Big Fat Queer

October 9, 2011

Before and During: Some Progress Starting to Show

In a little more than a week it will be two months since my Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy surgery. I started taking pictures for a time lapse video on August 27. I wish I had started before the surgery because by August 27 I had already lost about 30 pounds. I have lost an additional 33 pounds since then (my recent plateau has ended). To date I have lost 63 pounds since I first decided to do the surgery.

The profile pictures in the time lapse set don’t really show much noticeable difference. It is more apparent in the face forward pictures. I started noticing today, so here is before/during. It is too early to say before/after.

August 31, 2011

Two Weeks Post Op – Two and a Quarter Miles

Last night I got a pretty solid six hours of sleep and after being up for a while I had another hour “recliner nap” so today my energy was pretty good. I felt better than I have since the surgery and took advantage of it with a nice long walk. I took some pictures along the way.

I went east to York Avenue and walked down towards the hospital where I had my surgery. It was my home away from home for a week and I haven’t been in that area since I got out. Along the way I passed by Sotheby’s auction house, which is one of the larger buildings on that path (it’s at 72nd Street and York Avenue).

Sotheby's Auction House.

Once you get further south on York you enter the hospital zone. The largest is New York Presbyterian where I had my surgery and lived for a week. It is the teaching hospital of Cornell Medical School and also affiliated with Columbia Medical School. It is a huge complex of buildings and divisions. According to US News and World Report’s hospital issue this year, NYP is rated No. 1 in New York and No. 6 nationally. They are in the top two or three in several categories. From my experience, they deserve the ranking.

New York Presbyterian Hospital Main Building

This is the main building. I have tried to find out who the architect is without much luck. If anyone knows please educate me.

Across York Avenue from NYP is Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital which is ranked as the second best cancer hospital in the United States. I hope I never need their services, but it is good to know that such good quality care is walking distance from home.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital

Across from Sloan Kettering and next door to NYPH is The Rockefeller University, which is a small research institution. There is no undergraduate school there. The only students are doctoral candidates and post doctoral fellows.

Entrance to The Rockefeller University

Close up of Rockefeller U Entrance

For a small university The Rockefeller University has large accomplishments.

Past The Rockefeller University there is a footbridge to a promenade along the East River. I walked over than and took a rest on a bench by the river.

The 59th Street Bridge over the East River and Roosevelt Island.

East River Tug and Barge

On the 71st Street foot bridge back from the river you can see the Hospital for Special Surgery which is ranked as the No. 1 hospital nationally for orthopedics and No. 2 for Rheumatology.

The Hospital for Special Surgery

With these top ranked hospitals and Rockefeller University in just a few blocks the amount of brainpower and healing concentrated in such a small area is almost palpable. I have walked this walk many times over the years and I am still impressed by the amount of groundbreaking science that goes on here.

My ankles are skinnier than they have been in a decade.

July 12, 2011


Just a quick update. I did homework for the nutritionist appointment on Thursday tonight. I had to update my food diary for the last few days and make sample menus for my post surgery meals. The focus is making sure to get in 60-80 grams of protein despite the limitations on the amount of food that can be taken in. It took some work, but I got it done.

Other things I have been working on for over a week:

1. Practice separating liquids and foods (and not drinking liquids 30 min before/after meals). Pretty good at that.
2. Add 1000 iu Vitamin D3 to the multivitamin I am already taking. I have been taking for a week now.
3. Think protein.
4. Choose only sugar-free fluids (which I already do)
5. Practice eating slowly, chewing well. I am working on this, making some progress, but I have to retrain myself.
6. Consult with pharmacist/doctor about medications that need to be ground up. My Dr. will get back to me.
7. Try to lose some weight. I think I have lost about 10 lb, but I will be weighed on Thursday.
8. Exercise. I have been using the Upper Body Exerciser regularly.
9. Keep food records. I’m using (which also has an iPhone app).
10. Create after surgery sample menus (done).
11. Attend support group meeting. Did that, and will attend another if it comes up before surgery.
12. Measure amount of 1/2 and 1/2 I use in my coffee. I drink one mug a day, usually, with 2 tbsp = 40 calories.

I am on track to get cleared after this appointment unless I am misunderstanding something.

My food diary for today:

Sample Menus for After Surgery:

July 10, 2011

Back on Track

Poached eggs, rye toast and Sriracha.

Today I did well. For breakfast I had two perfectly poached eggs (using the steamer) with rye toast. Breakfast was late so I didn’t eat lunch. I had a half cup of apple sauce (no sugar added) for a snack. For dinner I had 6 ounces of grilled chicken with some pureed peas, pureed yellow squash, pureed green beans and pureed carrots (1/4 cup each). I will have a 6 oz Chobani Lemon Greek yogurt for a late snack. That brings me to 1100 calories for the day. I did 20 minutes on the Upper Body Exerciser. It said it burned 194 calories, though I think that is an overstatement. Maybe 100.

This is the Upper Body Exerciser, which is basically a tabletop stationary bicycle that I pedal with my hands. Actually “pedal” is not the right word since it is from the Latin for foot. What would the manual equivalent of pedal be?

Upper Body Exerciser

July 9, 2011

Vicarious Exercise

I must have burned a thousand calories just watching these guys exercise 🙂

Yesterday I began the process of losing weight before the surgery. When I get a specific date they will tell me when to do the liquid diet, but for now just a general effort to lose some weight. I am not on the post-op diet, but I am eating some vegetable purees because I like them. Fortunately I don’t have to puree my proteins so I am eating grilled chicken (mostly), and fish. I tried to find veal in the market today but not a single item of veal. I wil have to go to Agata and Valentina tomorrow and get some veal. I am avoiding beef and pork for now, as I will for several months after the surgery.

Yesterday I had 3 oz of non-fat Greek lemon yogurt for breakfast. For lunch, 3 oz of grilled chicken and 6 oz of mixed steamed vegetables. For dinner I ordered a steamed platter from a Chinese restaurant and from that I had three oz of steamed shrimp, 3 oz of chicken and 6 oz of mixed vegetables. For a snack last night I had a 6 oz of low-fat Greek honey yogurt and 2 oz of pineapple chunks. The total for the day was only 850 calories, but I had 99 grams of protein which is more than adequate. I was low in fats and sodium. I did not get enough vitamins, but I do take a supplement. In terms of total nutrition this is probably the range I will be eating for several months post surgery. That is why the weight comes off so fast at first. I anticipate that even after I heal completely and get on a normal diet (the new normal) I will probably not exceed 1500 calories a day.

However, since I have not had the surgery and I am still dealing with a major appetite, yesterday was probably a little light. This morning I was ravenous and had a full breakfast of eggs, sausage potatoes and toast. This was probably a thousand calories. Tonight I will have 3 oz of grilled chicken and some pureed vegetables. So, for today I project 1500 calories. Not bad, though it should be spaced out better in time and quality of food. Breakfast was fat and starch. Mmmmm good 🙂

July 5, 2011

Surgery Update – Proteins

November 21, 2010

Light at the End of The Tunnel

Central Park Zoo Snow Monkeys, originally uploaded by FantasticBabblings.

As I have mentioned before here I am in the throes of overwork (70-75 hr weeks). I only worked minimally this weekend and today I spent most of the day propped up in bed watching mindless television. Until I got to the American Music Awards and that was too mindless to bear.

Yesterday I did manage to get a couple of miles walking in. I went to the Central Park Zoo and tried out my new Canon 7D camera. The picture above was one of the first I shot. I also shot some video which is uploaded but still processing on YouTube. These very modest looking Snow Monkeys give a little bit of a sex show in the video. Woo-hoo! (Pressy sad, huh?)

I have eaten reasonably well lately, holding pretty steady. No cheeseburgers this week and the only thing with sugar I’ve had is fruit. Aside from being generally tired, I actually feel pretty good for the amount of work I have been doing. But I can’t go on like this forever. Next week is a short one and I get four days off in a row; I hope without much work, if any. The two weeks following the Thanksgiving break will be pretty hectic and long, but after than things should stabilize and be back to my normal 40-50 hour weeks. It’s a full week, but 25 hours less than recently. That’s a big chunk. Time to rest, to blog, to read and shoot pictures, still and moving.

The video finished processing, so here it is:

November 3, 2010

I Need Discipline. I Need Discipline. I Need Discipline

Golden Riot, originally uploaded by FantasticBabblings.

Ok, so I need discipline, and I’m not very good at it. The only way I can have discipline is to have a routine and stick to it. Lately I have given myself too many food options. So here is the routine I am trying to see if I can stick to it, at least for a while so I can get my weight back on a downward trend.

In the morning, coffee. No food. Despite the conventional wisdom, eating breakfast always makes me eat more all through the day.

For lunch, salad – vegetables only (which includes legumes, of course). Fortunately where I work there are several places that make very good salads with a wide variety of ingredients.

For dinner, meat, fowl or fish or cheese – nothing on the side.

For an evening snack, a piece of fruit.

This will give me a balanced, ample meal spread over the course of a day.

I’ll try it for a couple of days and let you know if I can stay with it. I think if I get keep it going through the weekend, I can keep it going for a while. Today I had a salad from a place called Chopt. I had the “Vegetarian Powerhouse” with broccoli, edamame, carrots, sunflower seeds, walnuts, craisins, apples, with spinach and romain lettuce. For dinner I had a steak (about 10 oz). I will have an apple later. I walked a mile and three quarters today.

Oh, I shot the picture above on Sunday in Central Park. Not many trees have turned yet, but this one was brilliant and everybody in the park was photographing it.

October 16, 2010

Going “Off The Grid”, Sort Of

Carribean Princess, originally uploaded by FantasticBabblings.

I went to Staten Island today to shoot some footage of the departure of the Carribnean Princess cruise ship. Winds were gusting up to 50 mph, probably more on the harbor, so only about 20% of what I shot is usable due to camera vibration. But some of it is good and I didn’t need a lot. I did get the still shot above.

I have a bit of a cold. I almost didn’t go out today. From now until the end of the year I will probably be working nights and several weekends. I don’t expect to be blogging much or making videos or anything much other than working and trying to get some rest in between. So if you don’t see much of me online, don’t be surprised. Everything is okay.

I had a follow up visit with my doctor this week to review all of the tests I have had over the last couple of months. It seems in spite of everything I am in pretty good healthy. The weight is a problem, but the things it engenders (apnea, diabetes and hypertension) are all under control. My heart is healthy. I have been checked for the major cancers and at this time there is no indication of anything. So I feel pretty good about that.

This week I have eaten relatively well with one off day (cheeseburger and milkshake). I have walked an average of a mile and a half each day. This morning I had a piece of rye toast with cream cheese. This afternoon I had a large bowl of Cantonese vegetable noodle soup, but I discarded the noodles and had vegetables and broth. I don’t know what I am having for dinner, but I will figure it out soon.

I will blog from time to time, but if I am missing, it means I’m just working hard. See you soon.

September 18, 2010

Pre-Stress Test

NY Harbor, originally uploaded by FantasticBabblings.

Monday I finally have my stress test at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, who claims to have a scanner that will accommodate a 430 pound body. Since mine is considerably less than that, I should fit – and still be in Manhattan, but just barely. I do wonder though how they come up with a number like 430, when the circumference of a 430 pound human can vary depending on height. In any event, I should fit.

When the test was first scheduled, or at last re-scheduled, I had a nightmare that I would be told after the test that they must crack open my chest immediately and do dastardly things to my innards. I really don’t have time for that foolishness. But it did feed some anxiety about the test. But by the week’s end I was feeling cocky that everything would be fine. At least good enough not to require any immediate surgery. I am a bit scalpel-phobic.

So today I put my heart to a little bit of stress to reassure myself. I walked four miles, most of it at a fairly brisk pace, a good mile or so uphill, and I had no chest pains, no shortness of breath and I do not feel fatigued, but rather invigorated. My poor ankle joints are a bit strained, but if you had to carry that weight you would too.

I did errands this morning and walked about a mile in the neighborhood. During my errands I ate at a diner, having eggs and sausage. I also had potatoes, which I usually eschew, because I knew I was going to be doing a lot of walking. I injected insulin, but I thought I compensated for the exercise. Then I took a subway to Brooklyn Heights to go to the promenade to shoot footage for my river project. I’m including the Harbor as well.

After Brooklyn Heights I intended to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge back to Manhattan. You get a much better view walking towards Manhattan rather than from Manhattan to Brooklyn. I got about a quarter mile up the ramp to the bridge and started feeling a little wobbly. I tested my blood sugar and it was 110. I ate my emergency Snickers and walked a bit more, but still didn’t feel too strong. I tested my blood sugar again and it was 98, still going down despite the candy bar. I didn’t think it wise to continue as on the bridge there is no place to get anything sweet to eat or drink and I was also feeling a little dehydrated. So I re-traced my steps back to the entrance to the ramp where there is a diner and I sat for a while and had a grilled cheese sandwich with a Pepsi (a rather flat Pepsi, but it had sugar). After resting and getting some carbs I felt fine to continue on. So I did and completed the trip across with no problems. I got some really good footage and a few still shots as well, including the one in this post taken from the bridge looking toward the harbor with the Verazzano Narrows Bridge in the background.

After I post this I am going to have some Greek yogurt with peach slices and fresh raspberries.

After my transgression earlier in the week, I have been pretty responsible with eating and moving. Thursday I worked in another office from my usual office and ate some Vietnamese spring rolls and salad at a restaurant nearby. When I got home I made a gumbo from the breasts of the rotistterie chicken I had eaten part of (the dark meat) the night before. It was tasty, but later in the night I had stomach cramps and cold sweat. Everything cleared up by Friday, so I don’t know what it was, but I threw the gumbo away just in case. I didn’t want to eat anything I had eaten the day before.

Friday I had lunch with a colleague at a tavern near Madison Square Park. We split an appetizer plate with wings, chicken fingers and sliders (I had one slider). The small bun on the slider and the breading on the chicken finger (not all that much) were the only carbs. My entree was a grilled shrimp salad with avocado and hearts of palm. For dinner last night I had shrimp and walnuts with no rice from a Chinese restaurant.

I have had a lot of salty animal fat today, so I may eat only vegetables tomorrow. I can’t have any caffeine until later Monday and I don’t tolerate caffeine well late in the day, so probably Tuesday. I may have to get up early Tuesday just for a caffeine fix.

I will let you know how the stress test turns out.

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