Yesterday, Day 56, was a Friday. My Fridays usually come in two flavors: cook for the weekend day, and Bryan’s Vampire Night. Yesterday was BVN, and for me it was heavily spiced with unspent outrage from Day 55’s doctor encounter, so I worked off 771 calories in a little more than two hours of break-neck cleaning, aerobic paper scanning (two boxes at knee height, one for input, one out, bend/retrieve, start scan, bend deep, hit the save button, bend left, bend right, feed in another page, drop the first into the out box, run around doing other stuff during the next scan, get another sheet, repeat) and cooking up a stir-fry and rice for our lunch. I was laughing and goofing by the time I was done, and the aftermath in the afternoon and quiet evening gave me time to think. Bryan is a good sport about being my sounding board, and I gave a lot of thought to a situation he predicted would hit me at least once in this process, that I would hit a point at which I would ask myself why I’m doing this. I’ve hit that once or twice already, but after talking to others and, so far as I can tell, being only partially understood, I figure a mission statement of sorts is in order.
We live in an uncertain world, one that is becoming more so daily. As I write, Hurricane Irma is setting new records for ferocity and, no doubt, U.S. records for property damages. I dread imagining the human suffering and loss in the southern U.S., to say nothing of the greater, ongoing catastrophes happening in Asia and elsewhere. The West has different, growing problems, but in the turmoil of living poor in California and my own difficulties of various sorts, I’ve allowed myself to become dependent and nearly helpless in this increasingly uncertain world. Twenty years ago, I used to walk for miles; a block or two without pausing to stop for breath is beyond me right now. Two or three hours of vigorous house cleaning is about all I can do on a good day; after that I am exhausted and struggling stupidly to do whatever else remains to be done before I fall asleep wherever I am, in public or private. To remain so helpless is intolerable to me.
Even less tolerable is the prospect of stomach surgery. I already know that if I cannot control the impulses that push me to load my stomach with calorie-dense food when I am in distress, I would cause myself harm the first time one of those binges struck after surgery. On the other side of it, if I can control the impulses, I don’t need the surgery; it’s just a matter of time. My weight loss goal is roughly the same as a realistic and somewhat conservative estimate of the results I might expect to achieve with surgery — I went into it in some detail here — but steadily over the course of one to two years instead of six to nine months of training and another six to nine months of crash weight loss from medically-induced starvation that would require another surgery to get my stomach back to something like normal, assuming I could get the reversal. That’s more uncertainty than I can rationally contemplate for myself.
And, after two months, I am seeing results. I’m thirteen pounds lighter; the tightness and cramping in my chest has stopped; and I’m able to work nonstop for an hour or so at a time, take a breather and come back to do it again. The funny part is, my stomach capacity has actually shrunk as well. Bryan and I ordered in Chinese food dinners today because fuck cooking, and I have been hungry for broccoli beef since the last time we ordered in. I took the time to measure out a cup of broccoli beef and a half cup each of the lo mein and fried rice that came with it; combined with a packet of foil-wrapped chicken and two egg rolls, it was too much food by the time I was done. It was also less than half the dinner meal, so I will be eating lo mein and fried rice for days.