I had my one year follow-up with The Gorn. To do so I had to drive to AR, across state lines and take the day off from work. That part was worth it, but I got lost on the way back and found myself way off course. I ended up in Texarkana in yet another state, made my way back towards AR and got lost once I entered OK again, finally making it home at 9pm instead of 6pm as planned. In the rain too, for good measure. I decided I’m giving myself a GPS for Christmas, even though I rarely drive out of town it will be worth it. I saw more of rural AR and OK than I cared to see and there was very little difference, so little that I didn’t know when one state ended and the other began. The lack of internet service and phone towers irritated me as well, google doesn’t work under these conditions.
My appointment was positive but cringe-worthy too. I found the offices easily enough and was greeted when I signed in. Sherry, the nurse who had her surgery a few weeks after mine, was there and gave me a hug. She looks great, she’s down to a size 8 or 10 and looks tiny. She told me she and her boyfriend got married in August and how they are settling in AR while she took my blood pressure and weighed me. Which was cringe-worthy, I learned I gained 10 pounds over the summer. I knew this, my jeans weren’t as loose as before and I had been eating a lot more since my son was home and that’s his primary form of recreation. I’ve also gone through a lot of emotional upheaval and some chocolate as well and that didn’t help. Neither did stopping my jogging/walking routines, my excuse was it was too hot. Yoga has been good for me but I don’t practice enough to make it a real workout and my butt feels loose and I don’t like that. So I knew I had gained but did not expect it to be quite that much. After I confessed all this to Sherry she told me it was OK. She had gained a little as well but it came back off, once she started eating less and exercising more, the formula for weight-loss.
I saw The Gorn and he even hugged me too. He looked over my charts from the last time and asked what I’ve been doing, eating and if I still had the hair loss problem. The extra 10 pounds was not a grave concern but he said patients can start to gain, mostly by drinking high calorie liquids (like most of the Sonic menu) and drinking while eating. A small gain is not a big deal but more of a warning that I need to examine my diet, routine and increase my exercise. As for the hair loss I mentioned I was taking biotin supplements from the health food store and asked if it helped. It won’t hurt you, he told me, but it really doesn’t do anything. Three things are necessary for hair regrowth in bariatric patients: iron, protein and zinc. If I was lacking in any of these three and increased the amounts my hair should come back nice and thick. My blood pressure was normal and from all outward appearances I looked healthy enough but The Gorn gave me a written order for fasting labs and a bone density test. He said to have the results sent to his office, the labs can do this and once my results were in we’d know just how well I was doing and what if anything needed to be addressed. I’ll try to do this next week, depending on work.
The emotional aspect was mentioned as well. I told Sherry that i was divorced when she asked about Jerry. She was stunned, especially when I told her it would have been 25 yrs this November. Oddly enough I don’t feel traumatized or depressed about it, I’m mostly getting used to be alone. The only remorse I feel is about Bear and how this has affected him, I feel a little badly about Jerry but to be honest leaving was a relief, I am enjoying my freedom to do things I would not do otherwise, things I couldn’t do. Like going to see Depeche Mode in Dallas last month, like going to yoga 2-3 times a week if I feel like it, like leaving dirty dishes in the sink overnight and like getting my little dog Olive. I’ve also learned who I can count on and who my real friends are and the sobering truth is there are very few people in those two groups. Some people I thought I could count on, that I trusted and depended on walked away from me. Those I expected to be disappointed and judgmental did not disappoint me, they were. Bear has been quiet about this, he has never asked me why because after living with his dad for a few weeks he probably had a good idea about some of the reasons I left.
But I also made a list of what has changed in one year and how I am in many ways a different person. Not every bypass patient will have the same list, but most will have a list of things that they never imagined and I hope that list would contain mostly positive items. Mine does.
- Had gastric bypass
- Bought a new car
- My nephew was born, the most splendid and wonderful baby in the world.
- Ran/walked/stumbled a half marathon.
- Did 2 5Ks
- Separated and got divorced
- Moved into apartment by myself, I mean that literally, I packed, loaded and transported the things I brought by myself, in a Toyota. I made three trips and found I could leave a lot of things behind because they can be replaced or that i don’t need them after all.
- Dyed my hair red
- Traveled alone for the first time and by train. Saw Depeche Mode in concert, something I’ve wanted to do since before I got married.
- Adopted a sweet and clever dog who loves Cheez-its and bacon
- Found a new, additional job. Still have the retail gig on the weekend but I have a desk and paperclips at my new regular day job.
- Gave up cable and most TV, making me something of a pariah
The sweet and clever dog who lives with me, or I with her.