Post Title Too Long (And Silly!)

I will have my turkey sous vided.

Hmm? Oh, the title, right. It’s: That One Post Where Jack Climbs Onto His High Horse and Rides Away Into The Sunset With His Fat Head. You know the type of post that’s incoming, dear reader, the type of post where I position myself as a lifestyle guru helping the feeble minded masses understand that they can only make a choice against tradition when I tell them to because I’m special! Buy my Book! Subscribe to my…yeah, you get it, so, no, I’m not doing that. I’m just sharing a little of he work that went into giving myself a peace of mind this holiday season. I’ve attempted the free-from festive route, here if you’re looking to cater to more than one as it’s obviously worthwhile if you’re in charge of the food preparation for everyone, rather than, like Jack, trying to match everyone else single handedly. What am I talking about? Why food! FOOD! That seems to be all this holiday means to most. No, no, I’m not getting theological here, it’s just food has become the all encompassing effort this time of year and I’m here to tell you that it really doesn’t need to be. That alone won’t help against the societal pressure to conform, but let’s look at this idea and flesh it out a bit.

I will have it baked.

Marvelling at junk-food and the wizard behind the curtain. This was just a reminder of what I meant to say here, but it is fitting. Look, junk-food is junk, I don’t care how companies try to sell us on it, I’ve been in the thick of it, literally, you don’t weigh what I used to by abstaining, now I’m so far removed it’s like a distant dream. The thing about junk-food, hence to be known as trash, is that it’s deceptive, until you know how something is made you just can’t imagine all the fat and sugar that goes into even the smallest treat, couple that with all the preservatives and additives that comes in trash then I feel ill thinking about that. Your brain and companies conspire together to get you hooked, fats and sugar paired are deviously addictive, companies using the fear of missing out (FOMO) then make you feel as if this Christmas was the only time you can eat: Whatever. Realising that ignoring this part is vastly better for you regardless of your food issues is part of the path to just enjoying the holidays.

I just won’t have it Christmas Day.

Binging? This is binging! Again, fitting. You might be thinking of a few artisanal mince pies, a sip of brandy, my my, dear reader, how pretentious you are! Not like humble, Jack, ‘umble Jack even. But here’s the thing: You can’t be sure what extreme is when it comes to food. Different people have different requirements, they also have different thresholds. You might be satisfied with a little cookie, a nice meal and nothing more but to someone who like I was, am still in a way, who just can’t stop. Who will eat until they’re ill chasing that supposed satisfaction. Here’s a clue: It doesn’t exist. Food will not make the holidays better, but it can cause trouble for you for the rest of the year and the future. So, for me I’ll have some turkey, I’ll have it with my vegetables, my own gravies, I’ll enjoy it, but I won’t have anything out of the norm. No junk-food, no extra pilings of meat and vegetables, nothing I don’t need. And, you know what? I’ll be better and happier for it. When the fad diets come in I’ll be eight years at this and will have never stumbled. Why? Because I know what I’m doing works, I know what’s in my food and I know how to eat plenty, but never the wrong things.

So very smug.

So, you’re saying now what, right? I have dashed the plate from your grubby hands, dear reader, the gravy has been upturned and is soaking into the carpet already sodden with the tears of…what? Shut up and get to the point? How rude! Fine. Remember that it isn’t food-mas it’s not even a religious holiday if you’d rather it not be. I don’t celebrate it that way. It’s a time to remember to think of family and fiends, which should be every month, but we’re all idiots in that regard. Yesterday I watched my nephew marvel at the magical elf that has taken up residence in our house, he’s eight and his innocence is the greatest gift of all. His sisters keeping the illusion going for him the second greatest. There’s so much more to this than food, but it is so very hard to break away from that. For those who can dip, but not drown, good for you, but remember those who can’t. Support them in their choices because it really is just one day, but a mistake made then may be detrimental for many, many more days. Okay, I’ll leave you with Charles, the Dabbing Elf.

Dabbing is…like wiping your nose on your sleeve and being very proud of it.

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Journey To Better Health 2: Healthier Journeying

I’ve added a little more to the page: My Journey To Better Health. Just thought I’d share the newest part here too. All is good, dear reader, no exciting news, but wheels are turning. Slowly, but surely. See you again soon.

It’s been a while, hasn’t it dear reader? Or rather it hasn’t. Only a few months later and I’m finally adding to this. The journey will be continuing for quite some time. I’m resuming this on the tenth of December, twenty seventeen. On the eve of my next appointment. All should go well and bar something heart-rending you should see this continuation of this journey. When I last typed this I was hunched, bandaged and still had a surgical drain in. This part is where the craziness of the aftermath winds down, where normalcy and better days start to appear. In saying that I will have to start and stop a few more times. I hope to have word of what the next stages entail. There are at-least two more surgeries in the cards, if my legs can be fixed then that’ll make four in total. Four surgeries to mend some of the damage that the weight gain caused. I really can’t envision a day when I can look back at all this and not have to do it again and again. For now I’m grateful, scared, happy and just generally befuddled. Let’s resume my story, dear reader, it’s not all that exciting, but it is important, at-least to me. This is written a little more compressed and might tend to jump more as it’s a recap of the months after surgery split into the different aspects rather than a chronological look back.

So, surgical drains are a pain, both literally and figuratively. I had to keep the second in a week beyond what was necessary, mostly due to trying to find someone who could remove it. I will say that it was ultimately for the best, but in that moment all I wanted was to have it removed. My G.P was the one to remove it and, not getting too graphic, I was given a first hand-view of just how large and long that drain was. I’ve heard of the viper in your bosom, but the snake in your…anyway, as soon as it was removed, relatively painless, though I think the longer it stays in the more it wants to stay, I was standing much straighter immediately. I can’t tell you of the relief, there was a fear that I might end up needing to get my abdomen drained or another drain put in, a very extreme contingency, but your mind goes to all the worst scenarios. A jump to the future can cure you of any fears, everything was fine after and here was no need for anything to be done. So there I was still bound and bandaged, but much more mobile and starting to feel myself again.

Excuse the messy kitchen. The studio was busy (And imaginary).

It is hard to revisit these little pockets of time, they’re self-contained, you feel in the moment they exist that that’s it, this is life, then the bubble bursts and you find yourself in another. I’ve possibly said it before, but it really does feel as if you’d lived lifetimes in those short few months post surgery. The next big event was the formation of pressure sores due to the binder. To cut it down, what happened was I had to visit the hospital for an examination, the head surgeon came in to see me, which surprised the person examining me, as I’ve said, though it bears repeating, I’ve been extremely fortunate in the kindness of everyone involved, found out it’s a common thing when something that bulky, remember I had two binders on, is pressing into something numb. The nurses took care of me and I later started to remove the binder periodically which lessened the pressure and once it came off the sores healed in a flash. I’d like to talk about the binder in more detail. Not like you can stop me, heh.

A binder is an elasticated compression garment. I had to wear two due to my my size and the swelling. It was only when I neared the end of my need that I was able to wear just one, but I’ll get to that. I didn’t know anything about binders until I had to wear two for several months. The best advice is the same as I found early on and that is simply: Wear your binder. It will be itchy, perhaps smelly, it will probably cause pressure sores, but it will help you heal, keep you supported and I tell you honestly that I needed that support. In the very early stages after surgery even removing it for a few minutes was a mixture of anxiety and tired strain. I’ll never forget the first time I had it removed, lying on my back seeing my new stomach for the first time, then you jump ahead a few months and I was terrified to sleep without it, but managed, a month later again I had weaned myself off it and the muscles were strong. I may be repeating myself here, but I’m sure a lot of the people reading this or having heard it still know little about it. I wore those binders alongside a pair of compression stockings for so long that it feel like they were a permanent part of the new me. Now? It’s slowly fading away, I can hardly imagine being bound up like that. Strange how the mind copes and forgets, isn’t it, dear reader? To wean myself off it I started slow, as per the surgeons advice. I took it of at night, and yes you do feel as if your stomach will fall off, no joke, then left it off in the mornings after a week for a few hours, which was exhausting, both mentally and physically. Slowly I can to be able to do without, using it as needed, until a month or more later I was more comfortable without than with. Once it was off the pressure sores healed and that was the end of bandages and binders.

So, where am I now? Well, the scars are still itchy, the muscles still a little tender, slightly swollen, worsening as the day progress or as my activity increases, but the scars are softening. I have itching inside which is unpleasant. It means nerves are regrowing. For a while it was hard and swollen, now it’s softening and less swollen. Still, I haven’t taken a single pain killer since the one after the surgery. It’ll be a full year before I’m back to where I was, better really. I have further surgeries to go, the new year will start the appointments again and then I find where I go from here. There may well be more to share in my little story, that’ll be for another day, dear reader. For now, I just look after myself and give myself the peace of a little forgetfulness. I’ll buy clothes that I could never wear, have a hope for the future I haven’t had in a long time and start to realise that there is an end to this, it will take years, but there will be a finish.

Thanks for reading.

When Did This Road Smooth Out?

Yo, dear reader, it’s getting near the eight year mark of my beginning this journey, so I figured I’d ramble on way too long, alienate my audience by sheer boredom and maybe, just maybe, make a few interesting observations. I’ve told my story countless times, I’ve talked pain, time and time again, lord knows there’s enough pain in my past to pad out countless posts. That’s not why I’m here today, let the past stay the past for now. Instead I’m realising that things have really settled down. I’m at a stage where I’m now finding my healthy lifestyle more natural than what came before. It’s not to say that it isn’t difficult, but the more I push forward, the more of the old me I slough off, the less there is to hold me back. I still have my problems, too numerous and personal to spill all over this post, but I’m doing well. I feel now that I’m further away in life from what I was than the time I spent living those days. If that makes sense then bless your heart, dear reader, you’re a better me than me. To put it more coherently I’d say it’d be harder to get back to where I was than to stay where I am now.

Rub, sauce, stuffing, side.

I really think that the tipping point has been the abdominoplasty. I was held in a kind of limbo, closer to a hell, and when I finally reached that goal it gave me a push ahead, I couldn’t go on without it. It’s funny how we always feel these life changing events should greatly change a person. It’s the fantasy, or fallacy, dear reader, that people are binary, there are flawed and then suddenly perfect. A switch is flipped and you have a story to tell. I blame a lot on reality television, there are probably other reasons we assume this kind of simplistic sequence in regards emotional epochs, but I see my journey mirrored on these shows and it’s a mockery of reality, but people consume it and enjoy the simplistic empathy. Bitter? Sure, heh, but this has always been my journey, shared with whom I want, as much or as little as I see fit. It’s just the further in I have travelled the better able I am to decide how much to share and how much to hold back. It’s like this, dear reader: You think you know everything, then you realise you don’t, you peel away a layer and reveal a truth, you then have a choice: To cover it back up and deny or move forward with it as a truth, finding more and more layers. Life is complex, simple and just a mess of contradictions and confusion. Just keep scrapping at those layers, you can learn a lot from persistence. And listen, when people talk, not just what they say but why.

Rice, Fries, Tahini (With Turmeric), Jerk (Not you).

So, back to food, this is occasionally a food blog, If I can borrow a metaphor then in-regards food I’ve been layering. I started knowing nothing, but over the years I’ve  added to my understanding greatly. I’m not going to be a chef or some great foodie, dear reader, but I have kept my weight off, improved my health greatly and just generally learned more in eight years than I did in twenty two. I just kept poking at those layers, what foods could do, how they could be used, never settling on just one point. Never: This food cures that. Then repeating that endlessly. I’m flexible, I can laugh at a food in one breath and then use it in the next. I’ve had to learn from the bottom, I really knew nothing before I started eating healthy. I didn’t even know what eating healthy meant! Many people don’t, not really, they find what works for them and assume it’s universal. It’s why I’d never say to eat exactly as I do, all I offer is a guideline, this worked for me and maybe you can find something within it to help you. I think that’s vastly more helpful then insisting you adhere to my diet strictly.

I suppose I’ve managed to take the one aspect that has always haunted me, being the odd kid, and turned it into a strength. I’ve no need to rigidly follow rules that I’ve laid out because no one else has to follow them. I didn’t say I followed a diet plan and then lose face when I fail. I just went with broad strokes and did more than most would bother. I’ve started with foods I’d never eaten, used, heard of and made them mine. It’s taken a long time. The garden has helped greatly, a greater appreciation of where food comes from, and not in that general “organic” way we hear too often, an obsession with a label means you limit yourself. If organic vegetables cost too much for you to eat them regularly, then why not just eat cheap vegetables? You’re still eating vegetables and fruit, maybe they’re not perfect, but they’re still better than not having it. Cost is always a factor in these things, some people just can’t afford to eat organic everything and they can feel they’re failing if they buy other vegetables. I avoided that trap, dear reader, and I’m better for it. Buy the best when you can. If you can’t then second best is better than nothing.

I think the biggest benefit of vegetables is the bulk, no not  that kind of bulk!…although…, you can get so much vegetables cheap these days. A shop near me offers a selection that changes twice weekly, a few cents and you can stock up on so much goodness. Learning to prepare and store them is vital, but that’ll come in time. Start with vegetables and fruit, use them, read up on them, pair them with other foods, make all that you can make of them and you’ll make more of yourself in the process. I will say that if you struggle with eating vegetables then reduce your sugar intake, no need to be martyr, but the less sugar I ate the easier it was to eat vegetables. It happens to babies, right? They taste sugar and suddenly they want no part of that puree.  And, no, I’m not a sugar hater, if anything I love the stuff, I just hate how it makes me feel, so don’t mistake this as an easy thing for me to do.

I think you’ll probably face the idea that you need to be great at cooking food to eat a varied diet. You need to be able to match flavours and pair ingredients, right? That helps, sure, but I can’t do that consistently. I’ll often just jam a few different recipes together and eat whatever comes together. You’ll find what tastes suit you and which will keep you eating well and with ease. I have a spice rack that has been mixed and matched so many ways, many successful, some decent and some terrible, but I still couldn’t take a pinch of this and that make a make a meal that transcends home cooking. It’s not in me, but in using spices and herbs, nuts and seeds and so much else I’m giving myself a variegated fuel to run on. I’ll toss tahini with citrus and salt onto a spiced chicken breast, add a side and dump some sauce over it. It fills me, sustains me, keeps me healthy and well balanced, but that doesn’t mean it’s something I’d serve to someone else, but that’s the thing, dear reader, I’m not feeding anyone else and I’m not eating just to enjoy the food. So the more layers, again with the layers, what am I? An onion!?, I can add that are healthy and beneficial, as opposed to delicious and buttery, though that occasionally has a place, the better I am. The great thing about spices, herbs and simple sauces is that they won’t add anything problematic to your meals. Adding cheese or butter in vast quantities would be detrimental to any meal, but tahini? It’s great. I’d much rather eat too much broccoli than eat a small meal of fats and carbs that’d leave me unsatisfied. Many people look at what I eat in shock, but, see I understand what I’m eating. Quantity isn’t universally valuable. The greatest lesson I was taught was that a full stomach of vegetables would be the equivalent of a quarter stomach of fried chicken. You’d lose all the good of the vegetables, and sill need more to fill you. It takes time, but once you start you have all the time in the world. Just don’t go backwards!

Stuffing, again, I have a lot, Gravy with Redcurrant and Red Onion, Quinoa.

So, yeah, that’s my little ramble, dear reader, perhaps there’s been some worth in there for you, I hope so. The more I settle in life, the less there is to draw up for conversation. Hopeful I’ll always have something to talk about here, though. Okay, I’ll see you again soon.

P.S I could try to shoehorn this into the finished post, but we both know that that causes further incoherence and I’ve reached my incoherence quota for today. One thing I do want to further elaborate on is portion sizes. I think there’s a huge misunderstanding of how much, or little as is assumed, you should eat. Don’t think like that, but instead look at what you’re putting into yourself. Do you cover your vegetables in excessive oil? Cheese? Creamy sauces? Then that’s no good, learning to eat things as plainly as possible is best. I used to eat like that, big meals filled with empty calories, but even now my plate is full. Filled with good food. I’m not eating a diner that leaves me hungry because that doesn’t benefit me as I’ll compensate with food throughout the day that may not be as healthy. Just fill your plates with a mixture of foods, the rainbow rule is good here, as unprocessed and basic as possible. Look at what you’re taking in in every ingredient, not just the whole, but the component parts. A gravy is fine, right? Is it just fat and starch? Can it be made healthier is a good question to ask, instead of cutting down replace. I’ve lived the rule that for every bad thing I take out of my diet there’ll be two good things added. I just want to see the myth of starvation die out. I had to cut my calories, a lot, but I was grossly over-weight and coupled with that I was eating crap. Not just in meals, but in between, because I looked at the end result of what I was eating, a curry was just a curry, not seen as the components that made it up: Processed starches, flours, oils etc, that makes a huge difference. It’s why I’ve scattered my meals throughout this post. You can eat plenty and be healthy and happy, you just have to be smart and I really believe if you’re willing to start then you can’t be stupid. Okay now I’m done.

Facing Your Truths: Starting a Healthier Lifestyle

I may have inadvertently blown my notes away. Considering the state of my handwriting that might not be the greatest loss. Okay, deep breath and…that’s how it happened! I’m being jocular because I’m doing another of those ever tiresome, dull posts where I talk about health and well being and we all end up bored to almost death. Why do them then? Because I’m a contentious idiot and any contention to that fact will be blown away too. It’s very easy to tell when I’m being serious as the puns start to drop away and you peek behind the curtain of the Jack facade. No, no, much like Santa Claus Jack is indeed real and apt to break into your home at any time, so have no fear, dear reader, or lots, depends on how you look at it.

I wish I could’ve been more systematic with these diatribes, kidding, I’m not angry…just bitter, but they come of sudden realizations and epiphanies that need to be taken down quickly lest hey be forgotten. I’ve often talked about the struggle f talking about health whilst keeping in mind all the possible human variables. There are many struggles, many people and many reasons to do and not to do. Doo be do be do. What I oten struggle with is trying to keep an open mind to everything, whilst also making sure I don’t inadvertently offering an excuse for someone not o even start on their journey. I realized that in all of this I have often placed myself at he helm and tried to steer every conversation with myself talking all blame i anything should be put wrong. Then I thought again, what was it that pushed me to such success and, yes, I’m learning o view them that way. I’m sitting here with a new bellybutton, richly earned, ten and a half stone lighter than I was. What did I do to start this? Well.

I faced my truth. I needed to lose weight and I needed to keep it off. Simple right? No, not so simple. I could find a multitude of fad diets that once failed would give me ammunition to fire back at my detractors. I could find excuse after excuse if I just looked. Mocking of healthy lifestyles, extremists in those same lifestyles, just sheer pigheadedness would have gotten me far or, rather, nowhere at all. So many comfortably lies that I could choose to believe and that would enable me to take no action, to wallow in my denial. So, when I see myself falling into the role of excuse destroyer, smashing them out of the air as fast as they come into my mind so as to help others facing those same excuses I realize that I could do that until the end of my days and not help a single soul. Not a solitary sausage. Excuses are endless and easy, comfortable as they are dangerous. I don’t even need to give any examples as you surely know them already, we all do.

Instead, I will, as I have been doing, check the weight-loss tag, it’s more healthy lifestyle advice but that not what people search most, is it?, tell you what I faced, what I had to do, why I did it and where I’m going and have gone. Firstly you have to face the truth. Accept what it is that you need to do, before anything else realize you need to know where you stand. You’re not unique, nor are you an oddity for needing to change your life. Many people would do well to look at themselves critically, but that’s them and we’re us. Am I still Jack? Here I sit, dear reader, a huge scar, future surgeries and peace of mind. For the first time in almost eight years I’m at peace with this body of mine. We’ve come to this place with so much hard graft, so much sweat and tears and pain and joy and everything else, but the first step is the most important. I assume you know what that is, right, dear reader?

Hospital Stay With Multiple Food Allergies/Intolerances

Hey, that title might be boring, but it’s better than: You Can’t Eat A Bed-pan, right? Now, before I begin, I already have? Oh, well, anyway, this isn’t a strict guide, it’s more of a recap of what I did that worked when I was in for my abdominoplasty. You know me, dear reader, I can’t eat out and I can’t just buy food. It’s very hard, I’m at one of those low-times when it’s getting to me. Hence this post, I might as well put my work into words that might be of benefit to someone else. Who knows? As with all these types of posts this is just me, my own personal experiences with honesty running through them. This is just a discussion and look-back at what I did rather than a to-do guide. Whatever you take will have to be restructured to fit your diet and lifestyle. I’ll include a few recovery tips in here too, this is going to be pretty loose and informal. Just remember that everybody and every body is different and what suits one won’t necessarily suit another. Listen to your surgeons and doctors first, your nurses next, then Jack and then everyone else. Kidding, but seriously listen and take notes, you won’t remember it all and it can blur, take that as the first tip. You’re not that good that you’ll remember every detail and after a barrage of the same questions you’ve answered a dozen times before your head won’t be in the game fully.

I’m going from both before the surgery, my first major one, and also the after, that’s double the knowledge, it’s Jack squared! Or, rather it’s the knowledge of what was actually useful rather than just what I tried. This is the second run through, not he unholy first where I only had one week, I still have black rings under my eyes thanks to that. The one big thing I did was to get as much into the freezer as I could in the time I had. Breads, buns, dinners, everything that I knew would be okay for after, in other words nothing likely to cause an upset stomach or to aggravate an already troubled stomach, remember you’ll probably be on pills that might not agree with you. I never took any painkillers, but the antibiotics I was on really tore through me. A good set of meals already made meant I could stick to my diet and eat without much fuss. You can’t be sure how you’ll feel afterwards, you may not be able to make your own meals everyday, you might have help or not. What I wish I’d done is had a few sauces and frozen sides ready. Quinoa reheats really well, rice I had in, but should’ve prepared a bit more. I had stocked up on turkey mince, much easier to prepare than cutting chicken. Though I was eating steak a few days home. Heh. As always I have blanched vegetables by the pound already stuffed in the freezer so that wasn’t a problem.

I really believe that my diet has helped the recovery, there’s no way I’d heal so well a few years ago. It won’t speed it up dramatically and have you back long before you should be, but it’ll mean that you’ll possibly suffer less complications and be in the best shape you can be in the circumstances. Now, as for the stay itself. The idea is similar. Anything that can be eaten cold is king here. Any breads will work. I prepared a bag of mixed breads, cookies and crackers, froze them in sets and had them brought up. For dinners I had cold pasta or cold quinoa, each with chicken and a cold nut/seed sauce. I’m being vague because this will depend largely on what you’re willing to eat cold. These aren’t pleasant options, but they’re the best that were available to me and I was damn glad to be able to eat so well in the hospital. If you, like me, just have no choice what I suggest is making a few trials before you go for the real thing. Freeze a few dinners, get on Google and search for freezer suitable cold lunches, there’s so much that can be defrosted and eaten cold. No matter your restrictions if you’re willing to suffer a slightly bland meal you can eat well, eat healthy and eat nutritious food that will again aid in your recovery. Best way to plan it is the less flavour it has, the less it can lose. That might sound counter-intuitive, but I tell you the honest truth when I say the more spiced and flavoured the meals when it went in the freezer the harder it was to choke them down once defrosted. I had someone bringing these in to me daily, also a yoghurt and a packet of chia seeds. I was never hungry and only had trouble with my blood pressure once, I think I forgot to eat. It’s scary, but more than doable if you research and trial.

Now, I was offered help with planning a meal plan of sorts, I was very grateful, but I didn’t need it. They were willing to start from scratch to help me, so if you can try contacting the hospital beforehand and see what’s available. I was anxious that this might cause issues so I asked beforehand, they said it was no problem and at no point was it anything more than mild interest when questions arose. You probably won’t eat after the surgery, for me I’m ready to eat whenever so the day after I was stuffing cold pasta into my face. This was the biggest issue for me staying in the hospital. One more tip would be to over-prepare just in case anything happens and you have to stay longer. I was told I’d be in five days and prepared eight dinners. It was just the five days, but the three days grace meant peace of mind for me.

One thing you might be able to do is to have a list ready, with pictures if necessary, of brands and foods that you can eat.  I had a baggie of nuts and a few nut butter bars with some fruit leather ready. One at home and one with me. Again, you may not need this, but having a list ready means that the people supporting you will have a much easier time getting what you need to you. Fresh fruit is a must as well. Every time I took a tablet, which I hate, do it regardless, I was either sticking fruit in my gob, nut-bars in my mouth or bread in my pie-hole. You can sink into sickness in the hospital, just feeling off in there can be draining and it’s all too easy to let yourself go and turn into a sickie. I saw it happen across from me, the man in that bed was fussed over, felt sorry for himself and slowly started to get sicker and more whiny. Staying healthy is mental as well as physical each helps with the other. Speaking of the mind, you may go out of yours stuck in the hospital. These next tips are probably petty well know, but you’d be amazed at what you never think of or what turns out to be useless when you’re in.

Music wasn’t as much help as you’d imagine, the problem is when you’re besieged by nurses trying to do their jobs. Reading was a little better, but it can be hard to get your focus so keep it light and airy. Put down that copy of War and Peace. You may end up throwing at the noisy machine in the night. What was a godsend was a book of crosswords and word-searches a friend brought in. They’re fast and keep your mind active enough to be distracting. I also kept a journal of my stay. Mostly taking down whatever I was told about the surgery, what I had to do and what might happen. You can also record anecdotes and stories. It again keeps your mind off things. A hospital stay can be distressing, the more comfort you can supply yourself with the better you’ll have it. Just think fast and easy to stop and resume frequently. You’ll be hit with a deluge of information and it can be extremely hard to keep it all in mind.

As you can see the food issues are just a small part of the whole. An important part and one that can be dismissed too easily. You can’t be sure how a surgery will affect you. No matter how young or strong you are it can topple even the best. Not everyone is an ideal patient like Jack. Not everyone is so wonderfully humble. My last bit of advice is to be patient, listen to your body and realise the time you take in taking care of yourself now is an investment in your future well being. Don’t be an idiot in other words. None of us are immortal, no matter how much we might feel it. Take the time to prepare beforehand, to stay healthy and happy during and to heal afterwards. It’s worth it, dear reader, it really is.

Binders, Bellybuttons and Betterment

Yo, dear reader, it is I: Winter-Jack! I know it’s not Winter yet, but Jack-lite sounds like a terrible diet soda. I might be effervescent, bubbling over with stories to relate, but I am not available in a six-pack or a sugar-free version. Jack is one and only and oh so sweet. The garden is receding into itself, slowly turning into a hibernating heart-break. I have healing to do so it’s all for the best really. Yes, I’m back again talking tummy-tucks, which doesn’t have the same ring as abdominoplasty, tucked nothing, dear reader, I have the scars to attest to it. Though, unless you’re peeking in my windows, you’re not going to see it. I might have a way with words and occasionally rely on pictures you’ll now have to take my word that the only pictures you’ll get will be conjured up by your minds eye. Jack likes his privacy and I know I’ll be respected. On the other hand, any questions that you’d like to ask will be answered happily. I have another check-up tomorrow, all is well, but still anxiety is bobbing up and down in the waters of my mind and I’d like to keep those water still so I’ll type my troubles away.

This is all so new, once in a lifetime really, so it can be overwhelming. It’s hard to pinpoint parts to relate. So let us, you and I, dear reader, wander down that meandering road to a maundering typed up talk. A digital discussion, or soliloquy, rather, you ever mute, much beloved, rhetorical device. The numbness seems to have faded or the feeling returned, whichever you like, numbness lessening sounds strange in a way. Which makes my constant companion the abdominal binder more wearisome. Five week friends. That’s us. A twenty four seven helper, it does help though, but you still start to feel it digging and rubbing, especially as I seem to have full feeling around if not fully inside. Hard to tell what my insides feel like. Though, I am realising with horrifying surety, that I could feel the divide at times when it was there. Speaking of that, I can’t believe the freedom of movement I’m enjoying even while still tight inside and bound outside. The difference in not have those muscles constantly pulling up and in, the hanging skin swinging. I may be a much more mobile Jack in the garden next year, dear reader.

Looking at it all is still strange, I haven’t had a non-protruding stomach in so long, over a decade and a half is the guess, so I’m honestly struggling to see it as fully myself. There is still swelling, it’s early days, but compared to what it was it’s honestly unbelievable. It’s going to have to be taken in stages, when the binder finally comes off, I’m hoping soon, but being smartly weary, it’s going to feel as if I’ve removed a part of myself. Like the stockings it’s going to fade quickly and I’ll wonder what the fuss was. There are so many individual stages, each feeling as if it were a gulf that could never be crossed and once passed it’s fades so quickly in the mind that you’re unsure it ever existed. I am keep notes of everything for the future. I still can’t fully laugh, cough or sneeze. I am getting back to normal in some ways, hard to imagine that a few weeks ago it was a herculean effort to get up from a chair, but now I slide forward and, gently, spring forth, or rather, get up. I think I’ll be able to walk faster too, I sometimes speed up without realising, it’s still tiring to walk a lot, but the very tired spells seem to have passed. I’m standing straight with ease too, a slight tightness exists still, but compared to the effort it took to stand upright fully, six pounds of skin and busted muscles made it so much work, this is nothing.

I’m eating well, healing well and feeling good, here are occasional downs, but that’s a given. All things in time, dear reader. I’ll leave it at that for today, take care of yourself.

Still About No Doubt

As you might have seen, the About page has transformed into My Journey To Better Health. I was having issues adding a new page, so instead I replaced it. This is my story, almost nine thousand words. It’s been requested often and I felt that now was the time to share, so if you’d like to  read about me, you can do so there. Take care, dear reader.