyverse authoring.

However, I can tell you all this: the method we will be using for our Fiction Vortex contest in a couple of weeks will be using email address registration as our entry method.

So, if you are interested in qualifying for the contest, feel free to register your email address now, and avoid the rush. You will not only qualify for the upcoming contest, but you will be informed any time a new article is published here on Misdirected. And what could be better than that?

Well, actually, lots of things could be better than that. But you will also be automatically entered into any other drawings or contests we have down the road as well. So, if you have the slightest interest in qualifying to win stuff, make sure you drop your email in the “Subscribe to Blog via Email” box over on the right side of the page.

If you are already a follower, we’ve got you covered. No need to register again.

Still Waiting For Fiction Friday,

Jeremy

Bariatric Surgery Progress: Looking Over My Shoulder

Photo Credit: Kristina Daniels, 2008

Yesterday, January 25, was the 6-month anniversary of my surgery date. 6 months! Yay!

It was also the date of my 6-month follow-up with the folks at ABQ Health Partners Bariatrics, which was not quite as “Yay”.

In December, Lor had her 6-month check in. She was patted on the back for her weight loss, commended on her dropping H1aC numbers, and released into the wild. “Maintenance mode” after bariatric surgery means the patient can stop logging meals, and start eating whatever they want. You have proven your ability to operate within the restrictions of your new diet without having to be watched like a hawk.

So I went into yesterday’s appointment with a mixture of confidence mixed with some nervousness. What if I had missed something in the last 6 months?

Turns out I did.

Not Precisely A Triumph

My blood panel revealed that I am suffering from a B-vitamin deficiency. Normally this would indicate that I need to add some fresh fruits and vegetables to my diet. Since we already hit the salad bar with every single meal we eat, I am instead going to have to add yet another supplement to my already large daily pile of pills.

I am also suffering from a low red blood cell count. Now, these issues are commonly related – B12 is used in the body to make new red blood cells. But I had been suffering from anemia for years before the whole bariatric surgery process began. I am already on a daily iron supplement. The original thought was that my weight loss was going to clear this problem right up. Guess not.

There was no talk about how great I am doing,  no discussion of releasing me to “maintenance mode.” I was scheduled for my one-year follow up in July and left waiting in vain for the brass band.

My Weight Loss Is Better Than Yours

It is critically important for any of us going through the bariatric surgery process to not compare our journey to anyone else’s. Invariably, we only compare ourselves to those that we think are doing “better”, and wonder why we aren’t achieving what they are.

For me, though, it is tough to not compare myself to Lor. We live under the same roof, for goodness’ sake. She is motivated daily. While I am writing or gaming, she spends hours every day counseling and advising other bariatric patients online.  She believes that half an hour of cardio a day is not quite enough and would like to do more.

Whereas I am still having trouble even getting to the gym some days. I still crave bad things – not because I am hungry, just because. I do not keep a hawk’s eye on my health 24/7. Our capacities for food are even different – she is full after 3-4 ounces, I can now manage 6.

And, as a result, she has been released to maintenance 6 months after her surgery. And I get to wait another 6 months.

The Height of our Expectations

Many of you are wondering how in the heck I am disappointed.  Silly, right? I have lost 102 pounds already! Why not celebrate that instead of worrying about a couple of minor health hiccups?

The truth is, I inflated my own expectations. I have been waiting for this blog post for weeks now. My intention was to talk about what a struggle the last six months have been, but how I persevered and overcame. Maybe show off some before and after pics.

Kind of an “I love me” kind of thing, right?

Instead, I find that, in comparison (which I should not be making), I haven’t done as well as others I know. There are still issues to overcome. I am still not there yet.

And, this is really a valuable lesson. Because, the truth is, I will never “get there”. Every day that I do not push forward represents a day that I fall behind. It is as simple as that.

The triumphant photos will have to wait for another post. Instead, I will work on no longer looking behind me and instead concern myself with what I can do today.

Disappointed But Resolute,

Jeremy

 

Chained to the Bed

Sleep Paralysis and Sleep Apnea

I am suddenly awake in the pre-dawn hours. The heater is rumbling in the hallway and I can feel Lor and Vixen lying on the bed next to me. I decide to roll over and check the time, to see if I should get up.

But I can’t roll over.

As I struggle to move, to open my eyes, to twitch a finger, I can hear my breathing accelerating, and my heart rate is suddenly an increasing drumbeat in my ears. Through the sudden cacophony of the sounds of my panicking organs, unable to move a muscle, only one thought keeps racing through my head:

Oh no, not again.

A Waking Nightmare

Sound like a thriller or horror fiction? It isn’t. It is actually my personal experience less than an hour ago. The common term for it is Sleep Paralysis, and it apparently affects quite a few of us. But it isn’t anything I have ever heard anyone else talk about. It also affects those suffering from obesity (and epilepsy, lucky me) at a much higher rate than the rest of the world.

Sleep Paralysis, also known as hypnopompic sleep paralysis, occurs when you are transitioning out of REM sleep. During REM sleep (while dreaming) your body shuts down your musculature, so you don’t injure yourself while acting out your more active dreams. If the transition is somehow interrupted (for example, by a seizure) you may suddenly be awake, but without control of your musculature.

It is also one of the single most terrifying things a person can go through. Suddenly, you are the main character in Metallica’s “One” – completely trapped inside a body that doesn’t respond to your slightest command.

There is also another sub-group who suffer from sleep paralysis more than the average: those suffering from sleep apnea.

The Link To Obesity

Sleep Apnea occurs when your breathing is interrupted while sleeping. In more severe cases (like mine before bariatric surgery) this can occur dozens of times in an hour, every hour you are asleep. The result is that your brain is suffering from oxygen deprivation the entire time you are “asleep”.

One of the main factors causing sleep apnea is obesity: the extra fatty material in the neck around the airway closes it off. This is referred to as Obstructive Sleep Apnea, and the heavier you get, the more likely it is that you will begin suffering from it.

Now, here’s where things get weird. Let’s say you already suffer from sleep paralysis. Now, you also develop sleep apnea, thanks to your weight. Your sleep is being interrupted every night by your inability to breathe.

How many of those interruptions might take place during REM sleep, do you think? Your chances of a sleep paralysis-inducing interruption skyrocket. The combination of Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Sleep Paralysis deliver a devastating 1-2 punch that makes a person not want to sleep ever again.

Silence is Consent

I actually hopped on my blog this morning intending to write a short explanation as to why I wouldn’t be blogging today. An hour ago I was still panicked, turning lights on throughout the house so I wouldn’t be in the dark. I didn’t think I had anything coherent to say.

But, it turns out I was incorrect. It could be as many as 4 out of 10 people suffer from sleep paralysis. And I have yet to hear a single person talk about it. It is embarrassing as hell, akin to wetting the bed. But it doesn’t signify that there is something wrong with you alone. There is something happening to your physiology, or your sleep patterns, that is causing this to occur.

The solution? Start with a sleep study. After my original sleep study, I was diagnosed with OSA. I was given a machine called a C-PAP, which provides positive pressure down the airway, keeping it open while you sleep.

Since then, I have also lost 100+ pounds, further reducing my apnea. In fact, last night’s sleep paralysis is the first I have suffered from in over a year.

The Path Forward

Luckily for me, I already have an appointment for a sleep study follow-up on the books for next month. I had originally thought I would be getting released from my Darth Vader mask. Now, I am no longer sure that is such a great idea.

If you are suffering from these symptoms – talk to someone. You are not crazy. This is not a sign of impending mental collapse. Get yourself to a doctor and start looking into treatment. Don’t wait until your next mind-shattering episode.

Lack of sleep ties into a host of other physical and emotional problems. Do not be chained to poor health for a moment longer than you have to be.

Just remember, you are not alone.

Me Too,

Jeremy