Parotidectomy Surgery

parotidectomy surgery

Yesterday was my parotidectomy surgery to remove the entire parotid gland on the right side of my face.  It’s also known as the saliva gland.  There were several stones that were blocking the path which caused the saliva to stay in my gland causing it to stretch, which hurt like a mother trucker.

When I woke up in the recovery room I was totally confused.  I had no idea where I was or how I got there.  I felt like I had been in a car accident, like a Mack truck crashed into my face lol.  That’s a bit severe, but you know what I mean.  I had trouble waking up too.  You know how when you didn’t get enough sleep the night before and people are forcing you to wake up and your body is fighting you and you can barely open your eyes?  That’s how it was waking up in recovery.  I wanted to wake up, but I was having a hard time.

The nurse came over to me to talk to me.  I asked her what happened, why I was here because I was still confused, but then the memory of what happened started coming back to me.  I said oh wait I remember.  She asked me why I was there and I said to remove my parotid gland.

The doctor came to me and was telling me what he found.  The cat scan with contrast told them that the stone was 1cm which is pretty big, but it wasn’t just 1 stone, there were 3.  After the surgery, he told me that it was the size of his pinky finger tip, you know the part of the tip that has the nail and he held his fingers up to where the finger bends.  That was how big it was.  Plus he said there was a lot of infection in the gland.  He sent it to the lab.

He wanted me to come back in 7 days to remove the tubing that is sticking out of my neck into a ball which collects the drainage, and I just called them to make that appointment, but this doctor is only in the surgery clinic on Friday’s and he won’t be there next week due to Thanksgiving.  She wanted to make the appointment for December 6th and I was like whoa, I thought I only had to have this for 7 days.  I asked her to ask the doctor to call me to tell me what to do.  Since he is only in the clinic on Friday, I hope he calls me this Friday to tell me what he suggests I do.  If I can just come in as a walk in and have them remove the tube then that would be fantastic, otherwise I will have to wait until December 6th to have it removed.

During surgery, they intubated me to help me breathe.  When I speak now, it’s with a lower volume and a softer tone.  I’m sure it’s temporary, but I kind of like it lol.

Dr. Trang at Kern Medical Center did a wonderful job with the surgery.  He made sure that my nerves weren’t damaged and the stitches are beautiful and I know it will heal nicely so you barely even notice them.  Scar cream is a bit on the expensive side, but I will use some of that to make the scar go away.

2013-11-21_13-07-57Anyway, he prescribed 2 medications for me.  Keflex which is an antibiotic and Percocet for pain.  I have never taken Percocet before so I don’t know if it’s addictive or not.  I hope not because I don’t like to have any vices.  It says it’s Oxycodone/Acetaminophen which is generic for Percocet.

I told my aunt that I was taking Keflex which by the way I’ve taken before.  She told me that it will cause a yeast infection (YIKES!) so I need to eat at least 1 yogurt a day.  My yogurt of choice is Yoplait.

I fortunately don’t have any pain and I am not as exhausted as I thought I would be.  I mean I’m not laying in bed feeling sorry for myself.  I actually have my normal amount of energy if you can believe that.  My partner said that it looks like the hole in my face is already starting to fill up.  I don’t know how, and I certainly can’t see it filling up or what it would be filling up with.  I’m positive that everything will go back into place and the scar won’t be too bad and everything will be fine.  I don’t have any worries.

Here are a few more pictures.

Back On Weight Watchers with @Noom

smart-ones

I have been eating Weight Watchers Smart Ones and using the Noom Weight Loss Coach on my Android phone since January this year and have lost 70lbs, but then I stopped eating the Smart Ones because we couldn’t afford them anymore.  Naturally I hit a plateau and haven’t been able to get out of it.  Not only that, but I have gained 5lbs UGH!  I refuse to let that happen, so I printed out 2 coupons today and we went to Food Maxx and I bought some more Smart Ones frozen meals.

These meals scan as green in the Noom app and they have been proven to be effective, I mean hello, look at me, I’ve clearly lost a lot of weight.  Here are my official before and after pictures.

before and after morro bay

All I keep hearing is that I’ve done so good for such a long time and how it’s okay to eat junk every once in a while, but all of a sudden every once in a while is daily.  No, every once in a while is once or twice a month, I can’t eat a burrito at the Mexican restaurant, then a McChicken sandwich the next day at the McDonald’s and the next day a bag of chips or a few cookies.  That’s not how “every once in a while” works.  I refuse to go back to the way I was.  I have worked too freaking hard to go back now.

I could say no, but here’s the thing.  I’ve been saying no for more than 7 months.  I’ve been saying yes lately because I miss those foods.  You can’t eat something your entire life and then all of a sudden stop and not miss them.  You wouldn’t be human if you did.  It’s natural to want something that makes you feel good or happy, and junk food really does make me happy lol.  Don’t ask me how or why, it just does.  Everyone has their own happy trigger, this is mine.  Some people are happy with alcohol, some are happy with drugs while others are happy with cigarettes, I’m happy with junk food.  It’s my addiction and I am trying to get away from it.

I haven’t stopped logging my food, but I do skip logging the bad things because I know I’m not supposed to be eating them so I ignore those calories, but I can’t do that.  If I’m going to do this, I’m going to do it right.  So I’m logging everything and eating only food that is good for me.  The Michelina’s were yellow in the Noom app, the Weight Watchers are green.  No more cookies or crackers, if I want a snack I’m going to eat a banana.  We just bought 2 bunches of bananas, so I’m going to slice 2 of them up and freeze them so I can make banana ice cream later tonight for my snack.

I also have my bike back so I can start exercising again.  I don’t have any excuse to not eat healthy or to not exercise.  I want to be healthy and it starts with me learning to say no.  NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!  There, I said it.

I know the weight loss won’t come as fast as it did when I was 264lbs, but I hope it isn’t as slow as it has been over the last few months.  I really do want to get back down to the weight I was, which was 192, but I really would love to get down to my new goal weight which is 170lbs.  I know I can do it, I just have to have a lot of will power.  No, a ton of it.  I only have this one body so I have to be good to it.

Vaping and Dieting

zeus ejuice

Last year I decided after doing a bit of research that vaping sweet flavors would help me lose weight.  Of course, I realize that only diet and exercise will help me lose weight, but my reasoning was that if I had sweet flavors in my mouth, then I wouldn’t be tempted to eat the empty calories, because I just wanted the flavor.  So if I had the flavors, then I wouldn’t be consuming the calories.  Well, that theory was flawed because without a proper diet, I was still consuming empty calories from my regular day-to-day food.

Now that I am on track and eating healthy food and have already lost more than 20lbs (1/5/2013 – 2/19/2013), I started vaping again.  I placed a new order with Zeus eJuice for a 10ml bottle of Banana Nut Bread, and they comped me a 3ml bottle of Grape Jolly Rancher flavored e-liquid.  Of course, the e-liquid I buy doesn’t have any nicotine at all so I don’t have to worry about an addiction.

Since I am on my healthy diet, I don’t have a craving for sweet foods anymore.  Although I do have the occasional craving, I will eat fruit instead of cookies or ice cream.  I do have a recipe for a fruit cookie that uses banana, apple, oatmeal, vanilla and a tiny amount of brown sugar.  It’s not the same as eating a cookie, but I psych myself out, so to me it is.  It’s all mental.  The vaping is all mental too.  If I vape sweet flavors then I’m getting the sweet taste that I wanted without the calories, right?  Well, it only works if I say it works, and so far it does because I haven’t even craved the fruit cookies.

For anyone wanting to lose weight and think that vaping will help, let me just dispel that, it doesn’t.  I mean, it will give you the flavors, but you won’t actually lose weight.  This is my advice for losing weight and it is what helped me to lose more than 20lbs.  Eat healthy!  I started using this app on my phone called Noom Weight Loss Coach.  It’s only available for the Android (sorry iPhone users).  It’s free, or you could pay the monthly fee or pay for the full product.  It’s your choice.  Try it out for free and see if you like it.  Noom is just a tool to help me log my food and exercise and it gives me great articles, but the food I am eating is what helped me to lose weight.  I’ve been eating the Weight Watchers Smart Ones meals for lunch and dinner and also eating steamed fresh or frozen vegetables.

The vaping gives me the sweet flavors that I am not eating so I don’t eat empty calories.  Vaping is pretty much a tool the same way the Noom app is a tool, they just do different jobs.  I’d say it’s still worth the time and money, and if you are a smoker you could benefit from vaping because it will help you save money and possibly quit smoking too.

So if you want to start vaping, do this.  Go to Smoktek.com and buy a SmokTek Express eGo CE4 650 E-Cigarette Kit for only $20.  It’s a good idea to also buy a changeable coil clearomizer (round tip) with replacement coils too.  Then go to ZeuseJuice.com and buy a 10ML bottle of whatever flavor you want.

These are the flavors that I like because they taste sweet.  Banana Nut Bread, Pumpkin Pie, Grape Jolly Rancher, Strawberry, Raspberry (and let’s just assume all the fruits), Demeter’s Harvest, Candy Corn and Vanilla Ice Cream.  It’s good to experiment with different flavors, but don’t mix too many with the same wick because the flavor stays with that wick, so if you use candy corn then dump it back into the bottle and put pumpkin pie in there, it’s not going to taste like pumpkin pie anymore, it’s going to taste like pumpkin pie and candy corn and the two don’t mix.  It will probably end up tasting more like vomit lol.  Trust me.  I haven’t done that with those flavors, but I have done it.

You could try another website for your e-liquids, or go to a smoke shop to get it like that same day, but you will end up paying double.  Zeus e-Juice charges $6 for a 10ML bottle which is equivalent to a carton of cigarettes.

So that’s my advice for anyone who wants to lose weight with vaping.  You don’t have to take my advice because what might work for me might not work for you, but you have to ask yourself, do you really want it to work for you?  If you want it to work, then it will work.  Everything is psychological.  Anyway, give it a go and tell me if it worked for you.

I’ll Give You 4000 Reasons To Quit Smoking And Start Vaping

Image Source http://www.stopsmokingtip.us
Image Source http://www.stopsmokingtip.us

When I was fifteen-years-old, I started smoking for the wrong reasons.  I wanted to be able to hang out with my sister in the smoking section of my high school.  She didn’t really want me to hang out with her, so her friends told me that because I didn’t smoke, I didn’t belong in the smoking section.  I decided to start smoking.

I had an eleven year addiction that I couldn’t get rid of.  When I was nineteen-years-old I tried to quit smoking with this system where you put a plastic filter on the filter of your cigarette that was supposed to keep you from getting the harmful chemicals.  Every pack of cigarettes had a new filter and that seemed to work and I actually quit smoking.  It was difficult to remain a non-smoker when everyone around me was telling me it wasn’t going to last long.  Instead of encouraging me, they mocked me and even blew smoke in my face.  It didn’t last very long and I took up the bad habit because I was shamed back into it.

In 1996 I was living in an encouraging environment with my partner Darrin.  He never discouraged me from doing anything that I wanted to do.  I told him that I was sick of smoking and we both decided to go to the drug store and buy the Nicotrol patch to help me, and I finally quit smoking and I haven’t smoked since.

I have told that story to everyone that I know who still smokes and they tell me that the patch hasn’t worked for them, or it’s too expensive, or this excuse, or that excuse.  Listen, you don’t have to quit just because I am telling you, because believe me, I hated all those ex-smokers who tried to get me to quit smoking when I didn’t want to.  I vowed when I quit smoking that I would never become the typical preachy ex-smoker.

However, I have found something that will be worth listening to.  There is a relatively new technology out there called an e-cigarette, and I know you have heard of it, but haven’t bought it because it’s “not the same” as a “real” cigarette.  Well, let me just try to show you something you probably already know, but don’t want to know.  These are the harmful chemicals that are in your “real” cigarette.  There are 4,000 chemicals that you are exposing yourself, your spouse, your co-workers, your children and your pets to every day.  Here is just a handful.

    • Benzene (petrol additive)
      • A colourless cyclic hydrocarbon obtained from coal and petroleum, used as a solvent in fuel and in chemical manufacture – and contained in cigarette smoke.
      • A known carcinogen associated with leukemia.
    • Formaldehyde (embalming fluid)
      • A colourless liquid, highly poisonous, used to preserve dead bodies – also found in cigarette smoke.
      • Known to cause cancer, respiratory, skin and gastrointestinal problems.
    • Ammonia (toilet cleaner)
      • Used as a flavouring, frees nicotine from tobacco turning it into a gas
      • Often found in dry cleaning fluids.
    • Acetone (nail polish remover)
      • Fragrant volatile liquid ketone, used as a solvent, for example, nail polish remover
      • Found in cigarette smoke.
    • Tar
      • Particulate matter drawn into lungs when you inhale on a lighted cigarette. Once inhaled, smoke condenses and about 70 per cent of the tar in the smoke is deposited in the smoker’s lungs.
    • Nicotine (insecticide/addictive drug)
      • One of the most addictive substances known to man, a powerful and fast-acting medical and non-medical poison.
      • This is the chemical which causes addiction.
    • Carbon Monoxide (CO) (car exhaust fumes)
      • An odourless, tasteless and poisonous gas, rapidly fatal in large amounts
      • The same gas that comes out of car exhausts
      • The main gas in cigarette smoke, formed when the cigarette is lit
    • Others
      • Arsenic (rat poison)
      • Hydrogen Cyanide (gas chamber poison)

So that is what you are getting when you smoke a cigarette.  What do you get when you vape with an e-cigarette?  You are still getting the nicotine, but when you buy (or make) your e-liquid, you can order it with less nicotine every week or every month (it’s your decision how fast or slow you want to quit) until you are no longer dependent on the nicotine.

The chemicals you are getting in an e-cigarette aren’t harmful compared to a real cigarette because you are most likely exposed to them on a daily basis, but let’s take a look at what they are.

Propylene glycol is used as a ‘humectant’ which means it maintains moisture levels in food products, cosmetics and tobacco products. Humectants are what make hair conditioning products work as well as create the ‘moisturizing’ effects of many common cosmetics and consumer products we take for granted such as: make up, mascara, hand creams, body lotions as well as shave creams, shampoos and soaps. Additionally, propylene glycol is used as a solvent to enhance the ability of artificial flavorings to remain suspended in solution in products such as toothpaste and mouthwash.

Vegetable glycerin is also known as vegetable glycerol. It is a carbohydrate that is usually derived from plant oils. It is used as a sweetener and as an ingredient in a number of cosmetic products. Vegetable glycerin is also used in place of alcohol to extract botanicals.

You can read more about Propylene Glycol and Vegetable Glycerin at the Zeus E-Juice website.

When they mix your e-liquid for your e-cigarettes, they generally mix 50% of PG with 50% of VG, depending on how you like it, and they add whatever amount of Nicotine for the milligrams you request.  The final ingredients are food flavorings to give it a pleasant taste like Strawberry, Banana, or even Chocolate or Vanilla Ice Cream.  The list of flavors is long, but you get the idea.

Zeus e-Juice is a great website for buying e-liquid.  Why?  Because you are saving a crapload of money, that’s why.  Consider this.  You are paying $4 or $5 per pack of cigarettes.  A 5ML bottle of e-liquid is only $2.49.  1ML of e-liquid compares to 1 pack of cigarettes which means you are only paying .50 cents.  A 30ML bottle of e-liquid is only $10.49 which breaks it down to .35 cents a pack.  If saving money doesn’t convince you then I am at a loss.

So when you switch to e-cigarettes, you are moving away from the dangerous chemicals that can basically kill you, to something that tastes good and doesn’t kill you.  You will also prevent the weight gain by continuing the motion of smoking long after your addiction has faded.  When I quit smoking, I gained 50lbs and have gained another 50lbs since because I replaced smoking with food.  You can keep that from happening because the sweet flavors will keep your taste buds satisfied long after you’ve kicked the habit.

Does this convince you to quit smoking and switch over to e-cigarettes?  I hope so, because I don’t like knowing that friends, family and heck, even strangers that I don’t know are getting cancer, emphysema, leukemia, heart diseases and even dying because they refused to kick the habit.

For more tips on kicking the habit, please visit http://www.stopsmokingtip.us.

Image Source http://www.stopsmokingtip.us.  Other sources http://www.stop-smoking-programs.org and https://www.zeusejuice.com

Shop for Coffee

As with a lot of people, I have a coffee addiction.  I don’t know why, I just do.  Since it’s just me in the house all day long I have a whole pot to myself so it can take me the whole day to drink a pot but that’s even better for me.

My coffee maker has 2 sides, coffee on the left and espresso on the right.  I can make espresso, cappuccino and latte’s.  I mostly stick with latte’s because I don’t know how to make cappuccino’s and I’m not real into espresso because its way too strong for me.  It’s like a whole pot of coffee in a shot glass.  No thank you.

The grocery store is a great place if you don’t have that much money but they are getting to be too expensive for me and I was looking for a new place to buy espresso coffee for my latte’s.

ROASTe.com has only been around for a year but they have close to a thousand coffee choices and they are already the largest coffee store on the internet.  That’s not bad for only 1 year.  They have such a wide variety and selection of award-winning micro-roasted coffee for coffee lovers like you and me.

Their website has user-generated reviews making decision-making easier when searching for the right coffee.  I can’t count how many times I’ve bought things blindly without reading reviews.

ROASTe.com has free Shipping on order $35 and over and you can use coupon code BLOGME5 for $5 off your first coffee purchase just for reading this blog post.  Click one of the many banners in my blog to place your first order today.

True Blood – Blood Bites on Twitter

If you are a huge True Blood fan as much as I am and you also have an addiction to Twitter then you probably already know about Blood Bites.  I didn’t know about it until this week thanks to Sam Merlotte, the role player that is.

Every Wednesday night you can go to the Blood Bites website or you can just watch them tweeting live.

The fun part about it was even though it was probably a 5 or 10 minute scene in the show, it took an hour to tweet out but what made it fun was that they were tweeting what they were thinking and how they were feeling and who they were looking at.  It was like reading a novel.

Occasionally some other True Blood role-player would role-play on my list but they weren’t a part of the “show” so they most likely didn’t show up on the “Blood Bites” website.

I didn’t even know about this until now and I kick myself in the pants for not knowing but I really wasn’t into Twitter until very recently so how could I have known.  After all, nobody told me about it.  I also don’t remember seeing anything advertised on HBO about it.

Hopefully if you are a fan of the show and wouldn’t mind seeing them role-playing in Twitter then use my list .  I have all of the True Blood role players, well, I might be missing some, I don’t know.  I keep finding out every day that there is someone I didn’t have in there so I add them.  Some of them require permission to view their tweets too which I found out when I wasn’t seeing both sides of a conversation even though I was following them and they were on my True Blood list.

What is an easier way to see their live tweets is using TweetDeck or some program or website that streams the tweets as they are tweeted so you don’t have to keep refreshing the page.

They don’t just role-play on certain days, they role-play all freakin’ day long.  I’m glued to TweetDeck all day now, I should be doing other things but I can’t peel my eyes off the True Blood list lol.  It’s like I’m addicted to that one list of mine, I don’t care about anything anyone else is saying on Twitter except for the role players lol.

I wonder if any other show does this.

Note that the role players and True Blood on Twitter is not affiliated with True Blood or HBO.

Open Letter to Target and Best Buy

Thanks to my new addiction to Twimbow and my subscription to @helloross, I have discovered that there is an injustice happening with Target and Best Buy.

Here is the email that they wanted me to send out after I signed the petition.  It will explain what’s happening better than I can.

“Hey,

I’m not sure if you’ve heard this yet, but Target and Best Buy have together contributed over $250,000 to a political group working to elect a candidate for Governor of Minnesota with ties to a Christian rock band that advocates violence and death to gays.  Will you join me in signing on to this open letter asking them to make it right by donating an equal amount to pro-equality candidates?  http://bit.ly/9tqNLm

Ok, I’m thinking that Target and Best Buy had no idea that the candidate they were donating to had ties to this christian rock band who hates gay people.  I’m sure they were just donating to the candidate they wanted to help win so I really don’t blame them.  However, if they did know about it then I don’t appreciate it as a gay man.

Because I am not sure whether it was intentional or not, I have to say goodbye to Target and Best Buy (not that I ever shopped there anyway) until they make things right by donating the same amount of money to a pro-equality candidate to cancel out their previous donation.

What’s sad is that I am boycotting Wal-Mart because of their douchy practices toward gay and lesbians and people in general and for being the reason mom and pop shops had to close down.  Target was my backup store.  When I wanted something that I normally went to Wal-Mart for, I would go to Target instead.  So now, neither of them get any of my money.

I hope that whoever reads this signs the petition.  Here is also a letter to Target and Best Buy that you can print and bring to the store managers of those stores, although I don’t know anyone who will actually do that lol.  But here it is anyway.

Thanks for listening.

My New Addiction – Twimbow

I’ve said in my previous Twimbow posts, I’ve never been a “Twitter” person, well, I said Twit. I’ve been staring at Twimbow all day. Now that I know about lists I feel comfortable because I’m not pressured to look at 50 tweets a second.

I’m also learning color coding. See the image below, the colored boxes above all the tweets. That is an awesome feature because now I can give each group of celebrities (and friends) a certain color. Like all the Bravo people have Orange, all the E! people have purple, all the SyFy people have lime green… Friend tweets are all yellow. But this will allow me to filter who I want to look at as far as celebrities and friends go.

I’m having way more fun than any person should with Twitter lol.