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Husband, father, grandfather, friend...a few of the roles acquired in 61 years of living.  I keep an upbeat attitude, loving humor and the singular freedom of a perfect laugh.  I don't let curmudgeons ruin my day; that only gives them power over me.  Having experienced death once, I no longer fear it, although I am still frightened by the process of dying.  I love to write because it allows me the freedom to vent those complex feelings that bounce restlessly off the walls of my mind; and express the beauty that can only be found within the human heart.

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Friday, May 06, 2011

My Lap-Band Life: Four months in

Copyright © 2011 by Ralph Couey

This past month has been full of adventure.  My weight loss has slowed to about one pound per week.  I find that my hunger is increasing and portion sizes are creeping up, sure sign that an adjustment is needed.  I will see the Doctor on the 11th, and if he approves, he will put a needle into the port beneath my skin and put in a little more saline.  Hopefully, this will get the weight loss going again.

I had the naive thought that this surgery would fix all my heart problems.  But on May 1st, as I was returning from Erie, PA, I began to feel that tell-tale ache in my chest.  When it wouldn't go away, I went straight to UPMC Passavant hospital in the north part of Pittsburgh.  The admitted me and did a heart catheterization on Monday the 2nd.  The cardiologist found a 75% blockage in the right coronary artery and put in a stent, my 5th.  With my wife in Hawaii caring for her terminally ill aunt, I was alone.  But my friends from church came through, standing by and magnificently supporting me through the entire ordeal.  I actually learned a lot about reaching into my well of courage to get through the tough times.  You can't chose the hand that life deals you.  You can only play it with all the strength, courage, and skill you can muster.

One of the good news was my cholesterol numbers.  I hadn't had a lipid panel run since before surgery, so it was with a great deal of curiosity that I asked for the results.  The good news is that they are all normal.  Even those pesky triglicerides have finally come down.  My blood sugar continues to test in the 90's and all the other indicators show continued improvement in the general state of my health.

However, I learned a bitter truth about coronary artery disease.  Once you get it, you got it, pretty much forever.  Despite all the changes in the last four months, my body will continue to try to manufacture plaque.  I can, however, reduce the risk by keeping my diet healthy and continuing to exercise.

My meals may seem boring to some, alternating soup and salad, but there are a lot of soups out there with low carb numbers, and they're easy to fix, which for a bachelor-by-circumstance, is the way I like it.  I've been experimenting with cereal in the morning, Special K, to be exact, and I'm pleased with the results.  The flakes, after some soak time in the milk, go down easy and don't cause any discomfort.  I still scramble eggs once or twice per week, just to shake things up.

Cheryl will be back on the 16th, after we meet in Denver for our daughter Crystal's college graduation.  I'm sure the diversity of the menu will be greatly expanded, as she is a far better cook than I.  And far more motivated.

I'll be very happy to have her back.  It's so much more fun to share triumphs and far easier to survive tragedies with the one you love.
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