Sunday, December 8, 2019

Progress is Progress

Because of what I'm doing is so often thought of as weight loss I can see where the outsiders would say that I have not seen much progress.  To the uninitiated, most members of our society would say that is the only way, a diet, and while it is true a "diet plan" will cause you to lose weight but they are not maintainable. If they were, Oprah wouldn't be a billionaire owner in WW and Jenny Craig would've been out of business long ago.  If I may be critical of these two aforementioned systems, they are a business and if you believe for one second they care if you lose weight you are dead wrong.

For many of us, our weight gain (or loss if that's your thing) is the manifestation of other issues in your life.  Anxiety and stress set us off on a cycle of behavior that, in the moment, seem comforting and calming.  In reality this pattern of behavior becomes a mask for, or a distraction for, the pain we are really truly experiencing.  

My weight loss will be the by product of having started down a road of changing behaviors.  Behaviors that have been a part of me for most of my 47 years.  Undoing a history of bad decisions and habits has proved no easy task.  

Today I measure my progress not just in just pounds lost, but in living a much healthier lifestyle. While it is true I still have much more work to do I can look back and not have to be afraid of zucchini and I now know the things that trigger my unsavory behavior and I can me mindful not to fall into those cycles.

But it all takes time.  I can't undo all this in a day or a week or a month or two years.  It is a lifestyle change.  I am lucky because it is going to take me the rest of my life to get better. A little better every day.  

Please be kind to yourselves, do the work, take the time, don't give up.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Gratitude and Other Things Fulfilling

I just wanted to take some time and say thank you!  Thank you to everyone who has supported this endeavor that is THE Dunbridge Truckstop.  It is no surprise that this all started as a little tongue-in-cheek inside joke. While it is true that we are not exactly going to be the next Ralph Lauren or American Apparel we are able to support a few community events and fundraisers due in part to your continued support and generosity.  It has really helped make this fun and being able to give back even on this small scale is very good for the soul. I will forever be grateful to each and every one of you that has shown us some love over the years.  

We are unsure of where this is headed, however we are in for the long haul and can't wait to see what is around the next corner. Just know that with your support comes our support.  Just know we love each and every one of you and if you have a cause that needs support, maybe just maybe we can help.

The Management


Sunday, September 15, 2019

On Being a Compassionate Asshole.

As someone, who at age forty-six, is just starting to come to terms with their self-esteem or even having one for that matter I had always prided myself as being a proper asshole.  Let that sink in, pride in being an asshole?  Because I didn't care about myself, because of the pain I was in I couldn't really be expected to care about anyone else either.  I would compound this pain by getting into volatile relationships or associating with like minded people in order to think that I was OK.  

I always thought my comfort was at the bottom of a Coke can or would be left for me to read as a secret message written in the pattern of pizza grease on the underside of a Myles pizza box.  Certainly Hershey kisses would never judge me no matter how many I ate.

Problems were solved with tools like the "well fuck you then" or the "then get the fuck out of here I don't need you" and other niceties that complete the cycle of self loathing. I always thought the colder the better.

The complete irony here is that I was living my life in a manner that was a complete 180 from how I was raised.  It's true, my all time favorite show was/is Little House on the Prairie.  Yep I said it, Little House.  Everything about this show aligned with the way I had been brought up,  Love, God, and hard work could allow you to accomplish anything.  It was what we were taught and it was certainly how my parents lived their lives.  

My first recollection of Little House was sitting in the modest living room of "Grandma Rocky" who lived behind us.  If ever there was a kinder woman on the planet, (lest my wife of course) I'll never know.  She too embodied the virtues of the Ingalls' and lived by compassion and the proverbial "turn the other cheek".

Here I was attempting to live so far outside of the values I held near and dear.  Looking back it was no wonder my life was so chaotic. 

Through lots of therapy, I have been able to realign my life with my values.  This has also meant that I have disassociated myself with those that were not a positive influence on me. My life is now way more meaningful and I find that I am motivated by personal growth and my own well being more than ever before.

What this means is always trying to take the high road.  Part of the dichotomy that my life once was, was struggling with hurting people I thought I was close to and always doing what is right.  I was both yin and yang. Classy and charming one minute and monster who wished nothing more than to project as much of my pain from me on to you.  Often for no other reason other than I thought that person was wronging me or not living inside the values I held.  That made me a ginormous asshole.

Here I am at age 46 a work in progress.  Twice in the last two weeks I have had someone from a former life resurface as no fault of their own.  One of these people I miss dearly and one not so much. I found myself instantly wanting to step right outside my values, just like old times and deal with these people with a "fuck you" diatribe that would have Josey Wales and William Munny blush.  I was searching for that instant gratification, I wanted them to feel the pain that I have associated with them. 

Then the best thing happened.

My wife, my life long friends and my new found self all said take the high road, turn the other cheek, do what's right, live within your values. While it is true I would have loved to have blown their hair back a little. It would not have helped me.  It may have even triggered a cycle of depressing and self loathing behavior.  It may have triggered me to live outside of the values I know that ground me in my full life.  I am grateful for them for reminding me that I know what is right and I know what is right for me.

In the words of Neil Young I now have a "kinder gentler machine gun hand" (mouth).


Sunday, August 11, 2019

Cool Side of The Pillow

My therapist and my dietician would tell me that progress in these situations is measured in a circular spiral that trends upward on a graph. 

When we as a society try to lose weight we get caught up in the mindset that the only way to measure progress is via the scale. Because of this, the only acceptable measure is a straight line graph that trends upward as more pounds are shed. This is a falsehood and should not hold (pardon the pun) much weight.

So many times, if the scale does not reflect our effort we are completely deflated and discouraged.  This can trigger the feelings of inadequacy and cause the cycle of food related anxiety to ramp up and boom you are eating outside of your values again. We need to forgive ourselves and allow some slack in the proverbial blame game. 

Over the last eighteen to twenty-four months I have watched just what was described to me happen. I have seen and upward trending circular line that ebbs and flows but overall trends in a positive direction. Does the scale reflect an overwhelming measure of this effort? Probably not by most standards, but that is ok because overall and in the big picture there are many, many more positives happening in my quest to be healthy. Healthy at any weight.

Most of what I have written about up til now has been about the downside of being obese. Really not just obese but living an unhealthy lifestyle outside of my values. The side of the graph that seems to backslide or ebb.  But today is different. Today I write about the forward progress, the positive things that are happening in my life.

The last two and half to three weeks have seen me make great strides in my quest to live a fulfilling and healthy lifestyle.  I'll start out by saying that over this same period the scale has not moved one inch in either direction. Yet here I am to tell you about the positives that are happening.  The small victories that are piling up.

In the past couple of weeks I have found myself really accepting that movement for me on any form is going to come with some aches and pains.  Weighing in close to 600 pounds comes with some caveats. What I came to realize is the pain that I used as a reason to not do something isn't really real.  That is not to say that I am not sore and don't hurt. All of that is true, I hurt.  But I never remember the pain when I set out to do something. If I have to walk any distance I am going to get winded and my foot is going to hurt, there is going to be discomfort. BUT SO FUCKING WHAT!. I am going hurt not doing anything too. So I might as well get out there and just do it.  The things I am talking about are the normal things that most people take for granted everyday. When you are encumbered with anxiety and extra physical weight the simplest tasks can seem monumental. 

These past weeks have found me moving a lot more and crossing things off my projects list. Oh, and living life, going out for meals and events. Balancing my home responsibilities and the commitments I have made to my wife and others was something that had become very hard for me. I can now see some slack in the tension here. 

The proverbial spring in my step and gleam in my eye are starting to return. My energy levels are up and I am eating well and for once feel like my goals are attainable even if they are still not well defined.  

All the things that are happening for me are due to all the hard work that I have put into me and the help and support that I am receiving from friends, family, loved ones and support staff. 

The scale will never measure these things. It will never measure the small victories that pile up into overall forward progress. The scale will never reflect the smile on your wife's face when she sees you taking on a project around the house, or coming out of your shell and socializing.  The scale will never measure the satisfaction and confidence built by living life inside of your values.

But the upward trending spiral line will.....

I've heard it said somewhere "Spiral Out, Keep Going"  It's never rang truer for me. Get out there and get after it today.  Work on your projects, work on yourself, and forgive yourself the ebbs in your life.



Thursday, August 1, 2019

Not In The Brochure

One of the great things about having little to no self esteem is that no single life accomplishment is any greater than another. They are all just days of the week. Since I hated myself, things like high school and college diplomas were just sheets of paper to land me a better job. These accomplishments did not mean a thing to me. They were not celebrated. Plus I am someone that really has a job not a career. That is not to say that I don't like what I do but it is not the dream gig. Also, I never bothered to care what the job title under my name ever said either. As long as I was making a fair wage I was good. 

One of the things I have learned over the last few years is all this is not normal. During my journey, I have been fortunate enough to have surrounded myself with career women. Ladies who have worked hard  to get where they are and are extremely passionate and skilled at what they do. First, my wife made me very aware of the difference between and Interior Decorator and a Senior Interior Designer. Today I learned another important difference, that being the difference between Nutritionist and Dietician. In today's age of "internet experts" and tribal knowledge anyone can voice their opinion on any given subject. In the diet industry, and it's a shame there is an industry, there are a lot of "experts" there is Keto, and Adkins and Weight Watchers and a host of others all competing for a piece of this multi billion dollar industry. But it is only the information that can be relied on from a college educated, certified Dietician that can provide you with a balanced approach to food and it's interaction with your body.  

I want to give every amount of credit here where it is due.  I made an error in referring to my highly skilled, very professional Dietician as a Nutritionist and for that I am very sorry and it shows another facet of how ignorant I am on the subject of food and a healthy diet. 
If you should ever find yourself in need of dietary help I urge you to seek out a professional Dietician and if you want a great one let me know, I will gladly give you her contact information.  



Thursday, July 25, 2019

Time Does It Even Matter? (Chapter 6 if you please)

As of this writing I am 17,019 days old.

For the vast majority of them I have attempted to live a life of avoidance and denial about what I thought was cool and how I chose to deal with my problems. Even though I was raised in a very loving home, I think that sometimes we were almost sheltered to much from daily conflicts/problems and how to go about solving them.  

My parents rarely argued or disagreed in front of my brother and I.  It was only after my mother passed away and I read her diaries that I realized they were no different than anyone else.  They were awesome parents who sacrificed a lot to give my brother and I a happy life.  My mother passed away when I was just shy of my 26th birthday and up until that point I just thought my parents were these two people whose lives were bonded together by the power of love, unicorns, and rainbows. Turns out I was right about the love part. Sure we saw small disagreements but we never heard or saw anything that resembled screaming, hitting or general disrespect of each other. It was only after reading my mothers diaries that I was made aware of just how close to divorce they were. They were very close, at least my mother was. She had an exit strategy and socked away some extra money to make it happen. The problem with the marriage was not money, it was not love, it was not having nice things, it was time.

My father had one favorite hobby, work. He was a Plumber and a damn good one. He was selfless in his commitment to utilize his skills to craft what he thought was a better life for his family. Leg braces, orthopedic shoes, braces on teeth, plus the rest of the household bills cost real money and my father was driven to get ahead. In the wake of this, he almost forgot what was even more important than that. Time spent with family. Where there is no time clock and the payoff was fulfillment.  

I tell you all this not to lay blame on my parents for the way I chose to deal with my problems but to show that sometimes the real work is just plain time spent working on yourself and your relationships. We just rarely stop to realize it until someone or something conks us over the head with it.

As I have mentioned before, food was the one common denominator that turned off power tools and put away shovels and provided comfort for your problems and the work that was perceived as an issue.

I have many many photos of myself from as far back as early childhood with my hand in a bag of Doritos (best served with ketchup and/or french onion dip or for a long time both mixed together) or sitting around a table with a two-liter bottle of Coke and a pizza or beers or Jim Beam and Coke or a bag of hershey kisses. I was convinced that anytime I felt anxious or awkward (which was most of the time, I was NEVER like the other kids) that the answers to my problems could be found in the bottom of that Doritos bag or Coke bottle or whatever it was. Feeling full from junk food was certainly better than dealing with the real feelings. This behavior is a self fulfilling prophecy, the more you eat the more anxiety and feelings of inadequacy you harbor which is still compounded by the fact that you still never really dealt with any of the original problems that caused the behavior in the first place. 

The other thing that manifests itself during this cycle is that you believe that your life would be perfect if you were just skinny or at the very least average weight.  This is as big as a mindfuck gets. I really believed that the weight itself was what was holding me back from a life fulfilled.

In 1997 I had a tightness in my left calf. I was 24 and probably somewhere around 380-400 lbs.  I was completely self absorbed. Sure to most that knew me at the time I was fun loving Mike, Big Mike, of course. Under the surface I did not care about anyone or anything and did not think one millisecond into the future.  I know that that during this period I hurt a lot of people that tried to form relationships with me.(If you are reading this and consider yourself one of those people I am humbled, grateful, and very sorry.)  I was a monster. I did not care if I lived or died, and for the love of god, if I was going to be in this much pain, so were you. Your feelings couldn't possibly count, oh and by the way if you showed them you weren't courageous, you were weak and going to be chastised for it. Did I mention monster? That's another chapter...(see I still have avoidance)

The tightness in my calf came and went over a week or so. Then one morning I woke up and I had the same tightness except this time my left leg was red and swollen. A trip to the doctor, (like he knew anything) and subsequent ultrasound revealed a blood clot and an infection to go with it. At age 24 I was about to spend my first night (5) in the hospital.

I was told I really dodged a bullet and let this be a wake up call. Mr. Drouard you need to lose weight. In a moment of clarity, I decided I would lose weight. This would be my second attempt, the first roller coaster diet ride was when I was a senior in high school. I knew just what to eat even if I hated it and my mother had been diagnosed a diabetic a few years previous so I just started eating what she was eating.  I was on a blood thinner and could not drink so partying was sort of off limits. I started exercising like mad, bought a bike and dropped close to 100 lbs over the next 8-10 months. Although, I was lighter on the scale, my new found relationship with gravity did nothing to squelch my feelings of inadequacy and the anxiousness I felt around crowds and people. I hated myself even as a thinner version of myself. How could I be at a healthy weight and yet still have all these problems? What a mindfuck!  I was still a monster.  I wasn't drunk and full of rage/angst anymore I was just full of rage/angst. Frustration that manifested itself through treatment of the symptom not the disease.

Over the next couple of years the weight came back, and I felt like a bigger failure than ever. My mother passed away and the hurt I felt over that just added fuel to the fire. Shortly thereafter another blood clot and hospital stay and weight loss and weight gain and leg infection and weight loss and weight gain and leg infection and...I'm not kidding.

Then there was the moment the proverbial fog cleared, the realization that really got me thinking that I was doing things very wrong.

It was a family reunion in Illinois, I'm guessing the summer of 2008 maybe 2009. I had been laid off from permanent employ since 2007.  I was in the midst of one of my weight loss cycles and I rode with my brother to Illinois for a weekend of fun and frolic. Being that I was only 34 or 35 years old at the time and single because no one should have had to put up with my miserable ass, I decided to camp out on the living room floor. You can do things like this when you hate yourself.

The great thing about these reunions is that my cousins are very gracious hosts and allowed my brother and his kids, myself and a few other cousins to stay at their house.  This put their young kids out of their beds in order to make room for the guests. Except me, I was the camp counselor on the living room floor with the other 4-5, 7-10 year olds. Now I like kids. I love kids actually and normally being around them is never a problem. But here I was at age 34 or 35 still sitting at the kids table! If there was ever a metaphor for my life up until that point this was it.  The irony was wicked thick.

Adult couples, some very close in age to myself were upstairs, tucked away, part of something very different than what I had going on. I couldn't even fathom it until then.

That moment on that living room floor really stuck with me. I was not sure what to do with that moment or how to turn the bus around but it really was a driving force to try to unfuck myself.

It was the fall of that same year that I saw an ad in the local paper that a professor at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) was running a weight loss study and looking for individuals willing to participate.  This was a long term program that initially lasted sixteen weeks and then check on your progress every three months for a year after that.  Best part was after the sixteen weeks you got $500! BOOYAH afterall I was still laid off.

This program consisted of attending lectures and answering questions about your self esteem and the bias you felt was on obese people. During the second 8 weeks you met with a counselor for therapy sessions.  There was also nutritional information and weigh in every week.

Now I was in this to lose weight and for the money so I knew I was going to have to go to these therapy sessions. I was terrified of telling someone my true feelings. Plus I knew nothing about therapy except the stereotypes. I was pretty sure that I was going to be declared insane.

Like a lot of situations in my life, I could not have been more wrong.  Turns out therapy is not a witch hunt to deem one clinically insane.  Turns out my problems are a lot like countless other peoples. Turns out eight weeks of therapy was not going to undo all of this.

Turns out, what it did was allow me to forge an avenue and relationship that would literally save my life 2-3 years later.

After the initial program, I returned to work and the weight returned as well. It was late 2010 and I was becoming increasingly worried about myself.  I said it, I was worried about myself. For whatever reason as the weight came back on this time I started to feel worse and worse about my self. I started to become a homebody and noticed a pattern of behavior where I was isolating myself from friends and family and becoming more depressed. By the fall of 2011 I reached back out to the professor that ran the weight loss program at BGSU and asked him if he could recommend a therapist. For the next almost two years I attended therapy twice a month. It was the single greatest thing I have ever done for myself. It was very grueling, but gave me the tools to notice and deal with some of my issues.

It took me thirty-eight years give or take to fuck myself up. I would have liked to think that there is some pill or some program that makes it all go away and makes me the model citizen in my mind. That just does not exist. It takes time, and is excruciatingly slow. After 18 months I can see the real progress I am making and if you look at the larger picture it is therapy that allowed me the experience to meet a fantastic woman and get married. It as allowed me to accept my shortcomings and know that I can work to make the changes I want/need to and exercise my demons. It just takes time...



Sunday, July 21, 2019

If You're Keeping Score This Would Be Chapter 5 "The Dark Times"

From the Fall of 2017 until The Spring of 2018 give or take, I was actively trying to lose weight and making little to no progress. 

I was counting calories and tracking what I ate and trying to move when I could even though I had gained all this weight.  The orthotics that fixed my broken foot had inadvertently aggravated the arthritis in my knees.  It's true, my foot no longer hurt but now my knees were killing me and unstable.

Weighing in on a weekly basis brought more disappointment, being as big as I am/was allows me to eat around 3800 calories a day and still lose weight.  I was eating around 2800 and still gaining weight.  I knew I needed to move more but I also knew that I should be losing weight at this calorie level.  It was around this time that I consulted my then doctor about what might be going on.  He advised me that I just needed to add more exercise to my daily routine.  This was something at the time that was not so easily done.  So i started physical therapy and swimming a couple days a week. 

And still the scale betrayed my efforts. It was about march of 2018 when I decided to go in search of a new team to work with me on getting healthy. By this time I had used my allotted physical therapy and swimming that insurance would pay for.  I was also down to eating between 1700-2000 calories a day and you guessed it, still gaining weight. 

By late Spring early Summer, I had found a new doctor and we set out running the requisite tests to find out if there was indeed something medically wrong with me.  My blood work came back basically normal for someone that at the time was over 600lbs.  The exception was my insulin level.  It was extremely elevated. We started to work with my then newly found nutritionist Dietician and cut out a lot of the sugars and sweets that I was eating with the exception of my daily Coca-Cola.  

Coke was my kryptonite. It was becoming my last source of food that still had the power to comfort me. The almost romantic feelings I had surrounding an ice cold coke helped me bury a lot of feelings.  Another chapter...

The extremely elevated insulin levels did not mean that I was diabetic, I am not. What it means is that everything I was eating was being turned directly into fat. The reason I was not losing any weight

The dietary changes we made were allowed to settle in for a couple of months. By August-September of 2018 I had my blood redrawn and the results were only slightly better.

Enter Metformin

Metformin is a widely used drug for lowering insulin levels.  It has helped tens of thousands of people lower their insulin levels and help manage their diabetes.
The dosage of metformin is ramped up every two weeks until the desired therapeutic level is achieved.

The only real potential side effect from Metformin is diarrhea on the initial introduction to your system. IN ALMOST ALL PATIENTS THIS GOES AWAY AFTER TWO WEEKS. IN ALMOST ALL PATIENTS THIS GOES AWAY AFTER TWO WEEKS.

I am going to go out on a limb and say that if you are still reading this you have suffered a bout of diarrhea a time or two in your life. To say the very least it is unpleasant. What happened to me was an epic odyssey where I was literally watching my quality of life run out of my backside.

I was on Metformin for 2-3 days when the first wave of post-meal diarrhea hit. There was gurgling and a buildup of pressure that came on so fast I almost did not make it to the toilet.   It was lunchtime and I was at work and I didn't really think at the time that this was going to be the start of a very frustrating and time in my life.

For the next couple of days from anywhere from twenty minutes to two hours after eating  I would experience what I can only call explosive and debilitating diarrhea.  I consulted my doctor to let her know what was happening and she assured me it was temporary and by the end of the second week it would all be over and I would be enjoying the benefits of having much lowered insulin levels and finally after a year of trying, some weight loss.  Well I am a trooper and I desperately want to be healthy so I decided to stick it out for the required two weeks. 

By mid way through the second week I was becoming irritable.  I could not eat or drink enough and what ever I did eat came right out with a vengeance.  These episodes of diarrhea were unlike anything I had ever experienced. Not only did the food and nourishment leave me at an almost ballistic-like rate, but after each bout I was left feeling as though I had been hit by a truck.  I would be left feeling weak and unfocused. This feeling would last an hour or more after a blast of diarrhea. In less than two weeks my life became this unpredictable chaotic mess where if I made plans I could not be sure I could keep them.  I never knew when an episode of the shits would overcome me. 

By Monday of the third week I called the doctor and said "no mas".  I could not take it anymore. She agreed and told me to stop taking it and resume a diet with little to no sugar.

The diarrhea DID NOT STOP!!!  I REPEAT DID NOT STOP. Over the course of the next week the diarrhea did not stop.  I had a complete lack of energy,  I was hungry beyond words and could not drink enough. I had made a return trip to the doctor for fecal culture and more blood work to again see if there was something medically causing this digestive distress. Everything came back normal.

During the fourth week, I had few bowel movements that were more "predictable" yet by no means what I would describe as firm. By this time, we were coming into the holiday season and I could not have been feeling worse.  While the diarrhea was not nearly as severe as it had been it had not exactly cleared up either. 

By the time Christmas rolled around I was finally having some firm bowel movements but still having explosive blow outs 3-4 times a week at random intervals. We did everything trying to find out if it was certain foods that were causing it and nothing could be ruled in or out with any certainty.  

There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to what caused my diarrhea.  It was February-March 2019 when I had a flare up of diverticulitis that really exasperated things.  I cut everything out of my diet that would irritate the diverticulitis and that coupled with now frequent diarrhea had me back at the doctor.  More blood work and some extensive food allergy/sensitivity tests were ordered.  The initial blood work came back negative and unfortunately the allergy/sensitivity testing took at least four weeks to get back. It was also during this time that I had an ultrasound done on my gallbladder to rule out that as a cause of the diarrhea.  I had known for a couple of years that I had a gall stone and while I was symptom free in regards to a gallbladder flare up we just wanted to rule out any other causes.  This ultrasound came back that I indeed still had the stone.  A surgical consult was ordered for some definitive answers to what in the hell was causing the massive amounts of completely unpredictable diarrhea that was now going into its seventh month of happening. Going into May 2019 we also decided to schedule an appointment with a highly recommended GI doctor in Toledo.  I was to the point of great frustration as I was not getting any answers and still having symptoms. It would be July 3rd before I would be able to get in with the specialist but at least I had an appointment.

It was around this time that my food sensitivity/allergy tests came back. At this point, I wasn't looking forward to finding out I may have food allergies/sensitivities but I was desperately and I mean desperately seeking answers to my issues. I was by no means prepared for what I was about to hear from my doctor.  According to my test results I had major food sensitivities to amongst other things the big three, dairy, gluten, and eggs. The test results read to AVOID foods containing these things and a list of many many more common foods.

I was not born with the panic gene.  I have been blessed with remaining pretty level headed when the shit really hits the fan (no pun intended).  However, being told that eating all the healthy foods you just spent the last year retraining yourself to eat and enjoy were actually the same foods that were slowly killing you over time was a bit overwhelming. I came from steak and potatoes, pizza, pop and candy and was healthier than I was at multi-vegetable, chicken breast and salad.  My ever supportive lovely wife scrambled the jets and hit the health food stores for foods not only compatible with my diverticulitis but also my new found food sensitivities.

It was by no fault of her own that what my wife brought back was nothing short of horrible. There is a reason you never see bone broth souffle on the menus of great restaurants (or any restaurants for that matter).  For the next two weeks I tiptoed though some of the grossest foods I ever put in my face cave.  I was becoming more and more malnourished and was feeling washed out and very very tired.  My voice of reason was my nutritionist Dietician who upon seeing me after two weeks and a 23 pound weight loss over those two weeks said "just go eat".  Ah the voice of reason.  

What I have come to realize is there are food sensitivities and food allergies.  People with food allergies are the folks that go into respiratory distress and shock upon even looking at suspect foods.  I don't have that.  I have symptoms of digestive distress. Over the course of the next three weeks to a month I have been testing the waters with suspect foods and the foods that cause me to poop my brains out and the ones that I eat very little of.

As of this writing, I have been relatively symptom free and pooping normally for the last six weeks or so.  It has brought back some confidence in doing things away from a toilet and has returned some normalcy to our lives.Oh and the trip to the GI doctor cemented what we are doing is the right thing.  Slow but the right way.  I hope that my seven months of water shits are behind me. Plus I get to keep my gallbladder.

And fuck you Metformin.


  Copyright 2019 Dunbridge Truckstop Global Media

Saturday, July 13, 2019

The Shrinking of The Heads (Chapter 4)

Help is always where you look?  However you must being a willing participant and willing to also put in the work.  

Often times it is the asking for help that is the hardest part.  We must put those feelings aside.

The stigma in this country surrounding mental health and the people that need the help needs to be put to rest in this country and culture. 

One of the common themes I will write, preach, and bitch about is that the help people need in the medical industry (it is an industry) is not anywhere as easy to find and pay for as it should be. Not to mention the level of care (as if) is sometimes appalling. They call it medical care, but what it is feels a lot more like not caring, it is a lot of extra work by the patient to find providers that care, and follow through with that care. The insurance companies are also almost criminal in their coverage or lack thereof.

When I buy car insurance they don't tell me what roads I can drive on. There is no stay out of Michigan clause! Sure there are sheep that go for the plug in "discount" modules but that's a whole other support group.  Yet the health insurance industry has made up networks and lined its pockets with the blood money of patients everywhere.

When I first started this journey we were told of a nutrition/workout program sponsored by a local hospital.  We went to an initial meeting and it sounded like something that could have really kick started my willingness to get healthy. However my hopes were dashed, this program was not aligned with my insurance companies network. No soup for me. Oh but wait, my lovely wife's insurance company does cover it! Hallelujah! I'm in! Oh nope, sorry you can't jump insurance companies. Go get your help elsewhere. Now my hamstring hurts!!!!

Ok we got a little off topic here back to the mental health thing. 

I love therapy! Yep love it and think everyone should go. The world would be a lot better place if everyone went to therapy and opened up a little. 

This is my second time that I have been in therapy.  The first time was in 2011-2012 and it really taught me a lot about myself.

As I gained more weight I became more and more shut off to my "normal" life.  I started to shut down and become unable to do the things in my life that most people take for granted. Not just physically unable to do things because of my broken foot, but becoming increasingly anxious about doing anything that would cause me discomfort. This was, as I have come to realize a manifestation of the symptoms of my total unhealthy state. I was completely devoid of any energy due to my sleep apnea, the folks that corrected my foot caused some collateral damage with some arthritis in my knees and I just generally was feeling like shit.

In August of 2018, after spending 4-5 months spinning my wheels talking with two other counselors, and waiting for three months for an appointment with a highly recommended therapist my appointment date arrived and I could finally work on coming out of this fog.

One of the many things I love about therapy is learning about myself and becoming mindful of my habits and proclivities. Just being aware is a huge part of the battle. Through the work I have done in therapy I have been given the mental tools to let go of the things that were hindering my success.  I have learned that the food that I once used for comfort and "sport eating" no longer has that power over me. I have also learned that there should be no such thing as a diet. I am learning to make life long changes to a healthier me. I am embracing the "healthy at any weight" philosophy.  I realize that the BMI ratings are skewed and  that not everybody will fall within that standard.  I have learned to go easier on myself and that whatever my condition it is ok, it is just my albatross, the thing that I have to deal with in my life.

I am starting to heal.

Along the way things like gratitude and love come back into your life.  I am grateful for everyone's encouragement through this and it is not even close to being over. Buckle up, pour a cocktail, kick up your feet and enjoy the ride.....and if you find yourself in a spot of bother and need some help, please do yourself the favor and get the help, its not easy but you are worth it.


Copyright 2019 Dunbridge Truckstop Global Media

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Meat and Potatoes

Commonly Known as Chapter 3

Growing up in a very loving home where your father affectionately referred to your mother as "Lady Kielbasa" it was not much of a stretch to say we lived in a home where food played an integral part of all aspects of our lives.  Special occasions called for special meals or foods or desserts.  The one thing most of these foods had in common, besides that fact that they were yummy, was that they  were devoid of real nutritional value.  Sure there were salads and vegetables but my god I was sure a good dose of broccoli could be deadly.

This home life was compounded by my inherent nature to comfort myself with food.  Sweets, Doritos, French Onion Dip, chocolate milk, and pizza just to name a few.  Growing up obese and medicating with food started me down a path of unhealthy behavior and denial that did much collateral damage as well.

In the spring of 2018, I walked into the office of a nutritionist Dietician I had never met and asked her to teach me how to eat.  Not just teach me how to eat but to teach me how to eat healthy.  

I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I asked her to teach me not only what to eat but why to eat it.  Through much work and letting go of a lot of emotional ties to food, I can now say that I am making great progress with regards to my relationship with food.  With the help of my nutritionist Dietician and my therapist I have loosened the grip that food had on me.  I now am mindful of the fact that food itself provides no help in dealing with my emotional issues.

I am not perfect and never will be, and while I still reflex to food as comfort in some situations. I am learning more and more to be mindful and let go.

When I started this quest I thought that my relationship with food was going to be my biggest problem.  I could not have been more wrong. Although it was/is far from easy for me, turning my food habits around was far more enjoyable and then the rest of the issues   

My old friends Coca-Cola and large pizza are left virtually powerless over me. Something I never thought possible.  I have new friends now, the chicken breast and fresh vegetables.  They too are powerless over me, but I don't try to make them do what they were never intended too.


Copyright 2019 Dunbridge Truckstop Global Media

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Chapter 2

When you are severely obese there are things you deny.  Secondary issues that you know are a direct result of your condition yet do not seem to really be an issue on their own.  Aches, pains, sore joints etc.  When my foot healed (no pun intended) I was going to have to be fitted for orthotics for my shoes.  Oh yeah nothing like having your new orthotics change your shoe size from fourteen to fifteen-four E.  The unicorn of shoe sizes.  There will be more on shoes later.  The foot thing is not over.

One of the first issues my doctor and I tackled was Sleep Apnea.  This was something that I was sure I had had for years but choose to deny the symptoms or issues related to this condition.  Surely my ego was in the way of any progress here.  My wife had been telling me all about my "weird breathing" and the lack there of in entirety for years.  It's true, often times I would "wake up" completely unrested.  I would fall asleep all the time, anywhere, anytime.  There were the other fun things no one likes to talk about.  Pissing the bed from time to time.  Seems when you are literally passing out multiple times an hour you literally lose any control of your bodily functions. I had all these things, yet didn't want to admit it.  

First thing ordered after a myriad of blood-work, sleep study.  I was devastated, sleep was the one thing I thought I could do just like anyone else.  Now that too was going to be fucked with.  

It came as absolutely NO surprise when the results of the sleep study came back.  I had severe Sleep Apnea, SEVERE!  I was averaging around sixty-eight disruptions an hour.  That's right, I'm aware that is more than one disruption a second.  So if you average zero minutes of sleep per hour, times six to eight hours a night, you average ZERO minutes of rest a night!

What did come as total shock was how incredible I felt after just waking up from the sleep study!  I have never done cocaine hopefully never will but I equated the burst of energy I had cursing through me with the similar experiences relayed by someone on coke.

On the list of world's greatest bullheaded people my late father's name is somewhere amongst the top ten.  Just below him is me.  The damage I probably did to myself and the utter denial and stupidity and complete lack of respect I had for the warning signs were all completely eclipsed by how great I felt coming off the night of the sleep study.  I could not believe it would take almost two weeks of paperwork and insurance horse shit to get my own machine.

Ego be damned, I was now masking up for bed and loving every second of it! 


Copyright 2019 Dunbridge Truckstop Global Media

Friday, July 5, 2019

How ya'll are?


Very good morning,                         

For the last two years I have been fighting to not just recover from a broken foot but to come back even better.  This journey has been absolutely the hardest thing I have ever undertaken.  My condition has put undue stress on me, on my job, on my wife and on my marriage.  I have missed events, been present and absent at the same time and exhibited behavior I never thought I was capable of.

Eighteen months ago after trying to lose weight to no avail for 6-8 months and actually gaining a lot more weight in the process, I decided to take responsibility for my heath for the first time in my life.

I knew that what I needed was not a diet, it was not a surgery,  it was not going to be an quick fix, there was no magic pill, but I was not exactly prepared for what was coming my way.

At my heaviest I weighed 617lbs.

In March-April 2018 I decided I needed a new support team in addition to my awesome wife and wonder mutt.  I set out to try and find a nutritionist Dietician,  a therapist and a new primary care doctor that was proactive with my condition.

I, like most started with the Googler and started searching nutritionists Dieticians and therapists that dealt with obesity and eating disorders.  Little did I know that this was just the start of the frustration.  People that specialize in things like eating disorders and obesity are few and far between.  For the most part the people that did specialize were absolutely swamped.  Or, because of the world we live in didn't take my insurance.

After a 3-4 month search I finally was able to partially assemble my team.  I found a nutritionist Dietician, whom without question, has been nothing less than instrumental in teaching me how to eat.  That's correct teach me how to eat.  Sure I knew what I liked and how to shovel it in my proverbial tongue cave but in reality I knew nothing about food.  Plus I had always figured that vegetables caused death.  Through the work that I have done with her I have done a complete one-hundred and eighty degree turnaround with regards to my intake of nutritious and healthy foods. 

My second piece of the puzzle was the addition of a new primary care doctor.  In my case, a nurse practitioner, she too, is very proactive and worked with me to find some answers for me and my condition.

I did audition a couple of therapists and ended up putting my name on the waiting list for an woman that came highly recommended by multiple sources.  It was the end of August 2018 before I was able to schedule an appointment.  I am so glad I did.

So now the team is assembled and I will be bringing you up to date on the trials and tribulations that come from being extremely overweight.

Feel free to comment or ask questions.


Copyright 2019 Dunbridge Truckstop Global Media