Last weekend Kate organized a surprise party for me. I went to pick up our high school team coming home from Guatemala. I rushed home thinking I was going to be late to meet my friends coming in from Sacramento and when I walked through the door I was met with the tiny faces of my friends’ kids throwing confetti at me and yelling “SURPRISE!” I was genuinely scared and confused. They got me good (the video is posted below, courtesy of my friend Brian Landi). After my heart rate slowed, I was met with an amazing taco bar and hanging out in the backyard with our friends. I felt incredibly blessed to have such great friends and to be alive! The cherry on top was Kate’s present to me. She wanted to get me something special since I lost so much weight and could no longer fit into my old motorcycle jacket, she got me a brand new one. I could not have thought of a better way to begin my 4th decade of life then celebrating with the people I love. To think think of our journey this past year and the bullet we dodged has been a little overwhelming and I was left speechless, but thankful.

As for my recovery update: this week is the first week in a long time where I feel like I am getting back to normal. My portion sizes are increasing and I worry less about whether or not something is going to give me dumping syndrome. I credit part of the nutritional success to the fact that I am getting into a rhythm of eating. Almost instinctively, I know what I can eat, what to avoid and how much to eat. I am also getting that feeling of “hunger” coming back, although it is a little different from before. I feel like I have two modes: full and not full. When I’m not full, I feel the need to fill it, so I will snack on something. I feel like I am constantly grazing which has really helped my weight. At my low points I will come in around 158 pounds and my highs will be around 162.

For the past couple weeks I have been seeing a nutritionist who is helping me create a guide to eating. While it has been really helpful, our final interaction made me laugh. When I told her that I drink Gatorade I might as well have told her that I liked to kick puppies. “DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT THEY PUT IN THAT STUFF?!?! IT’S BLUE!!!!” Given her reaction to my beverage of choice, I decided in that moment I was not going to tell her about the other stuff I eat… i.e. M&M’s, licorice pastels, gelato, coffee, and kettle corn. When I said that I was going to start trying to find a gluten that works for me, she said, “you don’t want to eat that junk.” Lady, I’m not totally sure what gluten is, but I know it comes in the delicious form of pizza, scones, pasta, and at this point, if it can stay down, I am going to eat it! I am all for nutrition, but man alive, I might have to pull out a home equity line of credit to pay for the ingredients they suggested. Some of the ingredients literally sound like I’m creating some kind of crazy witch doctor elixir. At first it starts normal and then it gets ridiculous:

1 Organic Banana

1/2 cup of Organic strawberries

1 cup of lactose free kefir yogurt

1 scoop organic, non-heated, GMO-free, grass fed whey protein

1 tsp organic, local, royal pollen jelly fed only to the queen bee

1 drop of saliva from a poisonous amazonian dart frog.

1 gram of moon dust.

A single tear from a yeti caught just before the snow starts to melt. Organic of course.

Blend, enjoy, and repeat as necessary.

All of these ingredients should be found at Whole Foods by the way, except for the silly ones, like the pollen only fed to the queen bee. Actually, that’s a lie. They carry royal jelly in their honey section. Then there was the homeopathic solution to my chronic nausea, cannabis. Yes my friends, she recommended that I become a card carrying member of the “green cross.” Do not worry, I know you are all wondering and yes… it has to be organic too.

Besides my $50 morning protein shake and the cannabis, it was actually a pretty helpful to meet with a nutritionist at least to get some good ideas about what my body needs. It was a lot more helpful then the “you should eat more eggs” solution given to me by my surgeon to help me with protein. Or the, “here is a diet plan for a gastric bypass patient because we don’t have one for you, but it’s close”, given to me by a dietician at Stanford. My nutritionist had some great suggestions like trying 1 tbs of raw apple cider in warm water to drink like a tea before meals to start the digestive enzymes going. I actually think that the probiotics in my kefir yogurt she recommended to me has really been helping my digestive track. Since I started my shake everyday, I have not been having intense stomach cramps at night. Here is what I actually put in my shake every morning:

1 cup lactose free kefir yogurt

1 banana

1/2 cup of strawberries

1/4 cup of blueberries

1 tsp of honey

1 scoop of protein powder (I change it up everyday just to keep it interesting)

1/2 packet of powdered greens (because I don’t eat much, if any roughage)

As for exercise: I’m learning how out of shape I have gotten in the past 4 months. While I have been cycling, I have not been keeping up with my running. I went out for a run yesterday and after a mile I started feeling side cramps in need of an oxygen tank. This week I also started my first abdominal work out using a pilates video off YouTube. Atrophy does not even begin to describe the status of my abdominal muscles. I may have completed 10 minutes of positions and felt like my torso was on fire the next morning. The road to recovery is slow, but I feel like I’m making good progress and enjoying the ride.

Happy birthday America, be safe, and try not to hold any fire crackers in your hands (funny story about this next week).

-Steve

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15 thoughts on “Surprised!

  1. Hey Steve!
    I really enjoyed reading your blog today about nutrition. Over the past 4 days, I have returned close to my normal activity pre-surgery (minus the lifting restrictions, boo) because I am feeling closer to normal. However, this had come with a heafty price of losing 2 lbs in 4 days. It’s nice we can share nutritional advice because I find it super helpful! Hope you have a Happy Holiday! We had ours on Tuesday 🙂

    1. The lifting restriction was hard especially because I couldn’t lift my daughter for like 8 weeks! She was thoroughly upset at me, but now she’s over it ;). It’s crazy how much my weight can fluctuate. Most of it is just water I think. But I still have really gross loose skin from it all.

  2. Yeah!! Kefir smoothies! They work like a charm! I’ll have to try this cider thing… I’ve read about it in a few places now. Do you get the Braggs raw cider?

    1. I had no idea it could be so delicious! And yes, the Braggs brand is the one I have. Wow! Good guess! but I shouldn’t be surprised because of your culinary expertise. Happy 4th!

    2. By the way, do you ever wake up in the middle of the night with a burning sensation in your throat? I think it’s bile coming back up, but not sure. It takes a lot of maalox and tums to get it under control. Just curious.

  3. Steve,
    After I had a big abdominal surgery back in 2009 I started having problems with a nerve in my leg – innactivity for months I am sure caused it. After going to my MD the chiropractor etc I ended up in Physical Therapy for 8 weeks and got my core strong. Amazing that the numbness in my leg improved by 98%. I really feel that all patients having abdominal surgery should go to physical therapy post op to help regain their strength. Just a thought on your recovery you might want to try. I was surprised at how much of a difference it made.

    Happy Birthday! Happy Healing and recovery!

  4. Awesome surprise! Your nutritionist smoothie recommendation cracked me up… Only in NoCal. You can come to Texas and they’ll tell you something like eat beef! Lol. Glad to see whatever you’re doing is working. It’s nice to have essentials to just stick with that work. Happy 3-0!

    1. Haha, I wish I could say I was joking about the smoothie. One day I’ll scan in the recipe sheet so people can see… It really is crazy. I think one of the powders literally costs $50 for a tiny jar…. Maybe 3-5 shakes worth if I’m very conservative. The gluten-free thing makes me laugh because I’m pretty sure it’s just a NorCal thing for sure! Thanks for the birthday wishes I hope you and your family are having an awesome 4th!!!

  5. Just picked up some Kefir yogurt! Yahoo! Tried apple cider vinegar and it felt like my insides were on fire after diluting 1 tsp in a glass of water…maybe too soon for me. Hahah. Thanks for the food tips again!

    1. Oooo, sorry about the apple cider vinegar! Stick with the mint tea! 😉 or try diluting it some more. The kefir yogurt is gold on the other hand! With the blueberry acai, I can even drink it on it’s own! Are you back at work yet?

      1. Haha no worries, not your fault. We all react differently. Kefir is awesome! I like tart things so it’s right up my alley. Not back to work yet, looking at early Sept because I have lifting restrictions until end of July. Plus, I have this whole stricture business which is not great for weight maintenance…ha. Although if this was bariatric surgery, it would be gold! Go smoothies!

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