The World According to Carl

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    SECOND UPDATE: My Wife’s Gastric Bypass Surgery May 31st, 2009

    Quick update: my wife should be coming home from the hospital later on today. She’s doing great and I am so proud of her!

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    UPDATE: My Wife’s Gastric Bypass Surgery May 28th, 2009

    I just returned home from the hospital. My wife made it through her gastric bypass surgery extremely well. The surgeon is very pleased and says he does not expect any complications. If things go as expected, she should be released sometime Sunday. Right now she’s sleeping off the anaesthesia but is more lucid when I left than earlier. Thank you all for your prayers and thoughts.

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    My Wife’s Gastric Bypass Surgery May 27th, 2009

    Tomorrow morning is when my wife is to have her gastric bypass surgery. I plan on blogging any news subsequently depending upon how busy I am. I am taking some time from work to take care of her at home but she’ll be up and about quite quickly. Please keep her in your prayers and thoughts. She is very anxious about this just as I was a little over three years ago when I underwent the same surgery.

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    My Wife’s Gastric Bypass Surgery Update May 15th, 2009

    It’s official. My wife is scheduled for roux-n-y gastric bypass surgery on May 28, 2009. We meet with the surgeon, Dr. Elliot Sieloff, the same surgeon who performed my gastric bypass surgery on March 2, 2006, this upcoming Monday for a pre-surgical consult. My wife has her concerns but we know many people who have underwent this surgery and are so happy to have done so (myself included). Please keep her in your prayers and thoughts. I’ll see about putting up some before-and-after graphics up on the blog sometime down the road.

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    Gastric Bypass Update April 26th, 2009

    Good news. After a bit more than year of jumping through the insurance company’s hoops, my wife has been approved for roux-n-y gastric bypass surgery. The only things now are to get with the surgeon for the final consult, get the surgery scheduled, and show up at the hospital on time. It’s take far too long for this to come to fruition since the original plan was for me to have the surgery first (e.g. — I was the guinea pig), see how I did and then if things went well (and they did…far beyond any of our expectations) and then schedule the same surgery for my wife. Unfortunately while the insurance company was trying to determine whether to approve her or not, I lost my job and therefore my insurance as well (yes, I had COBRA as an option but at a minimum of $2K out of pocket per month, we couldn’t afford it). It took me over a year to find another job with health insurance and once it kicked in, their rules required a one-year program before they would consider approving the surgery. However they finally approved it and on the first submission as well. Based upon others’ experiences with this health plan, we were firmly convinced that we would be turned down initially and have to be approved on appeal. Now we will get with the surgeon (Dr. Elliot Sieloff, the same surgeon who performed my surgery back on March 2, 2006) and schedule it for as soon after the semester ends as possible (my wife is an adjunct college professor).

    Stay tuned!

    Weight Loss Update (And Some Memories of March 2, 2006) April 19th, 2008

    Carl before he had gastric bypass surgery
    How I Looked In 2006

    On Wednesday, I met with my surgeon, Dr. Elliot Sieloff for a scheduled followup (one in a series) to my roux-n-y gastric bypass surgery that I had on March 2, 2006. On the official scales, I am now down to 233 pounds as opposed to my alltime high of around 425 pounds back in 2006. I was probably heavier than that since the scale upon which I was weighed back then at my primary physician’s office only went up to 425. I have lost almost two whole feet (24 inches) around the waist since 2006. I am very happy about this. I am now only 13 pounds to my weight when I was senior in high school. Now 220 may sounds like a lot but back then I had very little body fat and was heavily into power lifting so I was very bulky with a lot of muscle mass. Eventually I hope to get below 200 pounds.

    Carl being wheeled into surgery on March 2, 2006
    Carl Being Wheeled Into Surgery On March 2, 2006

    Gastric bypass surgery isn’t a magic bullet, but after trying (and failing) with just about every diet imaginable, surgery was a last resort. In my case, it has worked wonders in my life.

    Incidentally, the two screencaps above came from a report by Ilyssa Trussel at WCTV (I worked at WCTV at the time and offered up the idea of following the days leading up to my surgery and subsequent progress afterwards) back in 2006. {NOTE: See my most recent “before-and-after” at the bottom of this post.}

    Seeing that news report again brought back memories. One of which was concerning an idea I had. I found out that they played music in the operating room during surgery and I asked Dr. Sieloff if I could have some of the music I enjoyed playing. He agreed and before the surgery, I set out to make a 2 CD set of various songs from my personal collection. But I could just have two CD’s. I had to make a production out of it with a custom cover and playlist. Here’s what I created for the cover of the CD case:

    Carl being wheeled into surgery on March 2, 2006
    Gastric Bypass Boogie

    With my sense of humor, I just had to come up with something humorous. Especially since I was so nervous at the time concerning the surgery.

    And here are the songs that were on the two CD’s:

    Disc One
    1) Esther Golton & Friends – What Can I Say
    2) The Dirty Dozen Brass Band – Night Train
    3) Madness – House Of Fun
    4) Dr. John – Such A Night
    5) Professor Longhair – Go To The Mardi Gras
    6) Chuck Brodsky – Radio
    7) Brian Tyler – The King’s Highway
    8) Joe Walsh – Ordinary Average Guy
    9) Frank Zappa – Sofa No. 1
    10) The Persuasions – Might As Well
    11) The Meters – Jambalaya
    12) Jerry Garcia & David Grisman – The Thrill Is Gone
    13) Warren Zevon – Hit Somebody! (The Hockey Song)
    14) Jimmy Buffett – Stars Fell On Alabama
    15) Jimmy McCracklin – Good Old Days
    16) North Mississippi Allstars – 51 Phantom
    17) Super Chikan – Staingy Wid It
    18) The String Cheese Incident – Joyful Sound
    19) Willie Mabon – I’m Mad
    20) Robert Randolph & The Family Band – Going In The Right Direction
    21) Mac Rebennack – Storm Warning
    22) Suburban Legends – Rose Tint My World (Horn Interlude)

    Disc Two
    1) Israel Kamakawiwo’ole – Over The Rainbow/What A Wonderful World
    2) Utopia – Feet Don’t Fail Me Now
    3) The Hawketts – Mardi Gras Mambo
    4) Leon Redbone – Champagne Charlie
    5) Coolbone – The Saints
    6) Guadalcanal Diary – Watusi Rodeo
    7) Little Feat – Down On The Farm
    8) The Bobs – Little Red Riding Hood
    9) Blue Man Group – The Current (featuring Gavin Rossdale)
    10) The Zambonis – Mind Like A Playgroup
    11) The Neville Brothers – Bird On A Wire
    12) Danny Elfman – Hot To Trot (Excitement Edit)
    13) Gary Hoey – Linus And Lucy
    14) Iron Butterfly – In A Gadda Da Vida (Extremely Short Version)
    15) Mac Rebennack – Storm Warning
    16) Neil Young – Harvest Moon
    17) Paul Williams – You Give A Little Love
    18) War – Why Can’t We Be Friends?
    19) Dweezil Zappa – Les Toreadors
    20) The Brian Setzer Orchestra – Gettin’ In The Mood
    21) The Monkees – Listen To The Band
    22) The Polyphonic Spree – Light And Day/Reach For The Sun
    23) The Guess Who – Clap For The Wolfman
    24) Pat Ramsey & The Blues Disciples – Whammer Jammer
    25) Fighting Gravity – Munsters

    As you can see, my tastes in music are quite eclectic. [BTW, if anyone has any questions or comments about any of those tunes, please email me {my email address is at the very top of the left column} — I love talking about music.] I have a few tidbits of info on some of the songs. On the second CD I have listed “Iron Butterfly – In A Gadda Da Vida (Extremely Short Version).” This is an edited version of the extremely long song that I intitially did back in the 80’s when I worked for a radio station in Panama City, Florida. I liked playing around with the reel-to-reel decks and editing some very goofy things on them. One day I had an inspiration and took the intro and outro of “In A Gadda Da Vida” (a seventeen minute and ten second rock song that we referred to as a “bathroom break song” — “bathroom break songs” were songs the DJ’s threw on whenever they had to go on an extended potty break and no one was around to watch the boards — this was commonplace with the overnight jocks, myself included), spliced them together and reduced the seventeen minutes and ten seconds to about 13 seconds. I put it on cart and played it for the morning drive-time DJ who loved it so much he debuted it that morning and would use it about once a month as a running gag. There was a standing order at the station that certain songs like “In A Gadda Da Vida,” “Stairway To Heaven,” and some other long and overplayed rock classics were limited to one play a month per jock no matter how many times it was requested. And those tunes were requested often every day. So I recreated the gag electronically with a digital editing program and put it on the set.

    Another song worth mentioning is “The Saints” by Coolbone. “The Saints” is a very unique take on the classic “When The Saints Go Marching In.” Think of it as a juxtaposition of that classic tune along with elements of dixieland jazz, New Orleans Brass Band, and…hip-hop. Yes, hip hop. Coolbone actually coined a term for it: Brass-Hop. It not only stays true to the classic tune but adds hip-hop rhymes and rhythms proudly promoting all the various genres of music found in New Orleans. It’s a great tune and Coolbone’s album Brass Hop is where you can find “The Saints.” They can play it traditional. They can play it funky. They can play it with a hip-hop beat. But most of all, they play it all great.

    What A Difference In Two Years
    What A Difference In Two Years

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    Trackposted to Rosemary’s Thoughts, The Random Yak, 123beta, Maggie’s Notebook, Right Truth, Oblogatory Anecdotes, Cao’s Blog, The Amboy Times,, D equals S, Chuck’s Place, Nuke Gingrich, Wake Up America, Woman Honor Thyself, McCain Blogs, Blue Star Chronicles, Pirate’s Cove, The Pink Flamingo, A Newt One, Right Voices, and OTB Sports. Also thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

    Weight Loss Update February 4th, 2008

    I neglected to mention this right after it happened, but three weeks ago, I had an appointment with my surgeon, Dr. Eliot Sieloff, to check on my weight loss progress after my gastric bypass surgery in March of 2006. I weighed in at 243 pounds. That’s now a loss of over 180 pounds, folks! I’m shooting for 20 more to make it to the 200 pounds lost mark. Furthermore, I hope to make it down to at least 200 pounds or less in body weight. Right now my wife is going through the year-long program as set out by the HMO we now have in hopes she will be approved for gastric bypass surgery as well.

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    PhotoHunt 92: Skinny January 12th, 2008


    The latest PhotoHunt category from is “Skinny” which can be interpreted as one sees fit. This week, I am featuring myself. Although I don’t qualify as “skinny” per se, I do qualify as skinnier. Let me explain.

    On March 2, 2006 I underwent a surgical procedure called Roux-N-Y gastric bypass or Roux-N-Y gastrojejunal bypass. The stomach is divided into a small upper part and a large lower part. The small upper part of the stomach now acts as a new stomach. This part of the stomach is also called the stomach pouch or gastric pouch. Usual size of the gastric pouch is 1 to 2 ounces after surgery. The size of an average stomach is equal to the size of a person’s head, or 6 cups, and the size of the stomach pouch after gastric bypass is equal to the size of a person’s thumb. About one-third of the small intestine is bypassed, and 2″ length of intestine is connected from the small stomach pouch to the rest of the intestines. The lower part of the stomach and its intestine will no longer be used. Roughly two-thirds of the small intestine is still used for digestion and absorption of food after food passes from the small stomach pouch into the small intestine.

    My surgery was performed laparoscopically by Dr. Eliot Sieloff, one of the premier bariatric surgeons in the United States. He made 5 small incisions on my belly, all less than an inch in length, to perform this surgery. This made post-surgery discomfort very minimal (my only major pain was when I accidentally rolled onto one of the incisions while I was asleep — that’ll wake you up in a hurry). Before the surgery I weighed over 420 pounds (I say “over” because the scale only went up to 420) and I wore size 64 pants (and those were kinda tight in the waist on me) and a 4-5XL shirt. By the spring of 2007 I had lost a massive amount of weight as you can see in the photograph below.

    Carl: Before in 2006 & After in 2007
    That’s me with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush on the left.

    I need to update the “before and after” graphic I made to reflect my current condition. I am now down to 245 pounds which is only about 25 pounds away from what I weighed in high school. I now wear a size 44-46 pair of pants (depending upon the cut) and an XL-XXL shirt (also depending on the cut). More often than not, XXL shirts are pretty baggy on me but I can’t afford to start buying more clothes so I put up with “baggy” for the time being. My waist is actually below 44 inches but due to saggy skin and fat roll below the waist, I still have to wear 44-46 size pants. Thus far, I have lost over 175 pounds (that’s Paris Hilton, all her luggage AND her little dog Toto, too).

    In the grand scheme of things, I’m really not skinny, but compared to what I was in the spring of 2006, I definitely am skinnier.

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    Trackposted to Outside the Beltway, Rosemary’s Thoughts, 123beta, Right Truth, Adam’s Blog, Shadowscope, Leaning Straight Up, The Amboy Times, Cao’s Blog, Big Dog’s Weblog, Conservative Cat, Adeline and Hazel, Pursuing Holiness, Diary of the Mad Pigeon, Allie is Wired, third world county, Woman Honor Thyself, Stix, The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, Blue Star Chronicles, Pirate’s Cove, Celebrity Smack, The Pink Flamingo, Right Voices, and The Yankee Sailor. Also a big thank you to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

    Can Ya BELIEVE IT?!?!? June 5th, 2007

    Carl's Before And After Pictures
    I’ve lost even MORE since the “after” picture was taken.

    Okay, I admit I have a paranoid streak a mile wide and 2 miles long when it comes to my ongoing weight loss battles so it comes as no surprise to all who know me that I was fearful recently that I’ve gained weight. So today I walked…yes, walked…all the way to the Publix grocery store and used their scale to see how much I weigh. Now the last two times I used their scale the results have been fairly accurate — the first time was dead-on and the second was only 3 pounds different from the official scale at my surgeon’s office at the hospital. The last time I was there I weighed in at about 265.

    So how much did I weigh today?

    According to the Publix scale — 249 pounds.

    Yes, I have BROKEN the 250 barrier.

    I was expecting, at best, to be at 260-ish. NEVER in my wildest dreams did I expect 249!

    I didn’t believe it at first either.

    So I stepped on two more times.

    249 each time.

    Wow! I’ve now lost almost 170 pounds in a year and three months.

    I’m only 29 pounds away from what I weighed in HIGH SCHOOL!!!!

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    Just A Little Over A Year Ago…[Take A Look At The Picture!] May 18th, 2007

    Carl's Before And After Pictures
    Carl Pre-surgery (left) and today (right). How cool is that?!?

    On March 2nd, 2006 I was wheeled into an operating room at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital to have roux-n-y gastric bypass surgery performed by Dr. Elliot Sieloff. Today I am over 160 pounds lighter. I have gone from wearing a fairly snug 64 inch pants to 44 inch shorts (which fit a tad loose — I may be able to fit into a size 42 fairly soon). From a 5XL shirt to an XL shirt. Folks, I ain’t been able to fit into a 44 inch pair of shorts or pants since I was a freshman in college! I’m shooting to lose about 70-80 more pounds. Hopefully my wife and I can find good jobs with health insurance that will cover gastric bypass surgery so she can have it performed and lose weight with me (I was the test guinea pig).

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    A very warm north Florida welcome to readers from Stop The ACLU, Church And State, MoreWhat, Leaning Straight Up, Jo’s Café, Pirate’s Cove, The Bullwinkle Blog, Woman Honor Thyself, The Yankee Sailor, stickNstein, A Blog For All, MacBros’ Place, The Dumb Ox Daily News, Third World County, The Random Yak, The Uncooperative Blogger, Wake Up America, Webloggin’, Phastidio, Demediacraticnation, Outside The Beltway, Adam’s Blog, 123beta, The Crazy Rants Of Samantha Burns, Cao’s Blog, Blue Star Chronicles.

    Thoughts On My Gastric Bypass May 6th, 2007

    I was walking in the neighborhood with my wife and got to thinking how much has changed for me physically since my gastric bypass surgery back in March of 2006. I’ve lost over 160 pounds so far (according to my most recent official weigh-in — it’s hard to realize that I’ve enough weight to make a whole person) and plan on losing at least 60-65 more pounds. I was up to almost 420 pounds and couldn’t walk more than a few dozen yards before my back would be screaming in pain and sweat would be cascading down the back of my neck. Now I routinely do a brisk walk of a mile around the block fairly easily and although my muscles know they have been through a nice exercise, I’m not in pain and after a short rest I could probably walk some more (and on some days, I do). My heat tolerance is a lot better. And I now can shop off the rack (mostly at Wal-Mart — that’s about all we can afford at the moment).

    Now once my wife and I find fulltime jobs with benefits, we hope to get the surgery for her as well so she can lose the weight and we can take nice long walks together (yeah, I’m a hopeless romantic). I may post before and after pictures for the fun of it.

    A great welcome to readers from 123beta, Woman Honor Thyself, the Bullwinkle Blog, the Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns.

    Minor Weight-Loss Update December 16th, 2006

    I still haven’t gone by my surgeon’s office to weigh myself on the “official” scale, but a clear sign I’m still losing weight is apparent. About 3 or 4 weeks ago, my wife and I went to Dillard’s in one of the local malls to see if they might have some clothes on clearance. Sure enough there were several racks in and near the big & tall men’s section with clothes marked 75% off in addition to the reduced price. I picked up several pairs of brand name shorts for about $5 apiece. Each pair were size 50’s which at the time fit me but were a bit snug. Today it was warm enough for me to wear a pair of those shorts and I put on one of the size 50’s and darnit if they ain’t loose on me already! So I figure I must be down to about a 48 inch waist if not a bit smaller. I’m such a loser!

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    Down To Below 52! September 28th, 2006

    Today I received a pair of carpenter shorts that are size 52. I got a great deal on them via ebay but wasn’t sure at the time if I could fit into them well. But I took the chance anyway. Well, I am very pleased to report that not only can I fit in them, but they already are a bit loose in the waist and the seat on me. So I definitely am down to (and most likely below) a 52 inch waist in pants. This from an all-time high of 64 inches (and they were a bit tight on me just before my surgery). Out-freakin’-standing!

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    The Barrier Has Been Broken! August 14th, 2006

    Today I had to get some blood work done (I hate doing that due to my phobia of needles) and pee in a cup for my family physician. Since I was near by my surgeon’s office, I stopped by to use their scale to weigh myself. And I finally did it. I broke the 300 barrier. I am now down to 295. I’m congratulating myself right now with a treat. Some nice watermelon I picked up at the grocery store. At least I’m eating healthier.

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    Another Wonderful Weight Loss Update August 1st, 2006

    I went to my normal family physician this afternoon and was weighed. I am now down to 302 pounds which comes out to 115 pounds lost so far. I’m shooting for another 100 pounds to lose. Plus my blood pressure is down to 130/70. WOO-HOO!

    The bad news from the visit is that my doctor wants me to get some blood work done. Now that probably sounds pretty minor to you, but I have a big…no I mean HUGEMASSIVEFREAKIN’ GI-NORMOUS lifelong phobia of needles. Can’t handle them. I don’t know why I have this fear and I get royally ticked off at myself for being such a baby about it. But I can’t help it. This phobia is


    I wish I could find a psychologist or psychiatrist that is covered by my insurance who might be able to help me overcome this irrational fear. It’s not a pain thing. I have a pretty high tolerance for pain. It’s something in my head that causes a massive panic whenever I have to get blood work done or have an injection. My parents told me on numerous occassions that I have had this all my life and there isn’t a traumatic experience that started it. I remember when I was a little kid, it took several hospital orderlies to hold me down just to get a shot in the butt. Today I can’t even look at hypodermics on TV without getting all weirded out.

    And it sure ain’t gettin’ any better the older I get.