An open letter to Orville Redenbacher

Dear Mr. Redenbacher,

May I call you Orville? It’s such an odd name, my fingers are twitching for the opportunity to use it. Orville, Orville, Orville, Orville, Orville… Sorry. I kinda went off into my own little world there.

Like manna from heaven

Like manna from heaven

Let me start off the actual letter part of my letter by saying, I am a huge fan. I have to say, it’s not solely your products, I am partial to some of your competitor’s products as well. But you do make some pretty damn nifty popcorn.  I enjoy delicious popcorn as a satisfying snack when watch TV with my husband, The Zen Master, or even just toodling around the house on a Saturday afternoon. It’s crunchy and easy to prepare and can be dressed so many different ways. There are a gazillion microwave varieties but I have to say, I prefer to make mine from the kernel, in a big pot on the stove top. It requires a bit more patience and vigilance, but there is something so satisfying about listening to 1/4 cup of hard, dry little kernels exploding into a whole pot full of delicious goodness.  Cabot Cheese makes this cheese shaker thingy especially for you and your competitors. You pop the popcorn (honestly, I love even saying that… it’s so… exuberant) then drizzle a little melted butter (or, if you’re watching your cholesterol, olive oil) on it and then shake the cheese to your heart’s content. Crap. I totally just drooled on my keyboard. The result is real cheese popcorn, not the stuff from the bag that looks wilted and is colored a shade of orange not actually produced outside a chemistry lab. And of course, that’s only one preparation out of thousands. Kettle corn? Nuff said.

This is how my guts look now. Except more visceral. (funny right?)

This is how my guts look now. Except more visceral. (funny right?)

Here’s the thing…

 I’m going to have to respectfully withdraw myself from your customer base. As much as I adore hot popcorn with butter and salt and garlic powder… Dammit! More drool! It does not, under any circumstances, with any kind of topping, adore me. You see, about 5 years ago, I had a type of weight loss surgery called a Duodenal Switch. I am very happy with my decision, I’ve lost over 200lbs and kept (most of) it off. The thing about the DS (which is how I shall refer to this surgery henceforth), is that my digestive system is… Odd. I have about 75cm of small intestine that actually absorbs the food I eat. This makes for great weight loss. It also makes for other issues. Since I no longer digest certain foods the way a normal person does. I tend to have a lot of problems with white flour. Gluten=Gas. And if I eat too much fat, the bathroom situation becomes… Let’s just say, unpleasant.

Since popcorn is a gluten-free food, I have long thought the problems I’d experienced after eating it were related to some other thing I ate. Apparently not.

~ppppppppfffffffftt~

~ppppppppfffffffftt~

For some reason, when I eat popcorn, within 10-15 minutes, my abdomen bloats up like a nervous pufferfish. And it hurts. Bad. I’m left curled up on the bed with my ass in the air, hoping, since gas moves up easier than down, that it will travel my intestinal highway with haste and give me some relief (although my family would not be so lucky). I’ve actually briefly pondered poking myself with a knitting needle to let the air escape that way, it hurts that bad. And the toppings I favor don’t help either. The amount of butter I put on my popcorn would make a cardiologist faint. Since I only absorb 20% of the fat that I eat, I tend not to worry about such things. Put your thinking cap on… If I absorb only 20% of the fat I eat, and I eat a large bowl of popcorn with 4Tbl (yes, that’s tablespoons, not teaspoons) of melted butter, then approximately 3.2Tbl of the butter goes… Yes. Gross right? Uncomfortable too. And I’m embarrassed to say, there have been times in the past such overindulgence has later necessitated a wardrobe change. And a pair of undies in the trash. Because there’s really no coming back from that.

 Was that a complete overshare? My apologies, I seem to be prone to that.

So anyway… What I’m saying… I’ll miss you. Terribly. I will never again watch a movie without wistfully remembering the good times, when popcorn didn’t mercilessly tear up my insides like I’d swallowed Freddy Kreuger. Oh my. That sounded dirty.

I appreciate your hard work. Keep up the deliciousness, even though I can no longer partake!

 

~sigh~

~sigh~

 

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Taking the blame…

Because it’s totally my fault. I’m the one who was a complete slacker for 2, no, make that 3 years and completely neglected my bariatric surgery post-op supplements. I was supposed to take multiple supplements and get my labs checked every 6 months so I could adjust supplementation as needed. But I didn’t. The whole time we were trying to get pregnant, through the pregnancy and 10 months after I gave birth, I did nothing. I was even shitty about taking the prenatal vitamins.

So now, after 5 months of 40, yes that would be FORTY PER DAY various  vitamins and mineral caplets, capsules, pills and tabs, I have gotten most of my levels back to almost normal. Some of them are still not great, but not awful.

Except for 2. Two very important ones. My calcium level is still low, and now my PTH (parathyroid hormone) is very high which means the calcium is getting leached out of my bones. So that’s not good. I’m now taking as much calcium as my body will absorb in a day (2 giant horse pills, 3x a day) and they’ll check it again in a bit.

The other one… Here’s the kicker. My iron level is low. Very low. And I’m anemic. Which I have known since November. What I didn’t know was just how anemic I am. Apparently, if I don’t get my numbers up,  they won’t clear me for my surgery on April 10. So tomorrow, I get to go to the hospital and have a 6 hour iron infusion. And, because it takes awhile for the iron to get absorbed by the red blood cells, it may not be enough to raise my HCT (hematocrit) and Hgb (hemoglobin) to a level that would clear me for surgery.

So that’s another day off work. And I am currently scrambling around to see if I can find someone to watch The Peach when I go into the hospital tomorrow because The Zen Master has to work and My Mom has to go with me. And normally, it’d be no biggie to take her to Burlington with us but the sound I woke up to this morning was ~hyuuuuuuck… SPLAT~ and then cursing from The Zen Master as he hustled her into her bedroom to change clothes while she continued to puke down the hallway.  My poor, sweet little girl spent the entire day throwing up everything she swallowed (which after the first round of barf was just water). The idea of bringing a continuously vomiting toddler on an hour long car-ride and then sitting around with her for 6 hours is not particularly appealing. And My Mom wanting to run some errands while I was being doctored seems unlikely at this point.

We’ll see. I am anticipating feeling icky since the majority of accounts of iron infusions I’ve read on the web have pointed in that general direction with a varying degree of discomfort. I am nervous about the procedeure, but honestly, way more nervous that I’ll be forced to postpone the surgery and have to deal with this pain for another month.

Weird to the core

I know I’m odd…

But just to clarify… I have medical confirmation that I am really NOT normal.

Okay, so a lot of people have some strange medical problems. I’m just frequently surprised that some of mine are so… weird. And more than one…

Okay, first… My DS. Not particularly strange as it goes, but one of the more unusual types of weight loss surgery. When I see a new medical provider, I generally have to bring in a fact sheet about my surgery because half of them don’t have any idea what it is and the other half think it’s similar to the gastric bypass. Which it is not. At all. This presents a problem because if the new treating medical professional needs to prescribe any type of medication or provide any type of nutritional information, they are likely to totally screw it up. I can’t take extended release medications, they don’t stay in my system long enough to work. I’m at risk for deficiencies in WAY more things than a bypass patient. It’s generally useless for me to take anything other than a dry form of fat-soluable vitamins because I only absorb 20% of the fat I eat. I actually NEED a moderate amount of fat in my diet because of that. So when a nutritionist tells me to buy the low-fat cheese or eat turkey burgers instead of ground beef, I will generally stop seeing them because they clearly don’t get it. Do you know what happens if I eat a turkey burger? Neither do I because I’m not able to eat more than a bite. You see, low-fat, “lean” meats are drier and more dense and I am generally nauseous and in pain after one mouthful (was that a “that’s what she said?” Eh… Maybe). Low-fat cheese gives me gas and let’s face it, I really don’t need any more of that. I don’t get “dumping” symptoms like a gastric bypass patient because my pyloric valve is still intact and in use. The pyloric valve regulates how quickly food goes from your stomach into your small intestine. “Dumping” (gross term right?) happens because the pyloric valve is bypassed and the food you eat gets “dumped” directly into your small intestine where sugar is absorbed at a much faster rate. This creates a fast spike in blood sugar, followed by a fast plunge and the person experiences dizziness, nausea, passing out and all those fantastic symptoms that come along with a low blood sugar (and we know ALL about that). That doesn’t happen with me. Which means I can eat sweets without getting massively sick. Which might not be a great thing since I DO absorb all the carbs I eat. Regardless… 2 entirely different surgeries. And mine is much more uncommon and is, in fact, not even performed in this state. Good thing about it, and the reason why I chose this surgery? Long-term success rate. After 5 years, I am still at my goal weight. There are not a lot of gastric bypass patients who can say that.

Umm… Forgot where I was going with this… Oh right. I’m weird.

Second thing- I have really weird allergies. Like rare weird shit that I (again) have to explain to doctors. I have an opioid allergy. A real honest to god allergy. Common- Opioid intolerance; stomach aches, headaches, fogginess, sleepiness, etc. Less Common- Opioid pseudoallergy; itchiness, redness, asthmatic exacerbation, sneezing, low blood pressure, mild or localized hives. Extremely rare- Opioid allergy; all of the same symptoms as the pseudoallergy with the addition of… more severe and widespread (systemic) hives, rapid swelling in the face, mouth or tongue, difficulty breathing and possible anaphylaxis. That last one? I’ve exhibited all those symptoms except the anaphylaxis (thank god, that one’s life-threatening).

I also have problems (not an allergy) with whey protein (in most of the protein drinks you get) and soy. And mangos make me itchy.

Oh, and apparently… I’ve developed a localized allergy to the red ink in the tattoo on my calf. Which in itself is not super uncommon, but the fact that I’m developing the allergy after 10 years? Very weird. It’s incredibly itchy, bumpy and looks kind of like I got a bunch of bug bites, but only in the red areas. My ever-knowledgeable Google research said there’s pretty much nothing I can do short of having the tattoo removed and my skin will gradually just push the red ink out of my skin and after awhile the itching will be gone as well as all the red in the tat.

Yeah, cuz that’s totally normal.

Third- heterotopic pregnancy. I’d prefer not to explain that one again.

Fourth… So, these are just random things, and I’m not really sure how uncommon they are and most of them are total overshares… I don’t have a lot of body hair. Likely related to that, I don’t have a lot of body odor. My TMJ in itself isn’t unusual, but the severity of it is. I didn’t have acne as a kid but I have it pretty bad as an adult (not super uncommon actually). Trichotillomania. Fun one yes? It’s technically not true trichotillomania since that disorder is related specifically to pulling one’s hair out. I just pick. Constantly. At everything. My cuticles, my face, the peeling paint on the wall. It’s compulsive and most of the time, completely unconscious. I’ll be sitting at my desk and all of a sudden notice I have blood on my fingertips because I’ve been sitting at my desk, absently picking at a bump on my face untill it bled. The wall next to my bed at My Parents’ house in Florida had a patch, approximately 2 feet in diameter, completely devoid of wallpaper because I had peeled it all off. One miniscule strip at a time. And if I notice and try to stop myself by say, sitting on my hands in a staff meeting? I start to panic.  Honest, true, heart racing, breaking out in a sweat, breathing fast panic.

Did I prove my point yet?

My morning so far…

Cough, cough, hack…. Ewwwwwwww.

Zen Master leaves for work.

Peach in the walker in the living room while I lay on the couch trying to regain consciousness.

Sesame Street
Elmo’s World (gag)

Goldfish and Cheerios

For The Peach… Because next for me?

Fasting labs.

Pee in a cup, 13 vials of blood.

“Oops! Sorry, I need 2 more.”

image

Pick up Princess Punk.

Grocery Shopping.

Blueberry pancakes…

Post.

It’s not even 11 yet.

Am I allowed to go back to bed now?

Happy Holidaze…

smiley-embarrassedI just noticed I haven’t posted since Thanksgiving.

Whoops.

Been a teeny bit busy…

Not really an excuse but oh well…

It’s that time of year I guess. And not even the whole Christmas thing because honestly? Haven’t done a damn thing in regards to decorating or meal planning or gift buying. M758It’s mostly the fact that because of the holidays, other stuff tends to get bunched up and create these giant bottlenecks where I end up driving 160 miles in one day because Princess Punk has 3 doctor appointments at various places in Burlington and I have to drive from work, to the school and back again because The Zen Master has to take Bertha the Beater in because his headlight not only went out but actually melted the socket it screws into.

Princess Punk tells me after their first practice that Basketball started up last week (surprise!). And just to add a little spice to my week, The Princess has practice at 5:45AM on Mondays and Thursdays because the high schoolers use the gym after school. Hazard of living in a small town; the middle school and high school are in the same building and spaces like auditoriums and gymnasiums are shared. And because Princess Punk is stinky on a good day, she has to be one of the first girls there in order to lay claim to a shower stall so she can wash off the funk before she goes to class.

restlessleg3_s600x600

I have to swallow THAT?
That’s what she said…

I’m apparently anemic. Which would explain a hell of a lot of the exhaustion I’ve had lately. I finally had by vitamin levels checked, something which I am supposed to do every 6 months. Last time I did it? Before we started fertility treatments. So I was a little overdue. I have to take I’m supposed to take a ton of vitamin supplements because of my surgery. Because the amount of my small intestine that is actually in use is so small, I don’t absorb a lot of what I eat. I keep something like 40-50% of the protein, 20% of the fat, 60% of complex carbs and every freaking gram of sugar I eat. Which is awesome for losing weight and keeping it off. Not awesome for vitamin absorbtion though. I have trouble accross the board really, but I tend to get deficiencies in the B vitamins and A, D, E and K, which are all the fat soluable ones. Don’t absorb fat, don’t absorb those. So in order to keep my vitamin levels where they should be I should be taking a bunch of supplements every day. I haven’t been so all my numbers were pretty much in the toilet. Ew. Anyhow, I started up my supplements again and, including my psych meds, I am now taking over 30 pills a day. Sweet.

Work is picking up… Rapidly. November was very slow (through no fault of my own, just an ebb in the ebb and flow) but apparently all the work that didn’t come in last month is beating down the proverbial door to get in before Christmas. December promises to be full throttle through til the new year. Or until the world ends… But I’m not going to count on that as an excuse to slack off.

Then, because of the upcoming holidays, it’s crafts fair season. Normally this means absolutely bupkis to me but since My Mom is now a “crafter” (I dunno, is that what you call it?) she has signed up for a table at 2 events. One was this past Saturday actually… She did pretty good. Anyway, in order to sorta pay her back a little bit for all the free childcare, I’ve been helping her out, schlepping stuff and manning the table with her and pricing and all kinds of things. Which is fun and a nice way to spend time with her, but it’s another “to-do” to add to the list along with everything else.

Finances are sucking right now… The Zen Master is laid off for the next 3-4 weeks and I overspent on groceries… AGAIN. Because I am an asshole.

IMAG1014

Duuuuuuuuuude…

The Peach is cutting molars. And she has become somewhat grabby and extremely opinionated. If she grabs something she’s not supposed to have (which is constantly) and you tell her no, she will cheerfully take it out of her mouth (because of course that’s where everything goes) and hand it to you. Most of the time. If she decides it is something she would really prefer to keep thank you very much, she will grip it tightly in her slobbery little hand, grit her teeth (literally, you can hear it),grimace and squeal. Loudly. If you succeed in prying it from her grasp at this point, she will either put on The Pout and squeeze out a few crocidile tears or scream and arch her back and flail around like you just stepped on her toe. And she’s still not sleeping in her crib for at least a few hours each night. She is ridiculously effing cute though.

I am at my workplace at the moment, not officially “at work” since my day technically ended 20 minutes or so ago, but sitting here waiting for the guy who is going to fix the exhaust on my car (again) to get home from work. Since he lives around the corner it’s kinda stupid for me to go home and then come back, so I basically wait here until 5 then go sit in his living room while he welds a patch to the joint on the exhaust pipe for $35 an hour instead of me paying the repair shop $800 plus labor to replace it. It’s worth sitting here for an hour.

Oh and I’m in the process of switching over my laptop so I don’t have much of a computer at the moment. My lovely friend, GeekMom was given a kickass gaming laptop from her honey and she is giving me her old one. She actually has several “old” ones, all of which are newer, faster and better than mine. She’s having her friend wipe it clean and install Windows8 and Office on it and is sending it shortly along with some clothes for Princess Punk and The Peach. So I’ll be giving The Princess my old POS laptop for Christmas. After I spend a little bit on it and get a new battery and cord and then wipe it clean and make sure there’s no… “Inappropriate material” on it. Oh, and install some MAJOR parental control software…

So yeah. Busy. Still.

I told The Zen Master that I need a vacation. His response?

Nice. Thanks Sweetie.

Nice. Thanks Sweetie.

Time to pull it together…

So obviously, I haven’t been posting much lately. (Duh) As I may have mentioned, I’ve been a tad busy as of late. Honestly, I don’t seem to be under more stress than normal but I do seem to be letting it get to me a little more than usual. This is not a bipolar thing (at the moment anyway) it seems to be related to the pain crap. See, I’m allergic to narcotics. Like actually, break out into hives, lips swelling, feeling like my skin is on fire allergic. This apparently is not super common. Generally people who say they have an allergy to something like vicodin or codeine don’t have an actual allergy, just an adverse reaction (stomach issues, sleepiness, fogginess etc.). Me? Nope… When I had my weight loss surgery 4 years ago, they actually had to stop mid-surgery to give me an anti-histamine and steroid because I had broken out into hives about an hour in from the fentanyl. Anyway… I went through that whole explanation to say that my current pain relief meds consist of an NSAID (like advil or aleve) that is so strong I have to take something to coat my stomach with it and Ativan at night which is in the same family as valium. My PCP has assured me that the Ativan is out of your system within 6 hours but the past week or so I have been going about my business like a space cadet on the wrong planet. Not to mention the fact I find it extremely difficult to wake up in the morning and it takes me forever to get going. And all day long I am kinda sleepy but not really tired. Just… drugged. It’s not a feeling I particularly enjoy. I’m still functioning and everything and the pain is definitely better (think severe thunderstorm as opposed to hurricane) but I just seem to be processing things a bit slower. And I don’t seem to be handling the clusterf*ck stress that is the reality of my everyday life as nonchalantly as I am generally able to.

This is one of the reasons I’ve not been posting. Because I am finding it difficult to form coherent thoughts in the midst of the drug-induced fog and inevitable pain and discomfort that seems to plague my every waking hour. Damn that sounded all whiney and dramatic didn’t it?

The other reason is time. There is just not enough of it. I’m doing physical therapy twice a week (which is also helping a bit with the pain) and they are offering a short window (about 8 weeks I think) at work where overtime is available. And I am grabbing as much of that as possible. Because finances are tight. Like a size too small skinny jeans straight out of the wash tight. So I am generally out of the house 12-14 hours a day minimum and I when I get home, I feed The Peach and put her to bed, hang out with Princess Punk and if I’m super lucky, have some snuggle time with The Zen Master before we both pass out. Weekends are no better, I grab some more OT on Saturday, clean house, help my parents as much as physically possible and get as much time in with my girls as I can. Cuz I miss my babies. Princess Punk asks to spend the night at my mom’s and I get all sad because I never get to spend time with her anymore and The Peach is growing so fast that I feel like I am missing everything. The Princess and I have been getting along fairly well lately, she totally kicked my ass at Gin Rummy the other day. The Peach is a total freaking dork and never fails to make me laugh. She has just learned how to clap… sorta. She actually ends up looking like a trained seal with epilepsy but it’s still super cute.

Hunh… Maybe I AM more busy than normal.

At least I’ve lost some weight… Who the f*ck has time to eat? And the soft foods diet is… eh. And I gotta admit, I still end up eating stuff I have to chew. With my post-DS protein requirements I honestly cannot give up meat entirely. I have been eating a lot more eggs and beans (as if my gas wasn’t bad enough, sorry Zen Master) but I’m balking at the protein shakes because… Well, frankly because they’re disgusting. There’s only so much scrambled eggs/egg salad/tuna salad/black bean soup/red beans and rice I can take before I need some meat. HAHAHAHAHAHA That’s what she said… Damn, that should tell you how out of it I am that I didn’t even catch that until I had already written it… Heehee… That was funny though… Yeah. Perv. Dork. Whatever. I digress… Anyway, I’ve found that chicken thighs are not only cheap, but fatty enough to be eaten with minimal chewing when baked instead of broiled or grilled (which cooks off more of the fat). And rice and potatoes (mashed is the nicest to my jaw). I have to confess… my weakness and something I’ve not been able to give up even though they are absolutely horrible for my jaw… Frozen cut string beans. Weird right? Totally my favorite snack and healthy too. I can go through a pound in a day and a half. Definitely not soft food though. But that is the only thing I eat that requires any kind of serious stress on the joint.

So anyhow… I seem to have gotten away from my original thought thread… Wait. What was my original thought thread? Oh right. Not handling stress very well. I am going to try and post more frequently because, as I said before, I kinda need this shit. but it’s probably not going to be everyday and I’m just going to stop feeling guilty about that.

So There.

Okay, so this time I think I was the one to blame.

The camera doesn’t really do it justice.

So I had another happy night on the bathroom floor.

It’s not a stomach bug this time, I’m pretty sure. I say that because, this is what I consumed last night in the 3 hours before bed;

  1. a 6oz hamburger with 2 thick slices of sharp cheddar on a bun
  2. approximately 3 cups of frozen green beans
  3. 1 HUGE bowl of popcorn with tons of butter, salt and garlic powder (imagine a large bag of movie theatre popcorn, then double that)
  4. 1 and 1/2 beers

My surgically altered stomach and intestinal tract decided this was just a bit too much crap for one night.

I was sick and miserable and I spent about 2 hours on the floor hugging the toilet. Yuck. Oh, and this time? I not only broke all the blood vessels around my eyes and across my face, but the awful retching was so violent I also ended up breaking blood vessels all the way down my neck and on my chest as well. At least I had the presence of mind to take out my splint before the purging started. There is no amount of cleaning that would persuade me to put that back in my mouth if it had say, fallen into the toilet or something. Ugggggghhh.

I think I got about an hour of sleep. I look like hell (see above) and feel even worse. My throat is raw, I have a killer headache, my ribs ache and it hurts if I breathe too deeply. I still feel nauseous and I ate a half a piece of toast this morning and decided that food was overrated. I am at work but I highly doubt I will actually make it through the day.

I like this MUCH better than the 2×4 comparison

I have a meeting with Princess Punk’s principal this afternoon which I will have to reschedule. My mom says I look like I got hit in the face with a 2×4 and the last thing I need is The Princess’ school thinking there is abuse in our household. We have enough damn problems with them already. Just so you get a picture of how crappy I feel, I decided to forego coffee this morning. I think an apocalypse might be on the horizon.

The worst part? While it is possible this is some kind of viral thing or food poisoning or something, it is much more likely that I brought this horror on myself. I know better, I really do. I used to eat like that and worse, but I just don’t anymore. Even if I ate that quantity of healthy food, I’d still have issues. The fact that the majority of what I ate was laden with salt and grease just made it all that much more distressing to my now crazy digestive system.

So bleh. AND I forgot to do a real post yesterday.

Nope, but I had about 4 last night.

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