- HEALTH TRACKER
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Latest Surgery Support Comments
OK, here's the dirt on me. I was born in April 1952 and some of my earliest memories are that I was a chubby kid. It wasn't really a problem though until after I finished school settled down and got married. I was active enough before then, that I didn't get really obese. I was an avid water and snow skier and I played lots of racquetball, tennis, softball etc. After I got married and started working full time, I started packing on the pounds until by the time I was 28 I weighed 280 lbs and I'm just 5' 10" tall so I was MO.
This was in 1980 or 81 and I really can't remember which, but I do remember I had the surgery in Aug or September. There was a big hype at the time about stomach stapling so I applied and was accepted for the surgery. I remember waking up and thinking OMG I've been run over by a concrete truck! I mean I hurt in places I didn't know I had places, but like I said, I was 28 so I got through the pain and made a quick and complete recovery. Somewhere along the line during the winter of that first year I pulled a staple and started bleeding internally. At the time I didn't even know what having black sticky looking stools meant, but I remember having them. I also remember feeling really weak and tired all the time, but I didn't think it was anything serious until I woke up one morning, sat up in bed and promptly passed out. I can still remember coming too and hearing Barb screaming at me saying "that's not funny"!!! And smacking me thinking I might be playing some sort of joke on her. Well it was no joke, so she took me to the doctor and I passed out a couple more times before I got to see him. He tried to get some blood out of my finger, but couldn't even get a drop and I could tell he was really worried and he told Barb to get me to the emergency room ASAP. When we got there, the nurses were waiting and they took me to a room and started pumping cold blood into both arms. The transfusion probably saved my life, but it also gave me Hepatitis C. Back then no one knew what it was or what AIDS was or how to check the blood supply for it. I stayed in the hospital for one day after the transfusion and felt great; the bleeding had stopped so I checked out and assumed my former life.
My life just got better and better, in 1984 I quit my job as a construction electrician and started my own business as an electrical contractor. That business took off like a rocket and within 4 years I was making money hand over fist and had more than 20 employees. The business continued to grow and by 1996 I had over 100 employees, I was flying my own airplanes, I had all the trappings money could buy, I was in good shape, keeping the weight off through diet and exercise and life was good. In 1997 I needed a $2M bank loan for a job we were taking on and the bank required me take out an insurance policy that would pay the note if something happened to me and during the physical for that insurance they discovered I had Hep C.
Wow, what a sudden change in attitude Hep C gave me. All of a sudden I had a disease that could and probably would kill me. The cure rate at the time was about 20% and the treatment was IM Interferon injections every other day for a year. I took the treatment and kept working as best I could, but the interferon would make me feel like I was coming down with a really bad flu every other day. Needless to say, I wasn't too sharp for over a year and during that time I lost some of my key employees and the business started to tank. I went into a real funk, heck maybe even a depression and it took me until 2004 to really get things back on track.
During the time between 1998 and 2004 I gained most of the weight back and from 2004 until now I've been trying to lose it, but it's just not happening. I developed hyper tension and sleep apnea and have little libido so it's time to stop messing around and really do something. From all I reading and seeing, I think I'm going to get a revision to DS, but I'm not sure about that yet. I've scheduled internal tests; Upper GI Fluoroscopy and Endoscopy to see what I really have and then my surgeon and I will make the final decision.
Speaking of surgeons, I have not really picked one yet, but I'm leaning toward Dr. Ungson. Since I will be a self pay, the cost is somewhat of an issue, but not the only issue.
September 2008: I made contact with Dr. Rabkin in San Francisco and was impressed with his knowledge and attitude about my case. He also indicated that he has an opening on Sept. 18 that I could take to get the revision to DS done. Wow, that only gives me less than 2 weeks to get all the pre-op testing done, but I've decided to go for it and try and get it all done so I can get the revision on the 18th.
September 11, 2008: Whew! I got all the testing done and everything looks good to go. This has been and will be a real whirlwind, Barb and have to be in Orem for the blessing Zak and Kate's new baby girl on Sunday the 14th then get home, get packed and headed to SF for surgery on the 17th. That's right; my surgery date got bumped up a day to the 17th.
Sept. 16, 2008: Well we made it to SF, met with Dr. Rankin's staff, had to have a few more blood tests drawn at the hospital and then go to the apartment we're going to be staying in and take the fleets YUCK!!!! I really hate that stuff.
Sept. 17, 2008: Got to the hospital early in the morning about 6:30AM went through all the rig-a-ma-roll and I'm a bit nervous about this, but I'm going for it. I'm really cold here on the OR table.....now I'm in pain and it's getting dark outside. I'm told that my surgery took 8 1/2 hours and was a real bugger. I had adhesion's all over from the prior surgery and scar tissue to beat the band. I have a morphine pump and man oh man that morphine is good stuff.
Sept. 18, 2008: I slept on and off all night, but it's light outside and I have to get up and walk. I did it, I feel like I'm 100 years old and just been hit by a truck, but I'm alive and ready to deal with what ever I need to deal with. Had a few ice chips, oh boy do they hit the spot! However, the water from the ice chips came back up after an hour or so. Dr. Rankin says not to worry, it's just my new tummy rebelling. Walked a few more times today; the staff here is great; they're so friendly and nice. Had to go swallow some of that barium and get some Xrays to see what's going on in my stomach. The Xrays confirm, nothing is getting through, the barium just sits in my stomach.
Sept. 19, 2008: Didn't sleep much, the morphine doesn't last long enough and I can only pump more every 20 minutes (I think it was 20 minutes, but I can't remember for sure). Got up and walking again and am feeling better today that I did yesterday, but I still can't get anything to go through my stomach. My daughter Tracy and her husband Jon came to visit this morning all the way from Salt Lake City! I didn't expect that, but I'm told the whole fam is planning to come some time while I'm here. My family is something else, I don't know how I got so lucky to have 4 great kids and a wonderful wife.
Oh boy, I have to go do another barium swallow test I did it and got the same result, nothing is getting trough. I don't know what this means yet, supposed to see Dr. Rabkin this afternoon. Dr. Rabkin came to see me and the news is not good, he has to go inside and see what's blocking my stomach; sheesh! I really don't want to go back into surgery. Well here they are to get me to take me to the OR again. I'm freezing here on the OR table again, then it's curtains; the next thing I know, I'm waking up and I'm in a lot of pain again. I'm told that this surgery took 4 1/2 hours, Dr. Rabkin had to take my stomach apart again to find the problem; what he found was a flap of scar tissue that would close off my stomach any time anything came into it. He removed the flap and checked every CM of my stomach for scar tissue, then had to put it all back together again.
Sept. 20, 2008: Man I feel like crap, walking is much harder today than it was on the 18th, I'm really weak. I have some problems with my kidney function so I'm getting some medication for that and I still have the morphine pump and I have a "Main line" in my neck so they can get medication into my system ASAP of they need to. Other than that, things are great. Barb looks like she has been through the wringer; I guess she has. She has not left my side since the 17th, she has been sleeping in my hospital room on a make shift bed. Tonight, Tracy is going to stay with me so Barb will go to the apartment, get a shower and some better sleep. Did I tell you how awesome my wife and kids are? Also Larra from OH came by to visit; she talked to Barb quite a bit, but I was so out of it, I don't even remember meeting her. Sorry Larra, I know I wasn't much fun to visit.
Sept. 21, 2008: Feeling a little better today, I'm eating ice chips and they are going through; what a relief! My kidney function is improving, but I'm still really weak.
Sept. 22, 2008: My second son Andy and his wife Fergie showed up today. We sent Andy on a quest to buy a recliner we could put in the condo we're staying in so I will be able to sleep. I'm feeling a lot better today, drinking juice, broth and crunching on ice chips. Tracy and Jon are heading home today, I'm sure grateful they came to lend a hand and support me, did I saw how awesome my family is? I'm pretty much of the morphine now, but I sometimes wish I still had the pump.
Sept. 23, 2008: Feeling pretty good today, I got to have a shower...sort of, but man it sure feels good to get cleaned up a bit. I also get to eat some jello and ice cream type stuff. It was good, but too rich for my tastes right now. I really don't feel any hunger and don't feel like eating anything, but I need to eat anyway.
Sept. 24, 2008: I get to check out of this pop stand today! As soon as Barb gets the car back from Andy, we are ready to go. Andy had the car all day, so Barb and I just had to sit here in the room waiting He had problems getting the recliner. But about 3:30 PM we finally got released and headed to the condo. It feels good to be in the condo and out of the hospital, but it's going to be hard for everyone to stay here for another four days.
Sept. 24-30: We stayed in the condo waiting for my check up with Dr. Rabkin on the 30th. Not really much fun here, I can't really get out and see anything, just don't have any strength or energy. Barb is getting pretty bored too even though my son Zak came to visit; he's such a good kid, but he's not a kid anymore, he's a married man! Jeremy, Sharla and Allie also came to visit, it's sure nice to see everyone, but I think how I looked scared little Allie.
Sept. 30: Going for my check up with Dr. Rabkin so we can go home. I didn't see Dr. Rabkin, but I did see his PA Dana; she's very nice and very knowledgeable; in fact I'm pretty sure she was there during my surgery. Dana checked me out and pulled my drain tube, but left the feeding / J tube, which I also thought was getting pulled today. Dana says I need to leave it for 6 weeks! In case I need it to get my fluids or meds down. I really thought I was going to get rid of that dang feeding tube, but no way. In any case, Dana cleared me to go home, so we're going back to the condo and getting all our junk packed up to go home. We called Jeremy and he's sending the Cheyenne to pick us up; it will be in Oakland in three hours so we need to hustle.
Barb is a real trooper, I'm not much help and she is packing everything down to the rental car. We got it all packed up and headed to Oakland; man this riding in the car really sucks, the bumps just make everything hurt. When we got to the Oakland airport, the plane was there waiting, so we; I should say Barb and Tracy (the pilot; not our daughter) loaded everything up and we're headed home. Wow what a miserable plane ride; it was less than two hours, but the air was bumpy and I sure didn't feel good. Finally got home; it's good to be home, it's hot here, but just to be home is really nice. I want a shower in the worst way, so Barb helped me tape up all my junk so I can get in the shower and it sure felt good. I'm so weak that just taking a shower wears me out and it takes 30 minutes or more to get dried off and dressed.
October 2008: This is usually my favorite time of year, but I'm so weak and sick, I barely notice how nice the weather is. I can't eat enough to keep a bird alive and I can't drink enough to stay hydrated; now I see why Dana made me keep the feeding tube; thank goodness for that feeding tube. Barb is giving me Gatorade, water and some meds through the feeding tube, because I'm having such a struggle taking anything through my stomach. I also got a thrush infection in my mouth, just to make things even more fun; I guess. I had Barb take me to look at some of the jobs our company is working on and I talked to some of my top men; later they told me I looked like death warmed up and it was pretty scary seeing me look so bad. I had no idea at the time.
November 2009: Somewhere around the 1st; I all of a sudden could eat a little and I went back to work. I'm not eating much, but food does taste OK and it goes down OK. When i went back to work, I could only last for a few hours and then I would need to go home and sleep...when is this fatigue going to go away? I'm so weak and tired all the time, it's really discouraging.
As time passes I am getting better and stronger; we're planning on going to Salt Lake for Thanksgiving; Barb's family usually come here for Thanksgiving and we usually host it, but this year her brother Dale is hosting and they live in Bountiful; which is just North of Salt Lake. We stayed in a real nice Hotel in down town Salt Lake, went to a Jazz game and then went to have Thanksgiving dinner at Dale & Linda's. I've lost a lot of weight; close to 60 pounds and all the relatives stare at me like I'm someone they don't know. But it was a very nice dinner, I ate a little of everything. We had some pictures taken and I guess I do look different.
December 2008: Had my first stall in December, I weighed 219 on Dec. 2 and the scale isn't moving. Christmas was really nice and I'm feeling so much better these days, my energy is coming back and I'm getting stronger every day. The scale isn't moving, but that's OK, I think my body needs a break. It's all good now, I'm eating well and feeling good; life is really getting back to normal now.
January 2009: We're going to Park City to celebrate New Years' we're staying in a real nice house owned by one of Jeremy's friends. I even got some new snow ski clothes, I hope I can give it a try. And we're going to be watching the Sugar Bowel; should be a fun time. Dang it! We just got to Park City and I'm having another Gouty attack; they hurt like hell! I've been having them pretty much constantly for the last month or so and it really hurts. Still had a good time, but I didn't even try to ski, my right ankle and foot hurts way too much to try that. Not only that, but the scale is still stuck on 219 and I'm getting a little worried about this stall.
February 2009: The scale is still stuck, but on Feb. 5, it finally moved whew! I was starting to get worried that I was done losing weight and I still have a lot to lose; somewhere around 40 pounds. We're going on a cruise later this month, it should be lots of fun.
We had a great time on the cruise, went to Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas; I ate everything I could and still lost three pounds! We went on a zip line adventure; which I would have never done last year and I went snorkeling and it was great, I'm starting to feel really good and I'm really starting to feel like a young man again!
March 2009: I'm feeling so good these days, I've decided I'm going to start working on my Rotor Craft (helicopter rating). Wow this chopper flying is more difficult than I thought it would be; I've been flying since 1987 and have thousands of hours in high performance multi engine aircraft so I'm no beginner, but this helicopter is really hard to control. I'll keep working on it almost every day and I'm gradually getting the hang of it, but it is really a lot harder than I ever thought it would be.
April 2009: Work is really slow, all the jobs we were working on have finished up and I have to lay off lots of good people; this really sucks! I'm still working on the helicopter flying, getting close to being able to solo; the only thing I'm having trouble with now is setting it down smoothly, it's so damn touchy, moving the controls the width of a dime can be too much. I turned 57 this month; I can't believe I got this old, but it happened and it happened real fast. My dad turned 82 the day after I turned 57; I sure hope I can be in as good a shape as he is when I'm 82!
May 2009: Did my first solo in the chopper on May 8, and scheduled my check ride for June 8, so I have one month to be ready.