Monday, March 22, 2010

In which I change my blog name, and move it to another site

So please, if you have me bookmarked, change me to this

Friday, March 19, 2010

In which I consider changing my blog name

Dear Three Blog Followers,

Thank you for reading my blog. I appreciate it. Even if you never leave comments, it's good to know that my writing amuses more than just my parents, who think a blog is the least I can do after they paid for my degree in creative writing from the University of Michigan.

That said, I am changing my blog name. (Those of you reading this on Facebook may be shocked to know that I have an blogger account. And that the internet does exist outside the parameters of FB.)

Here are some names I'm thinking about: (Improving the flavor of motherhood!) (The perfect side dish!) (Not crying over it since 2009!) (Just add water!) (Just like the commercial!) (Even though I'm not Italian)

What do you (four) think?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

In which I make my own condiments

Oh, how I love cooking! 

Even though Mineral doesn't eat anything I make -- My Masterpiece does, and Animal and The Informant will nibble. My Chemical Romance likes my food. But forget about them; I love my cooking. Despite eating out a lot as a kid -- I had two working parents and who likes to come home from a hard day to the kitchen? -- at this point I'd rather stay home.

Introducing: Dressing! 

(This was a picture that came up when I googled 'dressing')


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk = 1/2 tbsp white vinegar (or lemon juice) + milk to make 1/2 cup
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil

Whisk together all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.

  • 2 1/2 ounces blue cheese
  • 3 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl, mash blue cheese and buttermilk together with a fork until mixture resembles large-curd cottage cheese. Stir in sour cream, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, and garlic powder until well blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  • 1 tablespoon garlic
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery salt

In a small bowl, mix together the garlic salt, onion powder, sugar, oregano, pepper, thyme, basil, parsley, celery salt and regular salt. Store in a tightly sealed container.

To prepare dressing, whisk together 1/4 white vinegar, 2/3 cup canola oil, 2 tablespoons water and 2 tablespoons of the dry mix.

Meanwhile, if I have one piece of advice about cooking, one thing that has revolutionized my life, it is this: always always ALWAYS marinade your chicken overnight before cooking it. Chicken has a tendency toward dryness, and marinading (I use Italian dressing) makes it so juicy! 

This does require forethought. I usually have to plan chicken meals at least a day in advance. Still, it's worthwhile. I notice a difference in my Garlic Cheese Chicken Roll Ups (my favorite meal) when I don't marinade. 

Meanwhile, I'm going to attempt over the next few weeks to introduce a few vegetarian meals into my repertoire. Vegetarian meals are healthier than meat-based meals; they are also better for the environment. I've found a few on that are supposed to be very tasty. 

Today I had an abdominal and pelvic CT scan at the hospital. I've been having some tummy troubles, and I'm hoping there is some explanation better than my GI doctor throwing up his hands and blaming my weight-loss surgery. Which is what he normally does. Yes, having my guts re-arranged has caused me some issues. So did weighing nearly 300lbs. 

Thursday, March 11, 2010

In which I describe my family

First we have Animal and Mineral. They are twin boys. They have been fighting since they were in utero, when Animal was supposed to be born first. I was told by my doctor that they could not change places. Late in my pregnancy, two weeks before they were born, they did. (Thus began my skepticism of mainstream health care practices.) Mineral was born first. Here is a picture of them at about a month old.

Aren't they precious?-- Note Animal is eating Mineral's head. That picture was taken nearly 7 years ago. Not much has changed.  

Next is The Informant. She will be 5 soon. She has never met a human being with whom she didn't long to share her entire life story. Along with anything else you've ever made the mistake of saying in her presence. She will happily describe my TTT in detail, along with information about Mineral's eczema, Animal's love of tomatoes, and the plot of The Sixth Sense. "Rosebud was his sled!" she gleefully exclaimed to a playmate. "I knew from the beginning that Kevin Spacey was Keyser Soze," she once whispered to me conspiratorially.

Keeping track of the world is often quite useful; she lets me know when the house is about to burn down or when My Materpiece is awake from a nap. On the other hand, another word for informant is tattletale. 

Finally, we have My Masterpiece. It took me four tries to get a child who nursed for a year, loves to cuddle, sucks her thumb charmingly (meaning: when she's tired; not all the time) and has a sunny disposition. She's two-and-a-half and has never climbed out of her crib. She loves laying on her tummy and rolling a matchbox car along the carpet, doesn't complain when her routine changes, and recently started replacing Ts with Ns ("I want to go DOWNSNARES!") 

She giggled when I posted that picture. My Masterpiece.

The other players in my house are my husband, also known as My Chemical Romance; the fish; and Maizey, also known as the Dog Without A Downside

Upside only. 

That's my family. 

Saturday, March 6, 2010

In which I explain why I now WILL take Opium!

But first, let me explain why I was offered Opium. (Leigh pointed out to me that I had such an intriguing title yesterday, and didn't even bother to work it into the blog!)

Tincture of Opium -- which is much more potent than Paregoric -- can help with Toilet Time Trips. So, after trying many different medications to, um, stop the daily TTT my GI doc suggested it. With the following caveats:

Filling this RX at your pharmacy will get you red-flagged with the FDA; I will get flagged for prescribing it. You'll have to document appointments with me every two weeks. It is a potent narcotic and you will have to find the lowest dose that helps and then try to get off it as quickly as possible.

I left the appointment and threw the RX in the trash. It sounded too complicated. Plus, I just can't get on board with being on narcotics -- although it sounds like fun! -- while homeschooling four children every day.

I had began to think of my daily TTT is just another part of my life, like cooking or brushing my teeth or watching The Real Housewives of New York.

But, alas, daily TTT is becoming multi-daily TTT which is accompanied by pain and bloating, and I think it's time to do something about it. I saw the GI yesterday (GI Joe) and he said that I'm not a complainer about pain--


My mom: Boy, do you have him fooled!

Leigh: Did you send in a doppelganger or something?!?!?!?!?

--but I think he just said that because he went to Ohio State and therefore is clearly a moron (Go Blue!). Or a sadist in his spare time.

Really, daily TTT is somewhat a part of life post-BPD/DS, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't try medication to stop it. Right???

Friday, March 5, 2010

In which I will not take Opium -- sorry!

But first let me talk about my surgery, a Biliopancreatic Diversion with a Duodenal Switch. ("You had gastric bypass surgery?" "NO. I had weight-loss surgery that involves a lot of malabsorption.")

What on earth is a Biliopancreatic Diversion with a Duodenal Switch? 


Approximately 70% of the stomach is removed along the greater curvature, also called a vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG). The remaining stomach is fully functioning, banana shaped and about 3 - 5 oz in size which restricts the amount you can consume. The pylorus continues to control the stomach emptying into the small intestine; as a result patients do not experience "dumping". The upper portion of the duodenum remains in use; food digests to an absorbable consistency in the stomach before moving into the small intestine.

A benefit of removing a portion of the stomach is that it also greatly reduces the amount of ghrelin producing tissue and amount of acid in the stomach. Ghrelin is the "hunger hormone" and by reducing the amount of the hormone produced the appetite is suppressed.

The intestines are switched so that food from the stomach and the digestive juices travel separate paths and don't mix until they meet up towards the end of the small intestine.

The alimentary limb carries the food.

The biliopancreatic limb carries the bile and digestive juices.

The common channel, also known as the common tract or common limb, is the point from where the alimentary and biliopancreatic limbs meet in the small intestine to where they move into the large intestine. The common channel is where a DS patient's food, bile and digestive juices mix and nutrients are absorbed. Since the common channel makes up such a small portion of the small intestine dietary starches, fats and complex carbohydrates are not fully absorbed.

So, why'd you choose a BPD/DS rather than a more common Roux-N-Y gastric bypass? 

It came down to this: I could never willingly submit to surgery that might cause me to vomit after I eat sugar. A life without sugar isn't for me (see "The Health Project" and "MAJOR FAIL"). Also, I enjoy my pylorus. Because I have a functioning pylorus I do not have "dumping" syndrome; I can take NSAIDS; and my entire stomach can be scoped if need be. Plus, the long-term weight loss results of BPD/DS are simply the best of any bariatric surgery (see here, here, and here).

And you went to Miami to have it done, and paid for it out-of-pocket?

Yes and yes. It actually reminded me of paying for a homebirth rather than going to the hospital for a "free" birth. I could have had a RNY. My insurance would have covered it. (My insurance would not cover a BPD/DS because I wasn't morbidly obese "enough.") Instead, I paid for it, so I got to call the shots. I chose a surgeon in Miami who is one of the best; he's taught most of the BPD/DS surgeons in this country how to do it. I chose my date (election day 2008. When I came out of anesthesia, I kept asking, Did Obama win? Did he REALLY win? Really? Seriously?) I stayed at my parent's house after the surgery.

What was it like?

There aren't words to describe how sucktastic the first few [-]weeks[/-] months were. I was in so much pain. I cried. I missed my family, as I was away from them for almost two weeks. I could barely walk. My mom had to wipe my ass. She washed me in the shower. Every part of my body hurt. Food tasted weird. Drinking water gave me heartburn so bad I thought I would spit fire. It was the most physically painful experience of my life -- and I've been pregnant with twins, I've given birth without any painkillers, I've had my gallbladder out after an attack of gallstones, I've had dental surgery. My BPD/DS surgery knocked it all out of the ballpark.

But eventually, it got better. Yet it was over six months before I ever said, "I'm GLAD I did this." I lost a remarkable amount of weight, and for the most part, I can eat "whatever I want." 

That said, there are downsides. 

First and foremost, I spend a LOT of time in the bathroom. Lots. 

I've read a LOT of books since this surgery. I've been hospitalized because I spent so much time on the toilet; nothing was staying inside my body. 

Secondary to my Toilet Time was a problem with an external thrombosed hemorrhoid also known as "the second most physically painful experience of my life." 

There's another downside that Dustin could talk about:

It has to do with not having enough good bacteria in my intestines and yada yada yada -- if I skip a dose of probiotics, or don't eat good whole-milk plain yogurt daily, do NOT stand behind me! 

Right now I'm having some issues with bloating. There's nothing like weighing 135lbs at 5'6" and being asked REGULARLY if I'm pregnant. By strangers. To me, it means (1) people are RUDE (2) clearly, I look pregnant enough that strangers feel comfortable asking me when I'm due. 

Anyway, over the last nearly-18 months, I've come to the realization that no weight-loss surgery is perfect; everything has it's downsides -- and I'm currently taking Cipro and waiting on a full-abdomenal/pelvic CT scan to rule out anything else. 

Having this surgery was really another chapter in my life; I think about it the way I think about my kids. There was life before my BPD/DS. It was good, it was bad -- it was different. There's life after my BPD/DS. It's also good, sometimes bad, but mostly full of positives.  I have no regrets about having this surgery. None. I'm so glad that I had it done. I'm so glad that I've lost weight, that I'm healthier than I was, that I extended my life expectancy. I would go back and do it a million times again -- despite the Toilet Time, despite the 'roid rage, despite the gas, despite the bloating. 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

In which I do not bake cookies for crazy neighbor

I have a neighbor I hate. He's so annoying. I'm trying -- not as part of any project, just in general -- to feel neutral toward him, because it's a waste of emotion to hate, but really I just can't stand him.

He's also a total wackadoo, as the kids are calling it these days. Here's why:

1. The "hidden" cameras. Crazy neighbor has two: one in his front window, the other in his above-garage window. I can only assume it's to track the comings and goings of everyone in our neighborhood.

2. The incident with a former neighbor. He pulled a gun on a former neighbor during an argument. This was before my time on the street, and the former neighbor moved away -- actually lost his home in a foreclosure -- but the police were called and crazy neighbor was arrested.

3. The wife nobody sees. Really. I've lived here for two years and have seen her once, in her car. I waved. She gave me a dirty look. A nice neighbor once saw her in the cafeteria at her (nice neighbor's) work -- she (crazy neighbor's wife) was temping at nice neighbor's office. Nice neighbor waved. Crazy neighbor's wife dumped her food tray and left.

4. The dogs who aren't allowed on the grass. Crazy neighbor takes great pride in his grass. He has two dogs. They are not allowed on the grass. Naturally, whenever my former dogs would escape, they ran straight for his grass.

5. The Animal Control on speed-dial. Yes, my neighbor calls Animal Control every time my dog barks more than twice in a row. Unfortunately for me, my dog is a herding breed who uses her voice to move the (imaginary) sheep all over our backyard.

When Animal Control is called for a "noise nuisance" they sit in front of the house that has been complained about, and listen for 15 minutes. The first... three?... times this happened, I freaked out. However, each time the Animal Control officer has knocked on my door and said that he didn't actually hear anything -- because, I don't leave my dog outside to bark! -- but by law he has to give me a copy of the law -- which states that 15 minutes in a row or more of continuous barking is considered a nuisance. Sigh.

The good news is that crazy neighbor has actually helped me bond with less-than crazy neighbors; he calls Animal Control on his adjacent neighbors practically daily, and once when Maizey escaped during a torrential downpour, they grabbed her and brought her back to me. They are actually suing crazy neighbor for harassment.

What have I learned from this? Well, prior to this move, I've always enjoyed living in a neighborhood. You know, the kind with HOA and lots of neighbors and a pool. I've never longed for some huge piece of land that Dustin would spend all weekend mowing. Until now.

Since we average living someplace for 2-3 years, I sometimes think about our next stop. And I hope it will not be in a confined neighborhood; if it is, I want a lot of distance between houses. I bemoan the lack of a community pool -- that was the best thing about living in Arizona, we had a pool in our backyard! -- but I can deal if we join a Y or a Carowinds-type place or something.