We Have A Date!

Posted on January 10, 2009. Filed under: First Life, Health, Real Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Ok, it’s been a while, so let me sum up (yes I’m quoting Inigo M.).

First and foremost, I’m doing well, still steadily dropping poundage, my poor, arthritic knees are feeling better most of the time, and when they’re not, it’s less of a pain (literal and figurative) than it used to be. My mobility is much better overall. It is so nice.

I’m progressively wearing clothes I’ve not worn in nearly a decade or longer (or ever in some cases), so it’s like getting a new wardrobe as I go along. Very cool stuff, that. I am, as I was warned I’d be, cold a lot of the time, less insulation and lower blood pressure equals freezing my butt off a lot. I take it as a sign of success and put on more layers. Still surprises me, but it’s not so bad it’s an issue really. Just something to note along the way.

The date. February 19th I’ll go under the knife again. Actually I just passed the year mark on the Gastric Bypass the 8th of January, so that’s cool too. For those that don’t know, the next procedure is to fix an aneurysm in my aorta, at the arch as it comes out of my heart. This was discovered in the pre-surgical testing in 2007, however at that weight, no one was willing to take the risk of doing the surgery then, but now, over 140 lbs or so lighter, I’m much less a risky proposition. As my surgeon put it, “if you’re gonna have one of these, that’s the place (of the aneurysm) to have it”. He’s done hundreds of this procedure, and is very confident that this will go well. I like him, he makes me and Pops feel pretty good about such a big deal type operation.

Yes this is a chest cracker. Yes I’m expecting the recovery to “suck hard”. Yes I’ll have a lil zipper scar down my sternum. After the last meeting with the surgeon I’m feeling much less anxiety about this than beforehand, and like the surgery last year, I’m trusting the doctor to do his job and I’m concentrating on my job, the recovery and life mgmt. afterwards. The long term stuff, that’s the hard part in my book. Besides I have enough friends and family freaking out about this for me as well. For some reason that seems to make it easier for me to be calm about it.

So that’s the big update!

My blogging instinct has been re-directed (mis-directed) to the time I spend over on Plurk (http://www.plurk.com/MadameMaracas), micro-blogging daily. If you’ve not yet heard of Plurk but have heard of Twitter (http://twitter.com/MadameMaracas), it is very similar, but threaded conversations on a timeline vs. solo posts in reverse chronological order. I’m “on” Twitter too but really I rarely watch that page, I have it so folks I know there can ping me with DM’s (Direct Messages, private, only you and the recipient can see posts).

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Knees – What IS wrong with them?

Posted on March 4, 2008. Filed under: First Life, Health, Real Life | Tags: , , , , , , |

Went to a new Dr. today, an osteo. sports medicine kinda dude that does bleeding edge knee surgeries and replacements and all that stuff.  They asked me a lotta knee history and health history questions, took some X-ray snaps of my knees and then we had a nice sit down chat.

It turns out that I’m arthritic.  Didn’t expect that.  The good news is my knees aren’t ground into little bitty shards of bone and stuff.  That’s not the difficulty.  It’s just that the cartilage is worn, unevenly, but in the expected way and I’m nearly out of cushioning on one side of each knee joint.  So they hurt, so they feel wrong, so what do we do?

Well, surgery is an option, but a last ditch, we’ve tried everything else choice.  That was my thought and his as well.  Considering he’s a surgeon, ya gotta love that he’s not pushing to slice and dice.  Nor was he keen on putting me in a brace.  First thing was he figured I’d have a cosmetic objection to it.  Hell I didn’t care about wearing braces, either time, except that they cut up my mouth and hurt like hell when being adjusted but damn I love the results!   After I made that clear, which he loved, then he pointed out that they tend to abrade the skin, and would give me sores, esp. since I’m still dealing w/some leg swelling issues.  So that part I can see.  I asked about a soft brace.  “They make nice knee warmers.”   Yes, that’s what he said. LOL

Ok, so medicines?  They kill the pain, don’t work forever and don’t fix the issue.  So where we’re gonna start, once we get insurance clearance, is an injection, once a week for 3 weeks running, of something called Euflexxa.  From the brochure it sounds like liquid cartilage and a nice grease, lube and oil job in one.   Again, a very reasonable option.

My dad found this guy on the web, he’s from the same hospital as did my surgery and yet again, great personable staff, attentive, incisive, intelligent folks in the office, top to bottom.  One of the nurses even subs in with my gastric surgeon, she was very happy to hear that he’d done my surgery (I hear nothing but knowing nods and high praise at the mention of his name).  I’m really happy that my knee isn’t bone meal and that there are non-invasive options to explore.  I kinda wish a soft brace would do something for me too, but we see how this stuff goes.

Otherwise I’m doing well, trying new foods and so far the only thing that gives me issue, other than stuff that’s too sweet is STILL carrots.  I can deal with that, been doing so all my life.  Went to the grocery store today, got a mess of stuff, but I need to go back.  I’ve been not cooking so long I need basics and seasonings and stuff still.  Bought all I thought I could carry in one trip from the car (just barely) and tomorrow I’ll go get the other 1/2 of what I need.

When most of what you consume is fluidy and soft, your groceries get very heavy very fast I must say.  Got some salmon, had the butcher cut it to size and individually wrap them for me so they’ll be fool proof.  Also I’ll give ‘nanners (bananas) a shot too.  I think I might end up blending them with some of the “canned” (it’s not in a can but same concept, just fresher) fruit and yogurt.

OH !!  We stopped for lunch before the appointment, so I had my first onion, pickle, hamburger and cheese today without incident.  Yes it was McD’s.  No bun, no ketchup (don’t usually put that on any how and it’s prolly too sweet for me), and I cut it up on a plate with fork and knife to be sure no eating errors.  All went down and stayed down just fine.  It was yummy too.  Weird ordering just the sandwich, no fries and no beloved Diet Coke.  Took me twice as long as Pops to eat just my burger as it did for him w/fries and soda.  This stuff still cracks me up, but it is good.  I feel pretty confident that my tummy will twinge if I shouldn’t eat something even before I get it in my mouth and so far, that’s been the rule.

If anyone had told me this would be this easy or smooth before surgery, frankly I’d not have believed them.  I suspect my case may be very, very atypical.  Nothing I read about Gastric Bypass showed the patients dealing with stuff this easily.  My only issue is the occasional chewing (or lack of sufficient)  error.  That and my knees, which hopefully will begin to be resolved and I can get my meteoric weight loss rolling along again.  I’m still losing but much much much slower I think than to be expected with proper exercise.  Soon.

All in all, it’s very good news and a yet continued bright outlook.  Yea the proverbial shoe may drop, but until then I”ll enjoy it as it is.

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Posted on February 12, 2008. Filed under: Chicago, First Life, Health, Real Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Ok it’s been UBER cold in Chicago the past few days, but today was much better so I decided I’d try to dig poor Zippy out and see if he’d be a good boy and start for me so I could go to the pharmacy.

Zippy had about 1/2 a foot of white stuff all over, and the bottom layer of about a 1/2 inch to inch was pure, solid ice. My beloved building maint. guy, Mike, had dilligently plowed all around Zippy, so there was an axle-high bank of mostly ice and some snow all the way around the car. Now, before my surgery I knew I’d not be driving for a bit, so I parked Zippy with more than 1/2 a tank of gas, and with the drive tires facing out, which is also downhill. Yea for planning ahead.

There’s something about the way the door seals are made on Zippy that usually in cold weather he gets a wee film of ice sealing the door to the body in the most annoying way, but lucky me, Zippy opened right up. Next challenge, turned the key, and VaRooom! right to life! Yea Zippy!

Mike happened to be walking by and we discussed my plans and it looked like he’d be back to plow out my space about when I would be getting back from errands if, IF I could get Zippy out of the parking space, over the hump of ice right at his front bumper. Mike went on his way, and I turned up the heaters and got my scrapers out and went to work.

About a 1/2 hour later I had the car legally clear to drive, the trunk lid was still caked with snow, but the center rear light was visible so I figured that was good enough. Shifted into Low, and pulled right out, minimal scraping, I had more trouble on back roads in Oklahoma and Texas in 2000 than I did pulling out of my parking space.

So I slowly drove to the drug store, with the rest of the folks slowly driving sensibly in the slush and fluffy flakes falling down steadily. Picked up my stuffs and went to the grocery store. Spent about an hour in there, walking around very very slowly. It’s hard to describe my knees, left in particular, don’t really hurt, but they don’t feel right and so I have to be very careful with them. It feels like the joint could just pop out and go “wrong” at the least provocation.

Found some nicer alternatives to canned fruit, less sugar and preservatives, got some flavored yogurt, more egg beater stuffs, some milk, fake margarine, OJ, proper turkey burger patties (Pops had grabbed sausage as they were out of the regular stuff, this is much lower salt and each patty is a perfect serving 4 oz.), and cottage cheese. I also grabbed some hummus, gonna see how that goes down. Didn’t see any cheese I thought I should try yet. I can’t see how I’d get it small enough and not gum up my “works”. I can wait. I looked at the fish and other meats but nothing safely appealed to me, I’m following my tum-tum’s “call”.

It’s hard to walk past the breads and crackers and other things that I’d normally want to have with the stuff I’m currently consuming, but those are all too too crunchy for me yet. I got a little warm in the store but this trip was significantly less difficult than before. I was able to take my time and didn’t get antsy, how nice.

Oh and icing on the cake, when I got to the store, parking spot numero uno was just opening up, was well shoveled and easy to get in and out of, I was concerned about being on angled slippery stuff, that would make for some really unhappy knees. On my way out, a fellow walking with a cane was entering just as I was about to return my cart, I gave it to him, it was a good, no wiggle tires cart. He smiled nicely.

So, I drive home, slowly, again, as the snow is coming down even more by then, and just as I’m pulling into my little snow-hole of a parking space, Mike waves to me to pull out as he’s also just gotten home! Talk about great timing! He scraped all that stuff up and shoved it into the embankment, so Zippy parked on perfectly flat, nearly ice-free pavement. I grabbed my bags of goodies and made my way upstairs!

I’m very pleased, and the turkey burger was yummy!

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    • MadameMaracas is heartbroken, so terribly devastated, the surgeon, Dr. Alan Yasko, that gave me my brand new knee this winter, died of a pulmonary embolism. August 24, 2010 MadameMaracas
    • MadameMaracas Happy Birthday MatthewAnthony ! May your day be filled with joy and the coming year only get better, day by day! August 22, 2010 MadameMaracas
    • MadameMaracas Sorry for the neglect folks, I'm moving to a new facility today, we see what kinda connectivity I have there, if at all. August 20, 2010 MadameMaracas
    • MadameMaracas says Lost connectivity, possibly for an hour or so for the seeming midnight reset. I am fine, full of dilaulid, feeling no pain. no pai August 19, 2010 MadameMaracas
    • MadameMaracas says Getting ready for surgery today, slated to be carved open @ about 11.30am. Pops & Marissa are here taking great care of me. <via phone> August 16, 2010 MadameMaracas
    • MadameMaracas you're a big ole pussy cat, need to out go out in a ball love and feeling, generating more with time. August 14, 2010 MadameMaracas
    • MadameMaracas says Been standing up, turning to sit in a chair, short, shuffling steps! NO THIGH PAIN! <via phone> August 12, 2010 MadameMaracas
    • MadameMaracas says Packing room up atm, waiting for transport to surgery w/ Pops & Marissa. Marissa will update here.. <via phone> August 9, 2010 MadameMaracas
    • MadameMaracas says I have been moved to a different room on the same floor. A single room. ping 4 new # <via phone> August 7, 2010 MadameMaracas
    • MadameMaracas says Guess who just spent an hour out of her room NOT for tests, feeling more normal than in over a month? <via phone> August 6, 2010 MadameMaracas

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