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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You Very Much!!

Thanks to our awesome Aunt Lisa, my boys are well dressed and very spoiled. Last week Phoenix had a trip to Dell Children's Hospital in an ambulance. He had another seizure. It was different than all the others he has had, and lasted a lot longer. To put it bluntly, it scared the crap out of Byron and I.

Anywho....about two days later we were at WalMart and Phoenix saw a scooter. He wanted it sooo bad of course. I told him he could call Aunt Lisa and have her put it on his Christmas list. He called and talked to Aunt Lisa.......about three days later he got a giftcard in the mail for his scooter. (Because he and his brother were "so good at the hospital")

We went to WalMart first thin Monday morning and got his scooter. Aunt Lisa also sent enough money that Phoenix could pick something out for his brother too. He picked Mega Blocks.

Thanks again Aunt Lisa....We love you soo much!!!

Ladies and Gentlemen, Kids of all Ages.......

Welcome to the Circus!!! We took our boys to the circus on Saturday. It was sooo fun. We went last year when my parents were in town and decided we would make a yearly tradition out of it. Thanks to Grandma and Grandpa for the big clown glasses that got us prepared for our fun time in the "Big Tent."

Alot of Catching up to do

I know it has been forever since I updated with anything other than Byron's progress (as cool as that is, I have lots of freakin' cute pictures of my kiddos to post)

Let's start with a really fun trip with Aunt Katie to Candace's (Katie's cousin) horse ranch. Phoenix thought it was AWESOME!! He fed a couple horses some grass with Katie and was having a blast until one of them decided to use his leg as a little snack.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Second Chances: Blessings from Above (Week 1)

Weight loss has been steady for the past nine days.

My weight on Thursday morning was 239.4 which represents 17.2 lbs of weight loss in nine days at an average of 1.91 lbs per day. The really great thing is the fact that my average blood glucose reading has been 98 over the past seven days and I have not needed to take any of my diabetes medications. The only meds I am taking right now is my nasal spray twice daily for my allergies and a statin at night for my cholesterol. My cholesterol is not high, but because I am diabetic, my doctor wants it lower than normal so that I am not a risk for heart disease. I am hoping when I go in for new labs in a few months I can be taken of of the statin.
The only thing that has seemed out of the ordinary is the fact that since I had the surgery, I have been freezing COLD. My whole life I have always been too HOT and since the surgery, I have been really cold. My hands, my nose, my entire body is just freezing.

Nothing much to report except that we call the surgeon's office and they said that with my surgery I was on a "modified" liquid diet and I could have anything that I did not need to "chew" to digest. With this we were able to add some cream soups and sugar free puddings to my current diet. We also cleared up when my follow up appointment in Dallas would be conducted. We head up next Friday for a 0930 appointment. I plan on taking Tara with me so that she can meet the surgical team and speak with them about my continuing care and progress.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

30-Day Fast Food Fast

I was remiss when I reported about my surgery and I did not include what the rest of my family was doing in support of this change in our lives. Tara and I talked prior to my surgery and agreed that she and the boys would also make some kind of change once I went under the knife. The best thing to attack was something that was commonplace and has become almost epidemic in our society: eating fast food/restaurant food.

So the Morgan family will be swearing off of fast food/restaurant food for 30 days starting on the 15th of August.

At one of my group therapy sessions prior to my surgery I was given a nutrition guide for popular fast food restaurants and it was not pretty. Take for example going to McDonald's (one of the Morgan's favorite haunts). You would think that eating one of those yummy chicken salads would be a plus, but the nutrition guide tells a whole different story. Though the Asian Salad with Grilled Chicken only has 300 calories (okay), it has 10 grams of fat (not too bad), but it has 890 mg of salt (very bad). Why the heavy salt content: because Micky D's soaks their chicken in salt so that it will keep longer. They actually have salads with higher salt content, but let's not bash the Golden Arches. The bottom line......the only thing we should be eating at McDonald's is the side salad (and bring your own dressing!). Oh yeah I forgot to mention if you throw on some Newman's Own Ranch you almost double your calorie count. My recommendation: stick to the dressing which are labeled "low-fat", they are all under 90 calories.

Now as I mentioned earlier, we can't bash McDonald's because no one make us eat there. We go for a variety of reasons. As a kid I remember getting to go to McDonald's only as a treat, so I guess as I got older I really want to TREAT myself, and boy have I ever. We go to McDonald's because our lives our hectic and we are constantly short on time. I can vividly see myself every Monday and Thursday for the three years of my doctoral program driving through the drive through of Jack in the Box across from campus and walking into class with a bag of food bigger than my book bag. My excuse, I was only eating fast food on nights I had school, but two night a weeks easily turned into three, four, or five. I can now report to you when my son Phoenix was born that I took three months off from work and pretty much all of those three months we ate nothing but fast food except for the meals my wonderful mother-in-law cooked when they were here. In fact one story surrounding prepared food purchased outside the home has become part of the Morgan lore. The day before my son was born I had gone to a Mexican Grocery and purchased some fresh chiccaronnes (for my fahter-in-law) and some fresh pig ears for myself. It was a saturday and we were house hunting so I took the pig ears and put them in the back of the car, but I never got around to eathing them. When we got home that evening I took them out and placed them in the fridge (gosh forbide that I throw away perfectly good pig ears). The next day the doctor told Tara to come to the hospital to check on the baby because she had not felt him move and so we packed up and headed to Round Rock from South Austin. As we were leaving it hit me that I had my pig ears in the fridge, so I nuked them and slapped them between two slices of bread and some mayo and we head to the hospital. Well over the course of the next 12 hours, my wife gave birth to our beautiful son, while I darted in and out of the facilite. Moral of the story. Eating a day-old, baked in the sun for 12 hours, pig ear sandwich can give your family fodder for years!

So back to fast food. I truly believe that our bodies and our minds once conditioned, become addicted to fast food. Circumstance gives us the excuse, our previous behavior gives another excuse, and then the sweet smell of a Double Quarter-Pounder with cheese (740 calories), 10 chicken nuggets (420 calories), super sized fries (570 calories), two hot mustard sauces (120 calories), two barbecue sauces (100) and a large diet drink (0 calories) bring it on home. There is no fighting the desire to do something so natural: EAT!

I listed those particular items, because that was my standard fare whenever I would go to the movies during lunch. A whopping 1950 calories...........but wait, that wasn't all. I would normally get a large bag of popcorn and also a bag of M&M's or a Snickers to top it all off. So a trip to the movies easily became a 2500 to 3000 calorie event. Somewhere along the way a switch got turned off, broken, or just plain malfunctioned and I turned from eating one or two items to having almost two meals at a setting. My portions were out of control both at home and while eating.

What I use to tell myself was that I was rewarding myself because I was working hard and needed to relax: and relax to me meant a good meal and a movie.

Well I can report that I went to the movies the other day and I rewarded myself not with food, but with a Vitamin Water which I didn't even finish, plus I enjoyed the movie (Pineapple Express).

Much Love and Respect,

Byron Lynn

P.S. An apple a day can keep the doctor away, or just stay away from day old pork!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Second Chances: Blessings from Above (Week 0)

I traveled to Dallas, Texas this past Monday to have surgery on Tuesday morning to remove part of my stomach. The proper name for the procedure I had done was vertical sleeve gastrectomy. It was performed by Dr. Varela and his staff.

I checked into the Veteran's Administration hospital in Southeast Dallas at 0600 on Tuesday the 12th of August (my weight was 256.6) and by about 11:00 am they administered some drugs and the next thing I remembered was waking up in a room at 4:00. In fact the only thing that I remembered was the fact that I was starving before the surgery. At about 5:00 pm that evening, I was visited by my surgeon who told me that everything went well during the surgery and that I would have to remain in the hospital until and examination of my stomach to make sure there was no leakage where the incision was made. I slept the remainder of Tuesday and it was Wednesday afternoon before I received my first post-surgery meal. I never thought that a bowl of chicken bullion and a cup of sugar free jello could ever taste so good, but then I can't remember the last time that I went 48 hours without eating anything. It wasn't so much that I was hungry, but the fact that I had not had anything to eat or drink and I had the worst case of cotton mouth that I could ever remember.......and I used to have lots-o-cotton-mouth back in the day when I was tipping the sauce.

All was well until early Wednesday evening when I started running a low grade fever which finally broke about 0100 on Thursday morning. My friend Heather came to pick me up at the hospital at 0530 and deliver me to Love Field to catch my Southwest flight back to Austin where I was met by my beautiful wife and two boys.

It has only been three days since the surgery, but I can truthfully report that since coming out of the surgery, I HAVE NOT been hungry. The only thing that I will be eating for the next two weeks consists of the following: beef, chicken, and pork bullion, sugar free jello, no carbonated sugar free drinks, water, and children's Flintstones vitamins (tastes like candy). I weighed in this morning and my weight was 249.8. So in four days I have lost 6.8 pounds. I wanted to baseline a few other figures so that I could see what changes my body would be making in addition to the weight loss, so I had Tara measure various sites on my body. As of 14 August 2008, my neck was 17 inches, my biceps were 15 1/2 inches, my waist was 46 1/2 inches, my chest was 49 inches, my hips were 47 1/2 inches, my thighs were 27 inches and my calves were 17 inches. I have attached a photo of what I look like post surgery.......please no man boob comments (smiles!). The VA has told me that if I have any post surgery issues with excess skin due to the rapid weight loss, that they have plastic surgeons on staff to address that issue......he said there was nothing they could do the for the stretch marks (Go cocoa butter!).

My meals for Thursday and Friday consisted of the following: Carnation Instant Breakfast (150 calories), 8 oz of Quench (30 calories), Beef Bullion (30 Calories), Strawberry Jello (20 calories). Total for both days was 460 calories. Plus as this blog entry went to press I had a 60 calorie cup of no sugar added hot chocolate.

I hope to use this blog to detail this journey and to document my transformation back to a healthy and reasonable weight. Thanks again to all those whose prayers and support helped get our family through this experience.

Project 600 - Interim Report

Back in late April we embarked on this project and I wanted to report on where we were to date.

So far we have sold CDs and other crap around our house to the tune of (get it) over $1000.oo. Most of the CDs were sold directly to the store Half Priced Books with some of them being sold on and we also sold a few other gently used household items on Craig's list.

With the proceeds we purchased: an iTouch, a 80G iPod Classic, a Bluetooth Stero, and multiple other iPod accessories.

I kept the iTouch for about three weeks and then took it back because other than the wifi capability, my Treo from Verizon can do everything the iTouch can do plus the Tero has a built in speaker. After using the iTouch for those few week, I remembered why I have been slow to be affected by the iPod hysteria: I hate listening to music through earpieces or headphones. We love the iPod Classic and are impressed with the quality and quantity of the device. It was even a a bonus when we found out there were three preloaded games on the iPod. It's great when we are on the road and we have access to our CD collection which has over 9000 songs.

We have lots more stuff to get out of the house, especially clothing, which we are going to consign the best of the lot and give the remainder to Goodwill before the end of the tax year when we can close out this project and give you a final report.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


First I want to say THANK YOU to everyone who has called to check on all of us....

I spoke with Byron's surgeon this afternoon and he said everything went exactly how it should have in the surgery. Man what a relief.

I have also spoken with Byron a couple times. He sounds really good, tired but good. The last time I talked to him he had already been out on a little walk.

He is due to fly home Thursday morning if all goes well. We will post more later.

A New Chapter Begins

Well, it is almost time for me to head to the hospital for my surgery. So many people have asked in the past month if I was scared and to them I answered not just no, but heck NO!

How many people in life get the opportunity to get a "do over". I have already been given the ultimate do-over when I was baptized for the remission of my sins for my spiritual self, and now through the gift of medicine, I am getting a "do over" for my physical health.

As a Morgan, my father, the late great Ernest Roland Morgan, and my mother, the beautiful, Margaret Yvonne Morgan taught me to look at change and challenge as an opportunity for growth and learning. What a wonderful gift to give a young child. I only hope that I am doing the same for my wife and two young boys.

I must profess to you I have been so blessed with a beautiful, loving, and caring, wife and two of the most wonderful children that God could ever bestow upon a person, and I cannot wait to begin this new adventure in our lives.

So in the words of Bob Seger, it time to turn the page.

Much Love and Respect,

Byron Lynn