The disappointment

So it’s been a while since I last posted, the build up to March 9th was all I was focusing on. That was supposed to be the day where the next stage started.

Sadly it wasn’t to be. Due to my platelet levels in my blood being low, the surgeon decided against the procedure, it was the most devastating news.

I was in the room at the clinic, waiting to get taken down to theatre. My world, for that moment stopped dead in its tracks.

I along with others had invested so much into that operation taking place, emotionally, physically and mentally. To have that snatched away wasn’t only heartbreaking for me but others too.

I felt like I’d let people down, something that over the years I’d had done plenty of times. Even though I was told it wasn’t my fault. I still, even now feel it is. It’s my body that wasn’t right. And I feel at fault for it.

So there’s been a long process of tests, appointments etc to try and get back on track. Thankfully we have a new date for surgery and that’s July 27th.

I can’t help but feel it’s taken too long but I’m still extremely grateful for this. I’m just ready to get this operation done and start the recovery and move forward with my life.

I’m currently down to 18st 3lbs and I’m feeling great physically. Mentally I’m not that great, I still have daily issues and a lack of motivation but I’m blessed to have the people I do in my life and love them all dearly..

I’m going to be posting a bit more frequently now and it’ll be a varied amount of topics, but I’m feeling it’ll be good for me and I’ll continue with my story in due course..

Speak to you all soon x

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Big big big news!!!

Well all my hard-work is paying off and I’m pleased to say I’m down to nearly 19 stone for the first time since I was a teenager! The skin removal surgery is getting more necessary the more weight I lose, as it gets in a vicious circle when the excess skin restricts my training.

The first step in the next process starts tomorrow when I go for my pre-op assessment for the first of six skin removal operations – obviously I am nervous but very excited about how this could change my life!

The amazing people at Tonic Cosmetics (http://www.toniccosmeticsurgery.co.uk) have offered to do the first 2 operations for free and the rest at cost price. I can’t thank them enough, but I still have a way to go. Thanks to the generosity of you all I have raised just over £5,000 but I have another £6,500 to go.

Fundraising will obviously take a back seat over the next few weeks as I focus on being fit for surgery and then recovering, but all likes, shares and comments will be gratefully received and the Go Fund me link is below if anyone can help.

Thank you for all your support and encouragement so far – watch this space to see updates as the new part of this journey begins

Paul

http://www.gofundme.com/pauls-skin-removal-fund

Socialising again….

So in January we celebrate a few birthdays within our circle. 

First up is Beesla’s, then Trev’s ending with mine at the end of the month. This year was different though. We had a new arrival in the form of the beautiful little Freddie Newton. The effect this beautiful little boy has had on our group is amazing. In some respects he’s brought us all closer together. 

So this year it was planned that we’d head into town for a night out. As always my anxiety was playing up on the day and I tried to relax, but it didn’t do me much use. 

With my mates, they don’t tend to rush for anything and we’re going to be in town late so I arranged to meet up with Gaz and a few of the staff members from the gym until the lads arrived. Now with me not drinking anywhere near as much as I used to it was a lot cheaper than I expected but fun was had still the same. 

We ended up in a place called “Josephine’s” that played mainly R’n’B music which suits me down to the ground. We had a great night with great laughs amongst ourselves. It was also really good to see some faces I hadn’t seen in years. 

The next night I had planned was to go to the EBF Boxing event at the Velodrome in Derby. 

2 of my mates were headlining the event with Nathan Ward, a well loved Derby lad going in against what can only be described as a mountain in Rob “Big Red” Lamont. Nathan gave up 12 inches in height and an incredible 10st against him. Sadly Nathan didn’t get the result but as always left it all in the ring. 

Next up was Vinny “Prince” Glover against Sam Godfrey. 

Vinny had chased Sam for this fight and there’s a genuine dislike for one and other. Sam being Sam was cocksure of beating Vinny, but what he wasn’t prepared for was an all out war that dragged him into the trenches. Vinny deservedly dethroning Godfrey with a convincing win over 10 rounds. 

Again I got to see so, so many people I hadn’t seen in years and had a top night. 

I was still exercising 5 days a week and the weight was steadily coming off, I’d lost 13kg in 3 months and was finally beginning to enjoy my life again.. 
Next time I’ll go into my first trip away in over 10 years and a huge surprise for my brother. 

New Year, New Me!

It’s one of the biggest cliches in the world along with the “it’s not you, it’s me” but the whole “New Year, New Me” thing is something we see every single year, especially on social media. But this was it, it really had to be a new me. I needed to up the weight loss and get my life back. 

So on the 1st of Jan I was at the gym first thing and I decided I was going to go on the treadmill. I would go easy as I struggle with walking anyway but I would just see how I get on. 

1, 3, 5, 7 minutes in and I was exhausted. I’d hardly walked any distance but this was a lot harder than swimming. I was sweating like I’d ran a marathon. I felt good but at the same time, kind of embarrassed as the gym was busy and I assumed people would be looking and thinking “who’s that daft sod on the treadmill” again, I was dead wrong. One person came up and said “just last longer than the New Years resolutions and you’ll be sound mate” I went back to the pool and swam my lengths and went home. I told Newts I’d been on the treadmill. And that I was determined to keep at it. 

The next day my ankles were in bits. It felt good going on the treadmill but my joints didn’t appreciate it. So it was back to swimming until I could cope with the walking again. About a week later I was back. This time the aim was to get to 10 mins and then try for further next time.. 

10 minutes done and to my amazement I’d walked nearly 1/3 of a mile. Now for a bloke that less than 12 months previously couldn’t walk more than 50 yards I was feeling pretty accomplished! But yet again my joints were not happy and I was unable to walk the following day. 

Over the next few weeks I was trying to walk as often as I could. I managed to build up to half a mile in about 12 mins. Having to rest in between days so my ankles could heal. One morning I decided I was going to walk a mile, even if it took me an hour it would be done.. 

I started at a fairly slow place. Gradually picked it up. And I finally managed to get to a mile in 22:56 which is slow but it felt like I’d walked up Everest! I felt a sense of achievement. Not a massive one granted but still. I had decided that in 2017 I was going to lose 50kg. It was going to be a lot of hard work and determination, but not impossible if I keep on working hard. I took. A selfie in the mirror that New Years Day Morning, it would serve as a guide in some ways to see how much change there would be in the coming months. 


Little did I know just how much change would happen and the strides I’d make. 
Next time I’ll go into the first night out with a few of my mates in years, going to a boxing show and how I became a fully fledged member of the gymrat club.. 

First proper Christmas in years. 

So with each passing day I was feeling better and getting mentally stronger. 

For the past few Christmas’s I was dependant on people bringing me my Christmas dinner etc. But this year was going to be different, I was able to leave my home and finally spend it with my dad and step mum.  My dad picked me up early doors on Christmas Day and we had a great day. 

My step mum played up a lovely dinner and she was surprised with how little I ate, by now that had become normal. Even though I was home by 6pm I loved it. Actually being out of my house on Christmas Day and not being a prisoner in my own home felt absolutely amazing. 

Boxing Day morning the gym was open so I decided I was going to go for a swim and have a relaxing day. That night we went to the lodge for a drink with a few members of staff from the gym. And a few of us headed into town. It was the first time I’d been in town at night in about 10 years. My anxiety had begun to kick in and I felt uncomfortable. Trev could see I was uneasy. I decided to head home but left the others to party into the night. 

Now I can reflect on it, despite not really enjoying the night (and feeling incredibly old) it was a huge step in the right direction of becoming used to crowds, people and normality.. 

Over the Christmas period the only day the gym was closed was Christmas Day, I was there every day, swimming and getting fitter. On New Years Eve, a friend of mine had a party at his house and invited me. I tend not to drink any more so I took some fruit juice up with me and seen the new year in with his friends and family.. 

At the stroke of midnight I sat and thought of the people who were not around any more and also sat in amazement at how far I’d come in under 2 years. From someone who was a housebound recluse, to a person who had come through a life changing operation, spent Christmas with his family and was now a member of a gym, all huge steps into getting my life back, even if it was taking its time, I was feeling pretty good. 

Next time I’ll go into how it was now time to up the effort into getting the weight off. 

Part 15. Back on my feet…

So the problem with the gout was slowly but surely clearing up. I was able to hobble around the house and I was getting back to some sort of routine. 

By mid September, I still hadn’t left my home since my op back in May. Kyle asked me if I fancied going somewhere. I told him I’d never been to a B&M and would like to go sometime. Next day he came and told me to put on my coat. We went for a carvery (a roast dinner to those of you who aren’t from the uk) we also went to B&M and followed that with a trip to feed some ducks. 

I’ve never told him or anyone but that day I was an absolute bag of nerves but as always with me I feel I hid it well. I owe Kyle so much. He’s given me advice on how to cope with my op and he was the person who made me get out and about again. For that I’ll always be thankful. 

The following day Trev called and told me to get ready as we were going to the pub. We went to “The Lodge” a local place and a pub I’ve not been to since the late 90’s. Trev was meant to have his girls that afternoon, but sacrificed that time to get me out of my flat. My friends, although I don’t thank them enough have done so much for me, not that they realise it. There’s been people who I’ve never met on social media that have been so supportive in my recovery, they don’t owe me a thing but are always there and are so kind.. 

So now, I was going out pretty regular, my fitness was still absolutely terrible. Trev was nagging me to join the health club where he works. I told him I’d come down for a look around wth Kyle as I knew he wanted to sign up to a gym as well.. We had a look around and Kyle wanted to think about it. I knew I’d be signing up anyway as I was determined now to get the ball rolling properly. I went back down a couple of days later and signed up. 

Because of the sheer size of me (34.5st/485lbs) I wasn’t going to go into the gym but decided that swimming would be a great start. The anxiety I felt the first time I walked into the pool area was horrible. My head was full of stuff like this, “they’re all looking at you” “you have no place here” “you’re too fat”. I did my best to fight the demons again. And I managed it. I never knew swimming could be so tiring! I managed to swim for about 30 mins with a couple of breaks thrown in. 

Slowly but surely I managed to swim for longer and with less breaks. The faces I thought were staring at me started to become more and more familiar. And some have been so good to me. Paying me compliments as to how well I’m doing etc. 

Next time I’ll talk about the Christmas build up and how I spent my first Christmas free of my physical and mental prison.. 

Post Op Diet

The one thing I was fully aware of but not really prepared for was the post op diet. 

I was told all about it and how not to rush myself into eating properly. Basically the diet goes as follows….

  • First 2 weeks is completely liquid based. 
  • Then you move to what is basically mush food, mashed potatoes seriously over cooked pasta (bearing in mind you’re never hungry and can literally only eat a couple of spoons and be full).
  • Then after that (approx 4 weeks post op)  you can be eating soft foods and stuff that isn’t too tough to eat
  • Then finally you can go back to eating normal textures etc. 

Now during the recovery period the help and support from the carers and Emma was fantastic. The first “proper meal” I told the nurses in the hospital I was going to have was fish and chips.

My mate went to the chip shop and brought me a tray of chips. After 4 chips I was sick, vomiting everywhere. I knew eating stuff like his wasn’t going to be easy and I knew I shouldn’t have had them. But when you’ve had food for over 10 weeks that you don’t like or enjoy you’ve got to try your luck haven’t you. 

Since then the most I can eat is a small plate of food. And even then I don’t always finish it. I didn’t think I’d get used to that. But I am fine with it now. I can pretty much eat what I want to eat but just not in the ginormous portion sizes I used to. 

Now my diet is far from perfect. I still love chocolate and all the foods that are bad. I just don’t have them often at all. I mainly eat chicken, lean meats, peas (I love them now) mushrooms and cooked onions, amongst other things.. 

The one thing that still astounds me is how little I feel hunger now. I literally have to remind myself to eat a lot of the time. Not that it’s a bad thing. 

Looking back on how far I’ve come in such a short space of time (under 3 years) it scares me. It scares me to think what would’ve happened if I didn’t get help when I did. 

I set myself targets, targets that I feel are realistic for me. Ideally by this time next year (September 2018) I’ll be in a job, be taking my driving lessons and be a fully functioning member of society again. 

Next post will be back to my journey. But I felt I’d missed the diet side of things post op. 

Part 14…. Home! 

So my day of discharge had arrived Friday 13th (what could go wrong right?)

The nurse told me that they would have my meds ready before lunch and yet again, Kyle came to the rescue because the ambulance still wasn’t available. I owe Dr Gillespie a debt introducing me to Kyle. Everything I’ve been through he’s already done it so it gives me a pretty honest perspective of what’s to come..

So whilst I was in hospital I decided to have my living room decorated, a new room for a new start of my life. My friend Paul who has been such a great friend did it for me with his dad. They did a fantastic job, when I got home I just sat in the room for about an hour and then my friend Emma came round. She’d been cleaning for me before I went to hospital and helped prepare me some meals. 

After Emma left I went to bed as I wasn’t feeling the best, the following morning the district nurse came out and hanged the dressings over the staples I had from my wounds. Despite being as gentle as she could it still killed. But the main thing was, I was at home and in my own bed. After 5 weeks in hospital their beds do not get any comfier as time goes by. Saturday evening, Trev came to see me. We stood outside by my trusty wheelie bin and had a chat. It was great to see him, even if it was only a quick visit. 

The next morning I woke up. Stood up to go to the toilet and felt the agony in both my ankles.. my old foe Gout had come back to say hello….

Now unless you’ve suffered with gout, you really cannot begin to understand the pain of it. It’s the most excruciating pain I can describe. You can’t put any kind of pressure on it. Even a bed sheet hurt too much to touch my ankles. 

I’d suffered attacks of gout for a few years so I knew what I had to do, plenty of fluids, rest it as much as humanly possible and wait for it to pass…

Sadly my body had other ideas, this wasn’t shifting, after 6 days (attacks normally clear in 2-3 days). I rang the doctors and spoke to the brilliant Dr Gould. He prescribed me some tablets that will help clear it and keep it at bay. Sadly they didn’t work either. 

A week after coming home I was still laid up and the nurse came out to remove the staples. This was a really weird feeling. I always thought it would be so painful. But not at all. One of my wounds was still not healed properly it was where they put the drain in my chest.. 

But the main thing was, I was in my safe place of home and despite the Gout, I was starting to heal from surgery well.. 

Next time I’ll go further into how long the gout attack lasted and my foray into a “normal” way of life so to speak. 

Part 13… Recovery 

So the first night back on the ward was the worst. In pain, feeling like the world was going to end and basically feeling sorry for myself. 

I must have slept 2hrs at the most. The following day was mainly being pricked, prodded and having the people on the ward checking in on me. I’m not completely certain but I don’t think I managed to get out of the bed that first day post op. 

The biggest concern was that they were giving me plenty of fluids through a drip but nothing was passing out he other end. As much as I tried I just couldn’t bring myself to go. I was told that if I didn’t pass urine soon, they’d have to put a catheter in. Now unless you’re an old man or just extremely unlucky you won’t know how much these suck. It’s the most uncomfortable thing ever. 

But within minutes of them getting it in, it was almost a release of pressure being let go. Over the next day or so, I started walking with the Zimmer frame, not very far as I was still in a lot of pain. I knew that it was a massive operation but nothing quite prepares you for the post op recovery process. 

I know that a lot of people were concerned about me, especially as I was so out of it that first night I couldn’t reply or contact anyone. My friends and family could ring the ward. But the friends I’d made online in the group “Lets shrink obesity” were inboxing me and the fact people I’ve never met in person were concerned was very heartwarming. 

So my recovery, although slow and arduous was getting there.

On the Wednesday, 6 days post op. I was messaged by Katrina that Larry Evans, the man who inspired the group “Lets shrink obesity” had sadly passed away.
 I came across Larry’s story by chance. He was a man who weighed over 800lbs and with his own determination and with the help of his friend Chris Booth was changing his life for the better. I’ve spoken on my Facebook page how much he inspired me to get my life back. His legacy will live on for many years and I can’t even begin to imagine how many lives the man has saved, just by having the strength to be honest and get out there and do something.. 

I was gutted. In fact I cried. I was meant to be going home and had been told I wasn’t and then hearing a man who despite his own health problems had inspired so many had lost his life, it got too much for me. At some point in the future I will do a full post about Larry and Chris. 

On the Thursday I was meant to be going home (again) but was told that the bariatric ambulance wasn’t fixed (again) so I made it abundantly clear that I was going home the next day. Even if I had to get a mates transit van and put a pillow in the back. I’d been in the hospital for 5 weeks now. I wanted my own bed and my own home. The people on the ward right up till the minute I left on the Friday were absolutely first class. They do a thankless task in that job. But they’re heaven sent. And I’ve made some great friends from my time there. 

Next time I’ll go into how the recovery wasn’t as easy as I’d have hoped… 

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