Better Living Through Chemistry

I’m finally starting to feel normal after almost two weeks of recovery since hemorrhoid surgery. Less pain and somewhat normal functions have been welcome compared to the excruciating pain.

The day I was first examined my new doctor recommended some blood work to make sure my body was otherwise performing normally.  Considering the last time such a thing was suggested, I blew it off. I have been pleasantly surprised during all of this that my blood pressure is pretty normal. This comes as a surprise to most people who know me because they think I’m wound a bit tight.

This past Wednesday I had the follow up with the doctor to go over the blood work. The only anomaly is my cholesterol level. It’s a bit high. Okay, It’s a lot high. I am not going to tell you the number because it’s fairly disturbing, especially when you consider that optimum is 150.

So…

I am now on medication and fish oil (4,000 mg a day) to reduce the cholesterol and of course the risk for heart attack and stroke. I think I might actually have bacon fat running through my veins. I’m also still taking a couple of other medications related to my surgery. Twice a day it’s pill-a-palooza. The doctor says my cholesterol should be down to acceptable levels in six-to-eight weeks. More blood work is scheduled for six weeks from now.

The dietary restrictions are now palpable and onerous. I didn’t exactly get a meal plan from my doctor but her suggestions seem draconian. No more sausage, no more deli meat (there goes that Italian BMT from Subway, and oh do I love a good pastrami sandwich), no more processed anything, practically no more bread. Whole wheat pasta, brown rice instead of white, five prunes a day, and no more egg yolks. Canned soup is bad because of all the sodium. Good thing I didn’t tell her about my Ramen noodle addiction. And, oh yeah, the only alcohol she suggests is a four-ounce glass of red wine once in awhile. Good thing I like red wine. So much for those Crown Royal evenings, or beer with my Zweigle’s white hots. I’ll have to tell my buddy Charlie not to call me when he discovers a new 12-year-old Scotch. The food I must eat for gastrointestinal and cardiovascular health barely qualifies as food.

When I was a kid, I drove my parent nuts. I hated mealtime. I would sit at the kitchen table for an hour or more picking at my food. My mom was an excellent cook but I was a finicky eater. I had my favorites, anything else sat there on the plate and got cold. As I have gotten older and travelled the world, I have expanded my palette. There are still certain things I won’t touch with a 10-foot fork, but I am much better than I used to be. I have developed a taste for fine dining as well as neighborhood pubs. I enjoy a good unhealthy meal with my friends, especially when I am travelling for work. There isn’t much time for sightseeing but you have to eat. What better way to sample the local flavor than to actually sample the local flavor.

Okay party people, here’s the crazy part. When I started this blog and made the commitment to exercise and lose weight and eat healthy and all that jazz I weighed in at 236.6 pounds. Thanks to my injury and my surgery I haven’t been able to exercise. I’ve walked a large grocery store looking for food that’s safe to eat, that’s about it. The doctor says I should walk more and I will. Getting my gastrointestinal system straight and making these dietary changes I have lost eight pounds. I weighed in today at 228.8. I can’t tell you the last time I weighed less than 230 pounds. I went to work this past Tuesday, wasn’t supposed to – doc looked at me like I was crazy when I told her that – but a few of my coworkers noticed a change to my face and they remarked that I looked slimmer and that was after losing four pounds.

I don’t know if my metabolism is going to come back fighting and pack the pounds back on without exercise. I won’t let that happen because hard work and sweat are in my future. But if I can lose eight pounds in the short amount of time I’ve lost it, that is a light at the end of the tunnel, not a train.

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