Monday, July 13, 2015

Survivors Guide to the Gastric Sleeve

It has been a full year, and I was told by the nurse at the surgeons office that I could be considered a "Success" at this point. I went from a 54 to a 36 BMI, and lost about half of my body weight in just over a year.

I'll be honest, I haven't exactly been the poster child for EXACTLY how you should behave post op for the best results. However, I feel I probably represent the majority because nobody is perfect. I doubt that anyone follows the Dr. instructions perfectly.

I do have a few things to tell you if you are planning on having the surgery, or you are a recent recipient.

So here are some Do's and Don'ts before and after surgery.

DON'T google things like "How much weight will I lose after surgery."
Everyone is different some people have overwhelming success, while others will tell you they had no luck. If you read all success stories, about people losing 200-300lbs, you will get discouraged very quickly. All you need to know is that if you want it to work, it will work. You will have the results you choose to have. You might have to work harder than others to get it. Remember this surgery is just a tool!

DON'T google anything about what to expect at the hospital in terms of pain, drain tubes, or surgery.
Every Doctor is different. Every hospital is different. I googled EVERYTHING before my surgery, and I thought I knew what to expect. Some doctors use drains, some don't. Some use catheters, some don't. If you have questions, call your surgeon. You will see posts about pain everywhere from painless to the most excruciating pain ever endured. People are different. You simply don't know how you will react. However, if you go in expecting the worst, your brain will mess you up.

DO stop drinking carbonation RIGHT NOW. DON'T WAIT! Also, stop that smoking! 
I double dog dare you to try to fool your doctor on this. Most surgeons that perform this surgery will say NO SODAS and NO SMOKING! Some doctors will even surprise you with a saliva swab before surgery. If they detect that you have been smoking, they can cancel your surgery on the spot. That means, you did all that work for nothing. What's worse, you've lost the trust of your surgeon. Your whole life is about to change. You can sacrifice.

DO follow your pre-op diet plan! NO CHEATING!
To answer your question....YES. The pre-op diet BLOWS. It's miserable. Your brain will try to trick you by thinking things like "This could be my last chance to eat this huge meal" or "Just one night out won't hurt". Any other number of hurtful things. Again, you can't fool your doctor. These diets are for a very specific reason. It's a crash diet to help give the surgeon a bit more room in your abdomen during surgery. They also help with that fatty liver that you most definitely have. It essentially shrinks your liver so that the doc doesn't cut part of it out on accident. OK, that may have been a slight exaggeration. However, the belly and liver are snuggled up next to each other in there. The smaller the liver, the easier it is to work on the belly.

Here is where I am going to say something that my Drs and Nurses will likely strangle me if they saw it.  It's called "The Last Supper". DON'T do it the night before surgery. If you do, you are a dumbass, it's true. A couple of days before the surgery AFTER YOU HAVE BEEN CLEARED. Enjoy a nice responsible meal out with family. Take your time, and enjoy the food. Mentally prepare yourself for the fact, that this is the last time you will be able to throw back appetizers, dinner, and dessert. I think everyone deserves this. In my case, my Dad's birthday was the day before my surgery, and we went out for dinner that weekend.

So, now you have had the surgery. What should you expect? What should you do? 

Well, this is where I will say "Results may Vary".

However, there are some things that aren't talked about much in the Weight Loss Surgery Community when it comes to certain things unless you specifically research them.

DO Expect a flare up if you suffer from gout. 
Rapid weight loss and Fasting can trigger a gout attack because of the ketones released in the body, and Ketones compete with Uric Acid for excretion. You can no longer take those anti-inflammatory drugs that you have learned to depend on. You are stuck with Colchicine for inflammation. If you are on something like allopurinol currently, you will likely be OK, However, if not, the ONLY hope you have is pain medication, colchicine and rest. They will NOT give you steroids after the surgery as it will slow the healing process of your new sleeve. If you have gout Let your surgeon know beforehand.

DO Prepare for 2-6 weeks of blandness, and learn to embrace it.
The next month or so of your life will be BORING. We are talking Jello and broth and water. If you like to eat, this will likely be the worst stage in your journey. The good news is that you won't really be hungry.

DO Sip water.
We aren't talking like you have the flu, and you are dabbling with liquids. We are talking having a cup in your hand all day and sipping on it. I didn't do this, and I regretted it. You should literally be taking a sip of water every 10-20 minutes.

DO Follow the diet plan.
Once you get out of the liquid stage, and move into the soft foods stage, you will notice that you have an appetite again. You will want to move away from soft foods quickly. You will try to justify eating something softish like tuna fish, etc. DONT. Stick to the plan. I decided to eat some tuna....It hurt so damn bad. Follow the plan exactly as they give it to you.

DON'T step on a scale.
So you got your surgery, and you can't wait to see results. Stay off the scale. Seriously. Your body weight does very strange things after the surgery. Water retention, and a bunch of other medical stuff. If you are a Scale Stalker you will get discouraged and depressed. Just don't do it! If you want to see progress, feel free to take measurements.

You will have stalls. You will have times when you think that you just aren't losing weight like you should. You will also begin to get hungry, and you will try to eat to much, and you will vomit. These are things you can expect. It will take you a while before you get use to that new pouch that use to be your stomach.

Don't snack too much, and avoid sweet tea and other sweetened non-carbonated drinks. Most of the time, when you are hungry, you are really just thirsty.

The 20 minute rule is my holy grail.
Are you feeling hungry or snacky? Drink 8-16 oz of water and wait 20 minutes. If you are still hungry, have a healthy snack. However 9 times out of 10, you will find that after that water you aren't hungry any more.

So, one year later, I am healthy and had great results. This is in spite of a terrible accident that put me on my ass for 3 months. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Stay away from google, and just listen to and talk to your doctor.

Monday, June 29, 2015

RJ Goes to Washington...

This past week, work afforded me a unique opportunity to fly to Seattle, Washington to do a user group presentation on our newest software version release.

Me being a former 400 lbs, you can understand if I say I have never flown. I would just rather avoid the anxiety of being fat on a plane. 

Let me teach you a few incredibly valuable lessons that I have learned from my travels. I flew Southwest because a coworker mentioned that they don't have assigned seats. So you just kinda file into the plane and sit wherever. As a first time flyer, this was quite intriguing to me because I knew I would want a window seat. 

In lieu of assigned seats, you can "check in" 24 hours before your flight. This will net you a boarding number based on how quickly you check in. Southwest boards in groups of like 30... SO. You can be in one of several groups. (A1-30, A31-60, B1-30, etc)

So, I had GREAT boarding numbers for the first flights. (we flew from MEM-HOU, HOU-SEA) I was in the first group of passengers. I sat in a window seat with my coworker in the center. He mentioned that he typically liked window seats, and would like one on the next flight because it was a 4 hour flight. I was like, "no biggie, we don't have to ride together." 

This is where is a valuable lesson comes into play. As we filed onto the plan in Houston, there was no shortage of empty rows of seats. I quickly got a nice window seat directly behind the wing. Now, your first instinct when confronted by this number of strangers, is to be polite and sit in an empty row if you can, instead rubbing your ass/crotch in someones face to get a window seat. MISTAKE. 

If you are filing on, you have a unique advantage of choosing who you sit next to...oh look, an attractive lady, or a clean looking businessman. I don't want to bug them...NOPE. BUG THEM. You are in control at this point. The MOMENT you plant your ass in that empty row, you are at the mercy of the flight gods. 

I realized this at the exact moment that a father and son sat next to me. I put my earbuds in and turned on my binaural beats looking forward to a nap. As I was getting comfortable and enjoying the music, suddenly...ONIONS,

Not the smell where you perk your head up and have to ask someone else "Do you smell onions??" More like, ok, "WHO THE HELL JUST SMACKED ME IN THE FACE WITH AN ONION" type of smell.

I sat up and looked to my right, and the father/son onion duo were chomping down on their subway sandwiches. "Can I get a roast beef with toppings that are bound to offend everyone on the plane please." 

I legitimately stared at him eating like a starving dog for 3 minutes. Long enough until I was confident that I was making him feel uncomfortable. I'll be DAMNED if I'm letting him enjoy this sandwich in a confined space. 

Something else. REAL PLANES....aren't big. It's like a bus with wings. So, unless you are a complete douche, it doesn't feel right to lean back in your chairs. Maybe if I had a dwarf behind me...but alas. It was a large black man that I had no intention of offending on a 4 hour flight. I laid back and drifted off to an onion filled dreamland for about an hour. Suddenly my teenage neighbor realized that he needed more elbow room on the arm rest for playing his Nintendo DS. I was awoken when I almost face planted on my table tray as he "accidentally" removed my elbow from the arm rest. The flight was long, but it quickly became beautiful as we passed over the Rockies. Here are a few of the pictures I snagged.

As I said, the site was pretty breathtaking. It's hard to realize just how high up you are until you see mountains look that small. These pictures alone, almost made the onions worth it. 

Once we landed in Seattle, we were handed the keys to are shiny new Canadian Rental. Complete with KmPH and Celsius. We took off to the hotel in the next town over, and got some great pics of Mt. Ranier.

I'm sure the locals just overlook this thing at this point, but I was trying my best to get some good shots, and probably looked like quite the idiot laying in the dash trying to get pics.

Wednesday rolled around. I was suppose to "check in" to my flight that morning at like 4:30 AM. The numbers they give you are based on how early you check in. I got to the user group meeting and my coworker asked if I remembered to check in. NO. No I did not remember to F-ING check in. I scrambled to my phone and managed to get checked in. Late in the B group, which means like at least 90 people deep into boarding. 

The user group went incredibly well, and I got the chance to meet some of my customers. All great people. I crashed early that night, and had to leave the hotel at 4:30AM the next morning to start boarding. There was a very odd looking man at my gate. Like Samuel L Jackson and Morgan Freeman had a very unfortunate looking child with bug eyes and sinus problem. He had a large afro with white spots throughout it. Not salt/pepper. I mean like actual White Spots. The kind of guy you kinda can't help staring at.

Well, the super onion wonder twins taught me nothing apparently because I found myself instinctively searching for an empty row. Found one towards the back of the plane, and the moment I buckled in, the dread kicked in. I watched helplessly over the seats at the people filing on, knowing that I was at the mercy of the universe. I watched as the attractive women and professionals passed. The last of the boarders started getting on. The people that never checked in...they just showed up for whatever unknown reason. The flight attendant announced that it would be a full flight so please scoot to your left or stand up so people can file in beside you. I look up and a nicely dressed Mexican fellow plopped down next to me in the aisle seat, and I said hello, and made some feeble attempt at airport humor and he stared at me for a solid 10 seconds before I realized that he did not speak English. I smile and look up and suddenly....Samuel Freeman was bumbling down the aisle. Coughing, snorting, sniffing...eyes shifting back and forth across the plane looking for a seat. (no, no, no) YEP. He stops, and clumsily stows his bags and plops into the middle seat of the row while simultaneously splaying out across all arm rests. I shifted over to my left and stared out the window. I put my earbuds in, but no amount of binaural beats could drown out the coughing, sniffing, and within minutes, snoring. I flipped my music player over to electro rock in hopes of drowning out the sounds he was producing. This was a 4 hour flight. He slept, and snored throughout the entire flight to Chicago.

On an upnote,my flight attendant looked astoundingly like Rufus Wainwright.

Once I told him, he looked a little shocked and said "I've never heard of him, but he must be handsome if we look alike." At this moment, my very large Morgan Jackson friend woke up and laughed and mumbled something to me as he pointed in my direction, I still don't know what he said.

For the final leg of the trip home was a short hour and a half. I had learned my lesson from the last two trips, and decided to take a middle seat on a row with my coworker. I sat and watched the plane fill up and an 80 yr old man sat next to me. He was dressed nice, and have expensive jewelry on, and greeted me. I was happy with this one, finally. I once again plugged in my headphones, and went into my own head for a while in an attempt to unwind. The elderly gentleman quickly fell asleep. a few minutes I smelled what can only be described as a dirty sock that had been a dog toy, soaked in sweat, baked in the sun, then reworn by a runner. Now, I didn't have a shower that morning, and it was hot in Chicago. So, naturally, if you remember my old post, I started doing the sniff check on myself. The smell quickly went away and I thought nothing more of it. Suddenly there it was again. WTF is that smell. At this point I took my headphones out because Rufus was on his way over and I wanted a ginger ale. About that time...I heard it. It sounded like a weird grunting meow like someone accidentally sat on a cat. The old man was....flatulent. Thank god for the ginger ale. Otherwise, I might have vomited. I found myself "accidentally" waking him up by shifting thinking that if he was concious, he would stop farting. No matter what I did, he fell back into a gaseous slumber within 3 minutes of being roused. 

So, while the flight was quite nice. It is the equivalent of a flying bus. The novelty quickly wears off.

The trip was a rousing success, and I enjoyed seeing WA. However, I learned a lot from this trip that I am sure will come in handy on future travels.

Honorable mentions:

Airport Immodium is $11 for a tiny box.
TSA is no joke, and I think they enjoy yelling at people that aren't paying attention.
Do not gamble with Thai Food when you have no Gall Bladder
You never get use to the smell of pot on public transit in WA.
WA weather is beautiful.
There is a lot of walking involved when using airports, and my ankle hates me right now.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

You aren't as weird as you think... know that really weird thing that you do? Maybe it's a few things that you find strange. You are sure that you are the only one that does it. You'll never know if it's true or not, because you are WAY too embarrassed to mention it to anyone for fear of looking like a disgusting freak.

Well, let me take one for the team. I'm going to take a gamble and put my reputation on the line and talk about some of the most embarrassing, disgusting, and/or funny things that I do. Hopefully you do them too, and you will laugh about it. Otherwise, I am most likely going regret this entire entry.

Some of these things will be specific to guys, because, well....I'm a guy. I'll try to be as tasteful as possible, but let's be honest. We know I'm not very tactful.

Let's start off light, and kind of obvious.

Adults pick our noses. ALL of us do it. Even the cutesy and proper ladies. We tell our kids to stop picking their noses all the time. Then we all feel that twinge of guilt because we know that we were just doing it 2 minutes ago. We just know how to hide it. We know how to hide it because our parent yelled at us for doing it and we learned to hide it better. So really....when you think about it. We aren't teaching our kids not to pick their noses. We're teaching them to hide it better. Think about it.

I still make faces in the mirror. I'm not just talking about occasionally. Like any time I pass a mirror and I'm not in a hurry. I'll ham it up. Sometimes I even make myself laugh. I like to pucker my lips as hard as I can because they get super super tiny, and I end up looking like a caricature of myself.

I not only talk to myself, I ARGUE with myself. As if there are literally two of me. One is usually telling the other either to not do something, or telling him how stupid he is for doing it. The other actually defends himself for his actions. This seems confusing, but it's literally like having a conversation, argument, and trial at the same time. I'm the prosecutor and the defendant in my own little courtroom in my mind. doesn't matter how much you shake it after you pee. You always end up with that little tiny dot of piss on the front of your underwear. You just pray that it doesn't show through to your pants. It's embarrassing, i know. I'm OK with talking about it though. As a side note, if this doesn't happen to you, I need you to message me and tell me your secret. I have tried everything.

While we're on the subject. You pee in the shower. Don't deny it. It's ok. It's earth friendly. You are saving water by multi-tasking. Just try not to pee on the walls or the shower curtain, because then you are just acting like a neanderthal.

You know what sucks? You just made yourself a nice meal. You sit down on the couch, and you are starving, but you can't eat until you find the perfect thing on TV to watch while eating your meal. I have literally let my food get cold because I couldn't find the show that would perfectly match my culinary decisions.

Sometimes, I'll be reading a book....I can be super into the book, but then I realize that I quit paying attention like 2 pages ago, and have been mindlessly pretending to read while thinking about something completely unrelated to the book. Then I have to go back to the last thing I remember and ACTUALLY read it.

Something else that people do...even though it's gross. You know when you get that itch in a weird place. Maybe your belly button, inside your ear, butt crack, armpit. You aren't the only one that sniffs your hand. Everyone does it. OH NO! NOT ME! (that's what you just thought). Liar. It feels good when you just smell skin or soap. Makes you feel like you are as clean as a saint. We won't talk about the other times.

Speaking of which. Ever notice how when you catch a whiff of something stinky, you immediately sniff yourself. You get that gut wrenching feeling for a split second that you stink. You could literally have JUST stepped out of the shower. It doesn't matter. You will do the sniff check.

Sometimes I will be sitting on the couch, lying in bed, or maybe in the shower, and suddenly I will get this overwhelmingly embarrassed feeling about something stupid I did like 8 years ago. Like, I wonder if someone from that party 8 years ago, is thinking about me breaking my nose trying to do a one handed push-up while I was drunk. The answer is no. They probably forgot it. Your brain won't let you forget it though. EVER.

EVERY SINGLE TIME I send an email, I immediately go to my sent folder and look at it. I don't care if I read it 100 times while drafting it. Like somehow, the ether will swallow my message and jumble it up into a indiscernible mess. If don't check it from the sent folder, I just can't be sure that it doesn't look like it was sent by a psychiatric patient.

Ever call someone only to realize you forgot who you were calling when the phone started to ring? It's not nearly as big of a deal now with cell phones, because you can just look at the dialer. However, there was no worse feeling on the house phone than praying to god you recognize the voice on the other end when they pick up, or else you just have to hang up on them.

Having to re-wipe. Enough said. The Itchy Butt struggle is real. It doesn't always occur, but matter how thorough you are you can't avoid the re-wipe. That awkward walk back to the restroom 20 min later because your butt itches. It's OK. Really. It happens to everyone. I  mean, except me of course. A friend just told me about this.

I have this bad habit of listening to music in the car and imagining I'm on stage performing for a live audience. It's so bad that when I mess up, I apologize to the audience in my head and I just have to restart the song. If I don't get it right, I have to listen to that part of the song 740 times until I get the lyrics right. Then suddenly, I'm at home, and I have no clue how I got there. I literally just drove from work all the way home, and have NO RECOLLECTION of the drive. It's terrifying, but my audience loved me.

Why is it so hard to throw our empty shampoo bottles away? We just put them in the corner of the shower until they pile up into a monument of shampoo bottles of days past. It's like a memorial in my shower. Maybe if we spent less time cupping our arms to our chest to see how much water we can hold in our body bowl, and more time cleaning the shower, it wouldn't be an issue.

I could go on like this for days. When you find yourself being "weird" just remember one thing. There are 7 BILLION people on this planet. These things above are a universal language of sorts. The odds are in your favor that no matter how disgusting or strange it is, someone out there can probably relate to it. A quick google search will help you figure out exactly how normal you are.

It's OK to have those quirks. They make you who you are, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Critics of Corpulence (Fat Shaming) - Killing Stereotypes

I usually like to keep things light around here, but there is something that needs to be said, and I am going to say my part. This will be ranting, so if you don't want to hear it, then I'll see you next time.

So, I'm not saying I'm not longer fat, because I am. I have lost enough weight that I feel that I can confidently blog about something that I always hoped was just my imagination. It's not though, and it's disgusting.

I cannot speak for everyone, but I can speak on what I have personally witnessed.

People are guilty of judging a person based on their weight. Hell, even I was guilty of when I was heavier.

TV has made fat people into the new edgy thing. Spinning off weight loss programs, reality shows with fat people, all because we are the new freaks. People like to gawp and laugh. Either that, or made to pity us and feel sorry for us. That's not what we need.

When I was at my heaviest, only a handful of women would give me the time of day. I had NO luck on dating sites...most wouldn't return my messages at all. In public if I started a conversation with an attractive lady, more times than not they would say the bare minimum to get me to simply leave them alone. Granted, I had issues with confidence, but nothing that I would deem dramatic. I would also get a lot of "You're good looking for a big guy." WHAT? What does that even mean..."FOR A BIG GUY?" You mean, I'm handsome but you can't be seen dating a big guy? You can't be bothered to talk to me, or get to know me. Don't say that. It makes no sense.

Since losing weight, I have noticed a difference in the way people treat me. I'm not talking about just women. I mean people in general. Men and women alike. I get asked to more events, people that completely ignored me before have started talking to me. Amazing stuff.

Here is a secret....Fat people know that they are fat. Some fat people are OK with their looks when they are fat. They know they aren't "healthy" but they do what they can to make the most of it. Regardless of what ANYONE thinks. It's not always as simple as diet and exercise. Yes...some people are fat because they are, in fact, simply lazy. That or they are just complacent. It's not OK to blanket the entirety of the fat population with the stereotype that "Fat is a choice". It's not. I tried for years to lose weight unsuccessfully.

Thin people that were handed the genetic lottery and were thin or fit their whole life simply can't understand what it's like being fat. It's not possible for them to get fat, so therefore in their minds, we had to make a conscious effort to get out of control. There is no excuse for their blind ignorance on the subject of obesity. Instead of researching what they don't understand, they jump on the bandwagon and shame people.

Another thing that I have noticed is job opportunities. I could barely even get a call back after an initial interview before working where I do now. It's different when you weigh less. I don't give flying flip what ANY EMPLOYER says. There have been job market studies that prove that heavy people that are equally as qualified for a job opening are less likely to get it because their weight implies laziness.

The study also showed that employers were afraid of health issues (which is admittedly more understandable), and hygiene issues. HYGIENE issues. Being fat does not mean being dirty, or stinky. Even at 400 lbs, I was excessively aware of my hygiene. If nothing else I think I was more sensitive of my hygiene at that weight. There are a few obese people that admittedly do not take of themselves for whatever reason. For that group there are no excuses. Don't misunderstand me. It's important for you to realize the point I am trying to make.

SOME FAT PEOPLE MEET THESE STEREOTYPES. They do. I am not defending those people that simply do not try. I am trying to speak up for those that genuinely try to make the most of the hand they were dealt. People that are fat and are trying to lose weight need SUPPORT.

Instead, in some places. (reddit for example). If I were to go and post something about my weight loss progress. I would be met with incredibly hateful remarks. Whether it be that I am still fat, or I should exercise more, or I didn't try hard enough. Strewn about in the comments will be people saying "Great job" or "Keep up the good work". But for every one of those, there will be 2 from people that are there to discourage or make inflammatory remarks.

Part of me wants to think it's all in my head, but then I read stuff on reddit that simply supports my suspicion.

There is actually a subreddit call /r/fatpeoplehate. It is inundated with hateful remarks about obese people. Some of the stuff they write on there is physically disgusting. As bad as I hate to, let me show you some examples of the things they post. I pulled these off the FIRST PAGE. I didn't have to dig for them. I will not link them. However, I will post some screenshots.

I'm sure by now, you have heard of Tess Holliday. The admittedly obese model. These guys had a few things to say about her.

Then she posted something on her facebook about working out. TRYING to at least be healthy. She said her physical trainer was "Kicking her ass". This was their response to her exercising,

So...The issue is here is that all this motivation that they have AGAINST the fat people could be channeled into good use. Motivation by insults is not motivation. It's a way to make yourself feel good about being a shallow asshole. Plain and Simple.

They FIRMLY believe that shaming fat people is a healthy way to make them lose weight. They post supporting articles like "Man loses 294 lbs after his friend calls him a Fat F**K every day for 6 months."

This is America. We allow free speech, but as a former 400+ lbs man with depression, these types of comments and people are dangerous.

So, what is the takeaway here? What's my point?

Simply this....

Being fat is not (always) a choice. It can be due to any number of things out of our control. I will leave that research up to you, as adults.

Fat people are JUST LIKE YOU. Being fat doesn't necessarily mean they are worse lovers, workers, or people. They deserve every opportunity that a healthy adult deserves. They deserve a chance to find love, because the vast majority of obese people are unable to be as fortunate as me. They will remain large the rest of their lives.

Some will get lucky and find someone that isn't shallow that will love them. They will live long lives. Some will die from health related issues. Some will commit suicide because of posts like above, or because they feel hopeless to do anything about their weight.

The hard to swallow truth is that people make remarks like the ones I posted above dont realize it is life threatening. It's not funny, it's not could literally be the comment, or laugh that puts the gun or the knife in their hand.

I know it sounds dramatic, but I assure you, it's not. I've been there..personally.

Take that energy and put it to GOOD use. Support someone. Offer help in whatever way you can. If you are healthy and go to the gym, invite someone. Offer diet advice. Offer whatever you can contribute aside from being an asshole. Because at the end of the day, you will both benefit from it.

I'm hopping off the soapbox now. If anyone from /r/fatpeoplehate see this, I'm sure I'll see you on reddit! I really do not care about their opinions. And neither should you.

If you need any help or advice please, contact me. I will do whatever I can to help.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Whoa, Momma!

Another mother's day is in the books. What did you do for your Mom?

This year was a little bit different for me. I didn't see my Mom this year. Due to Lesle's mothers health, my Mom suggested that I spend the day with them. While it admittedly seemed strange, it served as a reminder that my Mom is pretty damn amazing. Giving up her day to let me spend time with my girlfriend and her ailing mother.

Even though I couldn't see her, I thought a lot about her. I decided to write a blog entry about my Mom. This won't be some self indulgent, my Mom could kick your Mom's ass post (even though she could). Instead I wanted to tell you guys about my Mom.

No parent is perfect. If you think you are, then you are delusional. However, there are a few things (at least in my humble opinion) that define a parent. It's not based on any one thing in particular. You can't define a parent based on what you think may or may not have been appropriate for you at any given time.

There have been times that I was told I couldn't do something, and I was pissed at her, only to later learn that it was a wise decision she made.

I'll tell you a few things that make up a great mother.

FORGIVENESS. The ability to forgive your children no matter how many poor life decisions they make is an important. I have made a handful of stupid mistakes in my life. However, no matter what happens, My Mom is always willing to forgive her children. Sometimes it takes a few days, but it always happens.

LOVE. My mother has probably the most fierce love for her children out of any mother I have met. She will do anything for her kids, and I mean anything. Just talking to her on the phone, or the way she hugs you. You can feel it.

LOYALTY. My Mother is loyal to her kids almost to a fault. If anyone crosses any of her children, up and including her husband. You had better clear a path. She has the ability to reign the bowels of hell onto anyone that is looking to hurt or take advantage of her children. In fact, it's scary sometimes. She will cut a fiery path straight to the heart of the poor sap that was dumb enough to try to hurt one of her kids. The only bad thing about this is that her kids aren't immune to this Motherly wrath. Occasionally, us siblings fight, and whoever is being the ass (which is usually me) is easily marked for death until they make things right with the other sibling. So keep this in mind before you hurt my feelings. I WILL TELL MY MOMMY.

SACRIFICE. I know no other woman/mother that has sacrificed more for her children than my Mom. She would literally give one of her children the shirt off her back if we needed it (as cliche as that sounds). If we need something. She will move heaven and earth to get it for us. I'm not talking about new shoes, or a new car...I'm talking about things we need. Groceries, bills paid, car repairs...things like that. There was a time shortly after my divorce that my money was in a terrible state. There were many times when she bailed me out of trouble. Even if it meant giving me the last dollar in her account. (but she would never admit if she gave us her last dollar). She has been known to work 3 jobs just because she likes to have the financial flexibility that is needed for when/if her children need her. That, and she REALLY likes getting new furniture for some reason. (usually when one of her kids are moving and has no furniture).

PRIDE. Not the bad kind. The kind where no matter what her kids do, she is proud of it, and she will tell the world. It doesn't matter how many times you failed before, if you do it on the 100th time, she acts like whatever you did was done perfectly, and all the failures just melt away. If I need my ego inflated, I just call her and tell her something perfectly mundane that I accomplished, and get praised for it.

STRENGTH. I'm not going into all the gruesome details of how I know my mother's strength is unparalleled, Anyone who knows us personally, knows that she has been through more in her lifetime than most people I know. No matter how bad things got, and how many times she was knocked in the dirt, this woman has the unbelievable ability to get up, dust off, hold her head high and push through it with a smile. She is the strongest woman I know. Hands down, and in more ways than one. And, I'm not just saying that because she's my Mom. I promise, if you knew half the stuff this lady has been through and have ever met her, it would probably shock you that she's not a frail, meek, little lady. She is the epitome of "What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger." She is stronger today than ever.

PATIENCE. Have you met me? The fact that this woman has not killed me yet is a miracle in and of itself. The amazing part is that I'm the LEAST bothersome child! I mean I love my sisters....but they require quite a bit of patience too. I would say much more than I do. They are both still alive as well. So, that's a testament to the patience of my mother.

See, I am lucky. I have the BEST MOM. I'm sorry to break it to you other suckers....but, it's kinda no contest.

If you argue with me, I'll tell my mom you hit me, and she will kill you with her laser eyes.

All joking aside. I know that no matter what happens, whether it's my own fault, or somebody else's doing. I'm covered. My Mom is always no more than a couple steps behind, cleaning up after me if I need her there. Nobody asks her to do that. So, don't mistake that sentence to mean that I expect it, or ask for it. I try not to depend on my parents to fight my battles at my age, but everyone falls, everyone fails, everyone makes mistakes. Who has you covered if you mess up?

I love my Momma so much that this blog entry can only begin to scratch the surface of how much I love and respect my Mom. Written words only mean so much. They can only express so much before becoming redundant or sounding disingenuous, so I will just end it here.

Here is my Mom, Carol Mayfield.

Happy Mothers Day, Momma. I love you!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Gimme some skin!

So, here we are again. Almost exactly 10 months post VSG. Also another year older. I turn 32 today.

This has been a crazy year. Since my last birthday I have had weight loss surgery, had a terrible car accident that resulted in 2 surgeries, and then emergency gall bladder surgery. Let's also not forget the 2 kidney stones I passed.

All that, and I'm still alive and kicking, and healthier than ever. My ankle is still recovering from the accident. I have good days and bad days. It is definitely still a little sore, but I'm getting around well enough.

I seem to have plateaued at 230 lbs on my weight loss, so it's time to either up the diet game or the exercise. I can bicycle with relatively low impact on my ankle, so I dusted off the old bike, and aired up the tires, and I'm about to start bicycling. Here is the latest before/after picture I have

All is good, right? Well, mostly.

It's time for a little good old fashion self deprecating humor.

Some of you might already be asking what happens to all that skin real estate when you drop almost half your body weight? It remains. In all it's former glory. What use to be mountains is now gelatin.

Sometimes while working around the house, the skin will just randomly clap. I have to stop and look around and wonder what the hell just made that clapping noise. Loose skin flailing about everywhere is about as wonderful as it sounds.

I have never had an ass (thanks dad). What ass I did have from being fat has been reduced what I can best describe is curtainous ass skin flaps where my ass cheeks use to be. Like drapes hanging from a window. My manboobs look like a 80 yr old african lady's tits from national geographic.

That's ok though! They can rebuild me. They have the technology.

It's a surgery called a "360 Body Lift". The name is unassuming, but it is about as brutal as you can imagine.

Basically, in layman terms they remove a large belt of skin from my mid section and pull the skin together and sew it up. It is completely around the body. Recovery time is about 4-6 weeks, during which I will have 6-7 drains placed and left in my abdomen. Sounds like a blast!

Not only will I need a "360 Body Lift", but also, a Mastoplexy! This is where they remove my manboobs (or the gelatin where they use to be). Most likely, both will be done at the same time.

The good news is that my accident covered my maximum out of pocket AND my deductible, so the surgery could cost very little if I have it done.

I have an appt with the Dr. on Wednesday. I don't want to jump the gun on the surgery. After all what good will this surgery do, if I continue to lose weight.

It's also about as invasive as you can possibly get, and I have had enough surgery for one year. However, it could cost little to nothing, so I'm considering it. Compression garments can only do so much.

A lot has happened over the last year, and a lot more could still be in the future. Only time will tell!

So, while I am very happy with my weight loss, the VSG was only the first step in what is about to be a pretty painful process. I'll update after the appointment.

Friday, March 20, 2015

BFL's Important Life Lessons Chapter 2

It's time for a new chapter in my Life Lessons.

Keep your chin up: No, really, keep your damn chin up. If you don't you will rear end somebody and screw everything up. People are retarded, and these days, more and more old people are driving around. Sometimes, I honk my horn at them just to make sure they are still alive.

How to spot dangerous drivers: In the same vein as above. It is an important part of driving to spot dangerous drivers before they have the opportunity to bring you into their bubble of stupid. There are very clear signs to be aware of. 

1. Their car is already completely janked up. This indicates one of a couple of possible scenarios. Either they already messed it up because they are stupid, or they give ZERO shits about their car. Either scenario means, they don't care to mess your car up, or their car for that matter.

2. They are old. Now, not all old drivers are bad, just like 99% of them. The ones that look dead gotta watch out for them. They were driving back when everything was a dirt road, and lanes didn't exist. They think lanes still don't exist. Also, they are old, they don't care if they live any more. When they need over to get into the walgreens for their monthly meds, they will NOT check their mirrors, and you never really know if they are turning or not, because they always leave their blinker on. It's like Russian Roulette. My advice is just take a detour to avoid them if they are on the same road as you.

3. Teens. You can tell teen drivers in a few different ways. Window chalk is a great indicator. Especially if words like "Dick" or "Bae" are written somewhere. Another way to tell is if their car moves a lot at stop lights. This is typically due to them either dancing or horseplaying and they are rocking the shit out of the car. You can also spot a teen if they are blaring One Direction or Lil' Wayne and singing in unison with it. If you see a teen driver, immediately accept your death is imminent. It's best to have a pleasant surprise if you happen to live. They basically own the road. EXPECT ANYTHING from a teen driver. UP TO AND INCLUDING throwing things inside your car at a stop light.

Doctor's have a poor concept of time. This is important to note. Doctor's love to tell you the worst case scenario 100% of the time. When I had my accident, I was told I would be in a fixator for 12-16 weeks. It has been 10 weeks, and I went through a fixator, cast, and boot, and I am now walking with a brace. Save yourself the trouble. NEVER ASK A DOCTOR How long anything will take. You will leave depressed. I don't know why they do it. Maybe it's to make themselves look good, or maybe it's to make you expect the worst. Either's dumb.

Avoid catheters. I know, it sounds like a grand time. However, in general, avoid putting things into your urethra. I have had nothing but issues with these. The medical industry will use words like "necessary" and "Mandatory". LIES. Just superglue your urethra shut, because ripping it apart will be far less painful than any catheter you are likely to receive. They are AT LEAST 10 times bigger than they look. It's some type of sorcery. You can physically look at it, and it will be the size of a drinking straw, but once it makes contact with your genitals, it triples in size and grows barbs. Another thing....YOU WILL PISS AIR. I don't give a SHIT what anyone says. You will have air pockets in your bladder, and you will fart from your peehole, and you will be laughed at if you even dare ask a medical professional about it. They will claim that it's ridiculous. It's not. It will happen. You will have pee farts.

Buy a Bidet. Seriously, why are we the only country that thinks it's acceptable to wipe your butt with a piece of dry wadded up paper. Let me ask you a question, would you touch poop with your hand, and then wipe it on toilet paper, and consider your hand clean? NO. Then why the hell is it acceptable to do it do you butt? Wash that nasty ass. At the very least, give a spritz of water and then use TP. We aren't living in the stone ages. Gross.

Use Reddit. You know all those weird things that you do, and you are so ashamed of them that you don't talk to anyone else about them? No? LIAR. You have them. Not only do you have them, but I guarantee you that other people do the same thing. Reddit is completely anonymous, and you can post that disgusting or weird thing on there anonymously and talk to the other freaks just like you. While you are on there, you can learn a lot of helpful stuff. You can also read about how weird other people are and it will make you feel better. Also, all the funny stuff you read on Facebook is on there like 3 days before you see them on Facebook.

Get discounts. Seriously, if you are the customer of companies like Cell phone providers, cable, satellite, or other subscription services, don't accept ANY service interruptions. Call them, and pretend like that 30 minute outage caused complete turmoil in your life. You will often get $20 credits. They just hand them out to shut you up. This isn't slimy in my opinion. It's demanding good customer service, and if you are stuck with them because you are either in a contract, or they are the only cable provider in your area, make them work for it. Don't be afraid to be an asshole. I can't stress this enough. Aren't you tired of getting screwed by these guys.

Do things to amuse yourself. I do this constantly. I do things so ridiculous, that I laugh at myself. I find weird things to do to keep my own attention. You don't have to be around others to be funny. You can entertain yourself. It's like masturbating, only you can do it in public without getting arrested. One of my favorite things to do is to do customer service chat, make them role play with you. If I am chatting with an amazon rep to check on my delivery, I will take on the role of a robot, and insist that they play along to delivery exceptional customer service. You would be surprised at how many of them will play, and they enjoy it. Just chat all day long fixing problems, and then this one weird guy came on and made you talk like a robot. That sounds like a blast. You can also make funny faces in the mirror. Why do you have to be a kid for this to be normal. I still enjoy it to this day. If you aren't close to a mirror, use the front facing camera. Make funny faces and laugh at yourself. Do impersonations of actors or accents. If you are as hilariously bad at them as I am, you will laugh at how dumb you sound. This is GREAT therapy. People may think you're weird, but you will find that you are a happier person if you can laugh at yourself.

Expect the worst. Ouch! I'm being a negative nelly over here. Watch out! "How could RJ say's mean, and pessimistic." YUP, it is....and guess what I'm never disappointed, but I'm often pleasantly surprised. You see, if I expect the worst, and the worst doesn't happen...YAY! I did good. I'm happy instead of disappointed. Because I'll tell you a secret, people are almost always going to do bare minimum to get by. Don't be a victim. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Two Steps Forward...

Over the last 9 months, I have had my fair share of hills and valleys. Many great things have happened to me. I've lost a lot of weight (160 lbs), met the girl of my dreams, almost lost my foot, passed a kidney stone, had my sister move in with me, and the list keeps going.

Firstly, lets talk about some good news, and then we will get down to the nitty gritty. I went for my final follow-up with Dr. Grear at Campbell Clinic and was told that my ankle was not only doing well, but SO well, that I managed to completely skip physical therapy. Yes, you read that right. I did so well with my at home stretches and exercises that he said I currently have MORE mobility in my ankle than he would have expected AFTER physical therapy. I am sure my current weight and determination helped with the recovery of that. So, you will likely not be reading much else on that little adventure. Put a fork in that chapter, because it's done!

Ever since my VSG (vertical sleeve gastrectomy) I expected my eating habits, and how I feel after I eat to change, obviously. So, I went through the motions, and nothing seemed out of the ordinary to me. I noticed over time that I would get bloated after eating. Nothing too terribly bad, but it led to a lot of reflux, and belly pain. I just figured I was eating too much, or eating something my body didn't like. I dealt with it, because after all, my stomach is now the size of a small banana. However, over the last few months, it seemed to be getting worse. I had Lesle living here now, and she was cooking a lot, so I assumed it was simply because I was eating too much, because she is an AMAZING cook. So, I lowered my portions, and it seemed like no matter how little I ate, I felt bloated and disgusting for about an hour after I ate. I began skipping meals, because of this. I actually dreaded eating.

Last week, I started having some weird cramps after eating a slice of pizza and getting sick. It was very painful and lasted well into the night. It wasn't really normal feeling cramps, it felt almost like hunger cramps, and I couldn't really place exactly where the pain was coming from. Sometimes, it almost felt as if it were coming from my back. I got hardly any sleep that night. A few nights later, it happened again (this was last Thursday, 3/12/15), but this time was different. It wasn't letting up, and I began to wonder if I had a leaky sleeve. I decided to go on into the ER AGAIN. They scanned me and said it was most likely my other kidney stone, but they also found a little bit of inflammation in my gallbladder. They sent me home with some pain meds and antibiotics. I went through the weekend, assuming that the pain was just inflammation, and popping my antibiotics.

Monday morning rolled around, and I got up to get ready for work, and I was F-ING hurting. I decided to run into the ER one more time to at least get some more pain meds, but within an hour, the pain so great, that I didn't know what to do with myself. I called the on call surgeon and he said "Get to the ER, and tell your doctor to call me"

I went to the ER, and they did the normal thing. IV, Pain meds, vitals, and then in about 15 minutes, the nurse came in and said "Dr. Degges is admitting you".

I was brought upstairs and put in a room and waited about 45 minutes for Dr. Degges to get there, and he said "You have a massive stone in your gallbladder, and I think we need to remove it. You are scheduled for 1:20".

In a flurry, I was texting everyone to tell them I was about to have surgery AGAIN. I texted work, because the fact that I even still have a job there after all the work I have missed is amazing. My bosses response was simply "Did you expect anything you do to be simple?" Good point. However, I could hardly have predicted this.

After surgery, Degges talked to Mom and told her that it was one of the worst gallbladders he had ever seen, and they were going to keep me for 2 days! This is normally an outpatient procedure. I was quite sore. More so than I ever was after my VSG.

So,  I was doing well (overall, and considering the facts). I was sucking back the water and ice cream, and I had to pee. I asked the nurse for a little urinal, and went to do my business....nothing. I sat up in the bed a little bit and re-adjusted....nothing!

What the hell, my bladder was full. I strained (it hurt my incision), and still nothing. I told the nurse, who said "It's no big deal, I'll scan your bladder, and we'll do an in/out catheter". Well, I am no fan of catheters as you probably well know by now. As she went to get the bladder scanner, I furiously tried to pee, but it felt like it was just stopped up. In/out...that doesn't sound that bad. Just stick a little straw in, drain it, and move on. Lesle was in the room when the nurse arrived with an ultrasound and a catheter kit. My bladder had almost 500ml of fluid in it, which is pretty much capacity. She recommended the cath, and I held Lesle's hand as she explained what was going to happen. It sounded harmless enough. I just told her not to be shy with the lubricant. Next thing I felt like a red hot poker had been slammed into my urethra at gale force speeds. The seering pain gave way to a twinge of relief as I felt the pressure decrease on my bladder. It was a perfect balance of discomfort from having a straw in my penis, and the comfort of urinating. It suddenly stopped, but I could tell that my bladder wasn't empty. This is called "hitting a pocket" The solution is to very very slowly pull it out about an inch at a time until you start emptying again. This part sucks. Eventually the ordeal was over, and I laid there in the fetal position grasping myself as the nurse cleaned up.

The next day, I was feeling better, and I started trying to pee first thing in the morning, with no luck. I'm telling was an ALL DAY ordeal. Hot water, standing up, sitting down, straining, showering, anything you can think of to pee on my own, and it wasn't happening. The nurse was already talking about another cath, and that kind of pressure only made it worse. I sat on the pot and strained so hard that I lost hearing for a moment, and suddenly, I felt a little trickle, I strained and strained and managed to give her 100ml. Enough to keep her from giving me another cath. Finally they called in a script for flomax. 6 hours later, I peed. I was able to empty my bladder on my own, and I had never been so happy, from that moment on I was a peeing machine, and all was well.

I was released on Wednesday morning, and went home and slept all day.

I decided to do some research on what exactly can happen during gallbladder issues. So much was explained. All the things that I thought were normal due to my VSG were likely caused by my gallbladder. I was released to a normal diet as tolerated, so naturally I had chicken spaghetti for dinner. It was divine. I enjoyed my meal, and I wasn't bloated. I felt satisfied. I had a nice meal with no reflux or bloating or anything.

You see, I am getting healthy, but in doing so, it's almost as if my body is saying, "Oh we are doing this now, well, let's take care of all these other issues that I was putting off because you were fat."

I learned that for people that have had this surgery, depending on the amount of weight loss, have up to a 76% chance of having their gallbladder removed within the first year.

The question still remains. Through all the things I have been through over the last 9 months, how did NOBODY notice that my gallbladder had a stone? I have had AT LEAST 3 c/t scans of my abdomen. Nobody ever once mentioned any issues. This could have been caught early and avoided an emergency surgery.

For those of you that are thinking about this surgery, please don't assume that the pain you are having is because of your VSG, especially if you still have your gallbladder. Bring any and all issues up to your doctor. This went from 0 to "in/out cath" in less than a week, so listen to your body.

On the upside, everything that happens to me is one less thing to worry about. Kidney stones? I have that licked. Gallstones? NOPE, been there, done that. I now have a whole host of healthy organs, and they only stand to get healthier (I hope) as I lose weight. As long as I can keep my job, and make my family happy while continuing on this crazy journey, what more could I possibly ask for?

With that, I leave you with some pictures that I took over the course of the last entry, including some hospital pictures.

Here is the progress pic. Left (04/2014) - Right (03/12/2015)

My Momma!

 Completely High after surgery (still in recovery)

 Battle Wounds

One of us was happy

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Plagiarism, Pilgrims, and Regret.

It's time for a cleansing of the soul. I have done things, man. Things that would make Russell Brand blush...this is not one of those, because it's stupid.

This is the story of how I started a prank that ended HORRIBLY. I COULD ACTUALLY DIE FOR TELLING YOU THIS. Ok, not really....but it will be embarrassing, and the first time I have publicly admitted to it.

Before I begin. A Special Message to Mrs. Thompson. OMG I'm so sorry. I hope you still love me after reading this (if you read it).

OK. It started with the announcement of a writing contest during my senior year in High School. I was not any sort of writer in school. In fact, I hated it. However, some friends and I decided it would be a fun little thing to enter a piece of poetry into the contest that would be so ridiculous that Mrs. Thompson would call me out and we would simply have a hearty laugh and chalk it up to a poorly thought out Sr. Prank.

The plan was simple. Submit a poem that was so ridiculously and obviously fake that it would never leave the classroom. The ONLY rule. It had to be song lyrics.

I was at a fairly odd point in my life and I just happened to like Enya.

Anyhow, They have a lovely song called Pilgrim that is overly homosexual. The lyrics were OBVOUSLY over the top. Or so I thought....

For your listening pleasure, here is the song.

So. I pulled the lyrics from this overly horrible song and hastily wrote them down, being sure to remove the chorus as not to be TOO obvious. In hindsight, that was possibly not a wise decision, but hey....I have never been known for my wise decisions.

I brought it to class a couple of weeks later. I walked it to the front of the class amidst the chuckles and snorts from my friends and handed the crumpled and folded paper to the teacher, because in my head, a true artist would not have a clean piece of crisply folded paper. You know...I had to show artists angst. I take this role very seriously.

Mrs Thompson (looking shocked) took my paper and stuck it in the pile.

Now I just had to wait for her to read through it, and bust me out in front the class and have some laughs, and pray she doesn't report me for plagiarism.

A week passed, and I began getting nervous. She announced that she had chosen the finalists, whose work would be submitted to a panel of judges at ASU. They would then decide the winners.

She called out the finalists for Poetry. SHE CALLED MY NAME. JESUS CHRIST WHAT JUST HAPPENED! This is NOT going as planned. Surely this is her realizing that I was trying to mess with her, and this was her revenge. Embarrass me in front of the class. This is SO Mrs. Thompson (I secretly hoped). NOPE. IT'S HAPPENING.

I needed to think fast. If I admitted to her what I did, she would make an example of me for fooling her. On the other hand, what were the chances that this sorry excuse for a poem would even get a second glance from the panel of judges. OR what if they read it, and get pissed, and report me. JESUS THE ANXIETY WAS UNBEARABLE. There was one thing I could do....CRY LIKE A GIRL and pray I don't get into trouble. I mean, it's what any other wuss would have done. I'm no better than the others.

Another couple of weeks went by. I waited, my friends reveled, Mrs Thompson swelled with pride....

I knew at the very least, I was burning in Hell for this.

SUDDENLY! One day, the loud speaker came on. It was Mr. Dunivan with an announcement. The school had some students that placed in the "High School Writers" Contest.

Ronnie Boling wins FIRST PLACE IN NEA for his original Poem "The Journey" and guess what.... it would be published in a book!

H-O-L-Y   S-H-I-T What have I done. HOW DID NOBODY NOTICE! It's an ENYA SONG! Understand, this was in 2001, Enya was fairly popular!

I was in too deep. There was no escape. This was my life. I am now a poet. I literally cannot tell anyone I did this.

Only a small handful of people knew, and I wanted to keep it that way.


I have kept this to myself long enough to hope that I am outside any statute of limitations that could possibly get me in trouble.

I'm sorry to those who thought I was a real writer. I never had a copy of the book...but Mom did. She held it proudly until the guilt got too much and I had to tell her. I think was like 22 or so when I told her.

Lesson Learned. I am a terrible terrible person.

I feel better after having confessed, I'll go whip myself with a cat of nine tails until it bleeds just a little bit, because I don't like pain.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Broken Ankle and a lesson learned

It's been a while since I posted. Things have been a little hectic for me ever since the holidays.

You see, I stayed over at my girlfriends house on Dec 27th, and on the way home the next morning, I had a pretty terrible accident.

I was driving down the highway, doing about 60MPH in the fast lane. The lady in front of me had apparently realized that she almost missed her turn. She slammed on her brakes in the left lane to make a right hand turn. While she waited for the right hand traffic to clear so she could make her turn, I rear ended her. I guess I had switched the song on my radio or something. I only looked down for a second, but by the time I looked back up it was too late. I slammed on my brakes with my right foot, and smashed into her.

The impact coupled with my foot on the brake was enough to destroy my ankle.

When I came to, I didn't realize my injuries, and in an attempt to stop rolling into oncoming traffic continued to try to smash the brake with my broken ankle. I finally realized that I wasn't stopping, and pulled the hand brake.

A gentleman ran over to check on me and I remember trying to get out of the car. He made me stay seated and asked me where I was hurting. About this time, I realized that my ankle was hurting...badly. I told him that I felt like my ankle was broken. He bent down to look at it, and his expression said it all. He explained that it looked pretty bad, and called the ambulance.

Next thing I knew, I was being lifted into the back of an ambulance being transported to the local hospital. My clothes were cut off of me, and I was sent through a blur of tests. You name it, and I had it done. X-rays, CT, MRI, blood, etc,

The doctors came back and recommended I get sent to the closest trauma hospital which is The Med in Memphis, TN. Low Clouds meant no helicopter, and I would have to ride in the back of an ambulance.

I had a lacerated liver and spleen, a bruised pancreas, and a "complete dislocation/fracture" of my ankle. To everyone's amazement, the skin didn't break. So the only thing hold my foot to my leg was skin, and my Achilles tendon. All other ligaments and my talus (the main ankle bone) were broken and torn.

I didn't realize just how serious it was until we got to the med. There was talk of amputation, rods, fixators, "reduction", and a whole host of other options. Everything was a blur at this time. A flurry of nurses and doctors and medicines. I finally went into surgery about 12 hours after my accident, and I woke up with what resembled a bionic leg. Rods and hinges and screws sticking out of my leg and ankle. Here are some pictures of the foot before and after surgery,

I was told I would have to wear the "External Fixator" for 12-16 weeks. Needless to say, it was uncomfortable. There were 2 rods drilled into my tibia that served as a kind of anchor. The carbon fiber rods attached to them and ran down to a third rod that went all the way through my heel bone. This particular rod would come to be the bane of my existence for the next 4 weeks. This whole contraption disabled any and all movement in my foot with the exception of my toes.

Fast forward about a week. I went to the doctor and learned that I would only have to have the fixator on for about 4 weeks. This was great news. At this time, there was no pain, but it was difficult to deal with. My sheets were shredded, I wasn't sleeping good, etc.

Well, about a week later I woke up with an unbearable pain in my heel right where the rod went through. I popped a couple of pain pills....nothing. The pain continued to increase throughout the day until about 8pm when my girlfriend and I decided to go to the ER in Memphis (more on the girlfriend later). They X-rayed me and said everything was fine despite my immense pain. They sent me home with more pain pills that did nothing to cease the still increasing pain in my heel. It seemed that the more time went on the worse it got. Over the course of a week, we made 3 separate trips to Memphis with ZERO explanation as to why it hurt so bad. Since there was no explanation, my doctor came to the conclusion that I was exhibiting "pill seeking behavior" and cut me completely off pain meds. He instructed that until the fixator comes out in 4 days, I was only to take tylenol. THATS IT. I couldn't believe it! The pain was real, and I was just beginning to suspect I was a wuss.

I barely made it through the weekend. I hit a very very deep depression. I was in tears, I wasn't sleeping, I couldn't even move my foot. An infection had set up in my pin sites...I was just in complete misery.

Monday rolled around and it was time for surgery. I went under, and when I woke up, the Doctor had learned something! It turns out, I'm not a pill head. The bar in my heel had become loose, and with every slight movement of my foot, it was grinding against the INSIDE of my heel bone. He concluded that I was probably in "Considerable pain". WHOOPS! Geez doc...maybe if I make three trips across state lines to complain of severe pain, I'm not just looking for a fix. GO FIGURE, JACKASS!

He sent me home with pain meds, but now that the fixator was out, I felt unbelievable! I was in no pain, and I was smiling for the first time in weeks. Here is a pic from right after getting the fixator removed.

Here it is about 9 weeks post accident, and I am in a walking boot. I am still ZERO weight bearing, but I went from Fixator, to cast, to boot in just 7 weeks! I'm making a great recovery, and I'm back at work. I'm happier than I have been in a long while too.
As I continue to move on in life, a lot has changed! On top of all this, I have continued to lose weight and I am now down over 160 lbs!

Woah, who is that guy on the left. Jesus...that gut!

I also replaced the old car since it wasn't really roadworthy.

Everything is going well. My foot is on the mend, I should be walking (or at least trying) this time next month, so I will be sure to keep you guys updated.

Thanks for reading!!!