So . . . how've you been since March? Good? Probably good. You're not even reading this, are you? You've stopped checking for updates, just because I stopped posting content, right?
The Good News:
The reason I had my vitals taken so regularly was that I had a small problem that had to be repaired with emergency surgery, followed by a short hospital stay. Years ago, when I was at my very most morbidly obese bodily volume, I had mysterious abdominal pain and a mysterious lump above my navel. One doctor diagnosed this as lipoma, a small fatty bump that forms under the skin on some people, but that's generally painless, and this was painful enough to cause nausea. Other doctors diagnosed a hernia with fatty tissue (morbid obesity, remember?) becoming "incarcerated" and "strangulated" when it poked through. I had surgery to repair it early in the summer, reasoning that I would have time to recover before school began. I took the few weeks before surgery as a time to diet and exercise (with no coaching or guidance, of course.) On the morning of the surgery, I weighed 396 pounds in a hospital gown. I can't prove it, but I'll always be convinced that I once weighed over 400 pounds. The surgery was an apparent success, but recovery was tough. The standard advice is not to lift anything over 10 lbs. in weight for six weeks after hernia repair, and to avoid bearing down with the abdominal muscles. There is no way to follow that advice without a powered lifting chair or bed when you weigh 400 lbs., so I did my best but screwed up repeatedly. Still, I thought I'd recovered, and although I wasn't certain the hernia was gone, I told myself that I would exercise like a madman and lose the weight ASAP. I'd get down to 300 lbs., maybe even a little lower! I began exercising again about two months after the surgery, and for some reason that now eludes me, I decided that I would begin by running on the bleachers at my school. No, I can't think of any reason for a 400-lb. man to do that, either, but it turns out I didn't hurt myself doing it, because before I'd been doing it a week, an infection at the surgery site broke loose and I spent another week in the hospital, followed by a month at home giving myself anti-biotics through a PIC line (basically a fairly permanent IV line the patient can use to administer IV drugs at home.)
The Bad News:
So here we are. The hernia repair isn't the strongest; they couldn't use mesh because it raises the risk of infection (don't I know it?) and the bowel surgery is already an infection risk. There's a possibility that I'll have to have the repair re-done yet again if it doesn't hold. That means I've got to handle this recovery as well as I can. But there are some bright spots here, mostly because my fitness level has changed so much:
The Silver Linings:
- I weighed 268 lbs. yesterday. That means I'm about 125 lbs. lighter than I was the first time I tried to recover from hernia surgery, and although this procedure was a lot more disruptive than that one was, the recovery has been a lot easier so far.
- I was up and walking much faster this time, out of bed the day after surgery and walking two days after.
- I have some pain, but I haven't had to use any of the Tramadol they sent home with me. I don't get much more than a dull ache with the occasional sharp jab, and I'm afraid to dull it too much, lest I cause some damage without realizing it. I'll use it if I find that I need it, but I think the recovery is better without it.
- I can't go back to the gym until at least October, and I won't be able to work at the level I was before for at least six months, maybe more like a year. But I've kept my diet clean since leaving the hospital and begun to take long walks again. Walking won't build muscle like the Turkish get-ups and pullups at HIPE, but it'll strengthen the injured area without causing damage, and it should let me continue to lose fat.
- I didn't die, and I don't have to accept any permanent loss of function. All I have to do is be smart and a little lucky while I recover, and I can still reach all the goals I had before. It's just going to take longer than I'd hoped.