Two Years and Still Thankful

Rep. Loretta Sanchez with Dan Chmielewski in June 2010 (c)

While November 24 is the actual anniversary, it was two years ago Monday that I made the decision to have gastric bypass surgery.  Two years later, I’m down a total of 160 pounds.  I had lost a total of 170 by May but I had some minor surgery this summer that preventing me from working out so I actually put on a few pounds.  The weight has stablized and now I’m in maintenance mode.  Still, the gastric bypass surgery has been a positive development and one I’m thankful I chose.

As it turns out, what I thought was a minor complication — some post surgical bleeding in my staple line — was actually very serious.  I took five units of blood before the incisions stopped bleeding.  My nurse told my wife if I were older, I probably wouldn’t have made it.  I spent that Thanksgiving night watching The Godfather Part I & II and sipping tiny cups of water every 30 minutes.

Rep. Loretta Sanchez with Dan Chmielewski in 2002 (c)

From a health perspective, I no longer snore so I no longer have sleep apnea.  I no longer have high blood pressure.  I no longer have high cholesteral.  I excercuise more.  My diet has improved as I am eating more fruits and veggies and less processed food.  But I can eat a small slice of pizza again without getting sick and I can eat foods I couldn’t a year ago. 

I help referee soccer games now.  I can buy clothes in just about any men’s store.  At trade shows and events and business trips, I still run into old colleages and friends who haven’t seen me in a while. Their reactions never get old.

What I have learned is everyone who has this surgery has a different experience.  I can eat things others cannot.  Likewise, there are some things I can’t eat that others can. Some former patients eat several small meals a day.  Others don’t.  The post-surgical experience is different for everyone.  And almost everyone I know has a family member or friend considering this surgery  and I always invite them to contact me about my experience. 

Last Christmas, I was able to exchange gastric bypass surgery notes with former USC runningback Anthony Davis.  At ComicCon, I had a gastric bypass discussion with Buck Rogers actor Gil Gerard. 

I’m very grateful to my doctors at Orange Coast Memorial in Fountain Valley.  In 2011, I’ll need a tummy tuck to remove some extra skin that won’t snap back and I’m told the tissue will be harvested for a burn unit to provide skin grafts.  Whoever came up with that idea is brilliant.

The biggest thing that ever happened to me on Thanksgiving was the birth of my son; the gastic bypass thing was the second biggest.  As it sit down to the traditional meal this Thursday, I’ll be thankful for the care I got, the support of my family and friends, and for improved health.  The cranberry sauce (made with sweetener, not sugar) will be a bonus.

  3 comments for “Two Years and Still Thankful

  1. jose s.
    November 25, 2010 at 7:12 am

    cheminowski, i’m sure by now you’ve seen pedrozas post about how you might lose your mind because of the gastric bypass surgery you just blows my mind how that pulido loving waste of human flesh can just keep topping himself. just when you think he cant go any lower he does.

    • November 25, 2010 at 8:32 am

      Jose – hadn’t seen it and laughed after reading it. Art hasn’t HAD gastric bypass so what’s his excuse? Have a great Thanksgiving

  2. cook
    November 26, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    I know a few people who have had that bypass done.

    It is like watching someone waste away.

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