Ode to Lean Cuisines

How I love you, little frozen meals.

New flavors every day.

No cooking.

Less than 300 calories.

Mi amor.

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O, Holy Day

September 21st. 09/21/07. De septiembre el 24 de 2007*.

The day I have a pre-op consultation with Dr. Jawad. Step 8,974,604 toward better health.

*Translation courtesy of Babel Fish. I forgot high school Spanish long ago. Sobre todo.

Vitals.

I met with my PCP this morning, and she gave me the results of my most recent bloodwork.

Four months ago:

  • Weight = 364
  • ¬†Fasting blood glucose = 136
  • Blood pressure = 138/90
  • No thyroid¬† issues

Now:

  • Weight = 334
  • Fasting blood glucose = 81
  • Blood pressure = 110/80
  • Still no thyroid issues

Let’s just hope insurance doesn’t say “You’re already cured! No Roux-en-Y for you!”

I’ll just say “Look, fools, my bmi is still 57.3 so shove it.”

Book Review

Don’t read The Patient’s Guide to Weight Loss Surgery: Everything You Need to Know About Gastric Bypass & Bariatric Surgery unless you’re feeling brave. Very brave. April Hochstrasser doesn’t hold anything back and, if you weren’t scared about surgery before reading, you will be once you’re done.

That said, I loved this book. I feel like it’s the first book that attempts to educate me in a realistic way (whether I like the information or not) rather than trying to “market” a WLS text to me. I particularly enjoyed the first section on obesity in general: its (unknown) causes, the complications, the reality of dieting, etc.

Certain sentences stick out as somewhat far-fetched and irrelevant to readers, such as the statement that, “Within a few years there may be a gene therapy or a drug that will make [WLS] procedures obsolete” (Hochstrasser). Well, that’s nice, but it has nothing to do with me right now.

The section on risks of weight loss surgery has me shaking in my boots. Now, some risks are familiar to us all (hair loss, vitamin & mineral deficiencies, blood clots) but now I have entirely new things to worry about, such as:

  • an overwhelming, sudden, death-causing reaction to anesthesia
  • anesthesia overdose
  • deep abdominal infections
  • leaking stomach acid, bacteria, and digestive enzymes into my abdominal cavity
  • bowel obstruction (um, ow!)
  • limb loss (??)
  • hepatitis and AIDS from blood transfusions (omigod, SERIOUSLY?!)

As you can see, this is no light-hearted look at the “transforming wonderment” of weight loss surgery. It’s serious, it’s heavy, it’s scary, and it’s totally necessary.

Two scared, trembling thumbs up.

b.jpg ISBN: 1-57826-165-1

Book Review: Weight Loss Surgery–Is It Right For You?

After the last book earned a resounding no thumbs up, this one was a nice reprieve from the monotony of most WLS texts. Like many weight loss surgery books, Weight Loss Surgery–Is It Right For You? covers all the basics: choosing a surgery, choosing a surgeon, understanding the procedures, etc. But what strikes me as different about this book is that it’s written to a somewhat-educated, well-informed audience. Things aren’t explained as if you’re completely unfamiliar with common medical terms, nor are sentences arranged in short, brainless, pseudo-insulting simplicity. This book seems much smarter than other Weight Loss Surgery texts I’ve read. Not only that, but topics are discussed in much greater detail, which satisfies my curiosity of mind.

At this point in my own WLS process, I found chapter 7 on “The Days Before and The Day of Surgery” to be the most informative and interesting. The checklist of things to complete before surgery is helpful, listing the usual things like stocking the refridgerator with post-op appropriate foods, cleaning the house, arranging for post-op care, etc. The list also, however, includes useful things I wouldn’t necessarily think of like:

  • Verify sick leave approval from work
  • Make arrangements for blood donations
  • Purchase a pill crusher
  • Purchase antibacterial soap for showering

And the like. One question posed continuously on WLS message boards is a request for a list of banned post-op medications. This book includes a comprehensive list of inappropriate medications and a short list of drugs that can be taken safely in moderation. Every WLS patient should have access to a list like this one. Purchasing Weight Loss Surgery–Is It Right For You? may serve as an excellent reference material in that regard.

The closing chapters of the text focus on emotional preparation and recovery after WLS. A section is dedicated to marital strain and the specific pressures placed on marriage after weight loss surgery. Most useful, however, is a chapter written to family members and friends of WLS patients which explains the changes we WLS patients will undergo and how to best support us during out recovery. I plan to synthesize this chapter and share it with family and friends who may ask how they can support me during my recovery.

Overall, Weight Loss Surgery–Is It Right For You? is the most comprehensive, smart, and informative WLS text I’ve read so far. I plan to purchase a copy to keep on hand for reference later on.

Two enthusiastic thumbs up.

weightloss_cv.gifISBN: 0-7570-0145-9

Book Review: Gastric Bypass Surgery, by McGowan and Chopra

Gastric Bypass Surgery follows a question-and-answer format divided into seven main catagories: determining candidacy for WLS, a breakdown of different procedures and how they work, an overview of the risks, preparing for surgery, postoperative concerns, nutrition, and exercise. The book’s cover boasts that 150 questions are answered within in its pages, but I certainly don’t feel 150-answers-wiser.

The chapters on candidacy through preparing for surgery were all old-hat to me. The information in these chapters would be suitable for someone just beginning to research weight loss surgery, though the same information could be found via internet research.

For me, the book became somewhat interesting around the “postoperative concerns” chapter, which includes a pretty useful discussion of plastic surgery and likely means of achieving insurance coverage though, again, the same information is available online.

The nutrition chapter goes over a generic food plan, covering the clear liquids, liquids, soft foods, and normal eating stages of the post-surgery diet. Some suggested meals are included, which I find to be helpful. If I get to the post-op stage and need some variety, it may be helpful for me to revisit this chapter.

The exercise chapter is generic at best, recommending walking and regular, consistent exercise for optimum weight loss. But we already knew that.

After the seven Q & A sections, the book moves into a set of appendices that, in my opinion, are the most useful parts of the book. One appendix includes a sample physician’s letter of medical necessity, the next includes a letter of appeal, followed by a very short list of websites and a glossary. Again, all of this information is available for free online, but I think the sample letters are useful nonetheless.

Overall, no thumbs up.

9780071431927.jpgISBN: 0-07-143192-6

Book reviews on the way

I recently received a bagload of books-by-mail from my county library system. They didn’t have every Weight Loss Surgery-related text I’d like to read, but they have a few. I’m reading them fairly quickly because my life will get very, very hectic beginning next Monday (Two PhD-level classes, plus I’m teaching an undergrad class on Tuesday nights, all on top of working the regular full-time job and managing a household).

So anyway, I’ll be breezing through 6 or 7 books this week and I’ll post reviews as I finish each one. My primary purpose in reviewing the books is to save information about what was helpful so that, if I need to revisit the books in the future, I’ll know where to look.