Thursday, September 26, 2013

Three Months Out

This is a post about weight-loss. My weight-loss. I will not judge your beliefs about size acceptance, weight management, health, etc., if you do not judge mine. And let's go further: if you will not yell & scream at me then I will not yell & scream back at you. In short, if you don't like what I have to say in this post then post your truth on your blog. I am speaking my truth and that is the only justification I need. This is an invitation to not have time-wasting online snipe-fests. Comprenez-vous?
Three months ago this week, I went into OR-5 at Kaiser Richmond for my RNY Gastric Bypass. In the past 3 months I have lost 73 pounds. With the 57 pounds I had lost in the 3 months before surgery by strictly following the bariatric diet, this means that in the last 5 months I have lost 130 pounds. But other than the weight loss itself, has anything changed in my life? Well...
1) My sleep apnea is gone. I have not slept this well in 10 years.
2) My knees do not hurt anymore. My feet no longer throb & swell when I walk long distances. I can walk long distances without feeling like I am having a heart attack! Yay!
3) Just the other day I walked up Berkeley's famous heart-attack hill -- the very long segment of LeConte Avenue up from Hearst Avenue to the intersection with Ridge Road and Scenic Avenue that is so steep that even San Franciscans fear it -- while pulling a 25-pound suitcase behind me!
And now for the best news... my primary-care doctor wanted to see how much my "numbers" have changed 3 months after surgery. Following are some things we learned with the blood tests...
4) My cholesterol has dropped approx 25 points. Most of the drop was in my LDL -- the "bad" cholesterol -- as well as the "super-bad" cholesterol. My cholesterol ratio is the best it has been in 5 years. My cholesterol number is now in the normal range. And note that 6 months ago my cholesterol number was being artificially lowered with a statin drug. I am no longer taking a statin!
5) My triglyceride count has NOSEDIVED. It was 170 just six months ago. It is now 94. That's a 76-point drop. I now have the best triglyceride reading in the last 3 generations of men in my family, all of whom have/had diabetes.
But above all else, there were two results that are just, in a word, miraculous...
6) Six months ago my fasting blood-sugar was 120. This week it was 80.
I am no longer pre-diabetic.
7) I had liver issues. They were the kind of issues caused by anything from Hep-C to cirrhosis, fatty-liver disease, or even the beginning of liver cancer; the suspected cause was severe fatty-liver disease. Six months ago my ALT was 119. As of this week it is 15. That is a 104-point drop. In layman's terms, that means I went from severe-risk pre-diabetic to PERFECTLY NORMAL. My liver has always been a risk-factor for my life; I was born with poor liver function, and it was the first organ to start showing signs of damage from pre-diabetes. But, no more.
My liver is the healthiest it has ever been in my life.
To sum things up:
Gastric Bypass surgery saved me from being in the 3rd-consecutive generation of males in my family to suffer the horrible body-destruction of diabetes. Is the fight over? Of course not. Will I have to keep my newly-acquired eating habits up for the rest of my life in order to keep my success alive? Absolutely. And was it worth the effort?
I am so very blessed: so far I have only had one person reject me because of the choice I made. This person told me that I have complete agency to make my own informed medical decisions -- and then turned right around and told me that the "weight-loss industry" conspires against me. It is a funny and curiously ignorant statement, considering that my bariatric program at Kaiser absolutely hates that same "weight-loss industry" and speaks out against it in the strongest terms possible. That's too bad for that person. I wish that person well, and hope that someday a reasonable data-driven consensus will emerge.

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