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My cat knows it’s Sunday, and that hence our household runs an hour early. I am trying to let my son (the cat valet) sleep in for fifteen minutes. So Zoe is biting my legs–with great affection, I hasten to add. Unbidden, I get this flash of a post-surgical nibble. Maybe the fat helps insulate the nerves, and now it will hurt more. Maybe it would startle me into acting out on Zoe. And then maybe–

(You’ll have to excuse me. I think the most horrible things. Not just sometimes, but consistently. I suspect that this is part of why we writers are often a dour race.)

After attending group info sessions (three), visiting the dietitian (a couple of times), a shrink-person (who then needed documentation), a nutrition doctor (who put me on vitamins), my cardiologist (something of a character) and consuming hundreds of protein shakes, I was given my surgery date for my gastric sleeve this week. It is now less than three weeks away. Yipe!

I only lost ten of the sixteenish pounds I had to lose pre-surgery, so in a few days I start the no-kidding diet, which I’ll be on for the two weeks before the operation: shakes for both breakfast and lunch, and *gulp* a LeanCuisine dinner. “Couldn’t I just have another shake?” I asked the PA.

Nope, and “you’ll be hungry,” he warned. However, two weeks of this should take about eight pounds off. This is so all the instrumentation can fit around my corpulent little liver–thank mercy it’s laparoscopic “bandaid” surgery. (Yes! You too can have your stomach essentially removed through a two-inch incision!)

I don’t mind admitting that I’m freaking out. There are like all these voices in my head screaming, “What are you DOING???? Aieeee!!!” But then there are things like the looks of relief and satisfaction on the faces of all my medical personnel: When I started this project, I had a BMI of about 50; the ten pounds hasn’t done much to that. I also have “the trifecta” of diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiac artery disease.

Plus high cholesterol, sleep apnea, and needing help to get things off the floor, not to mention not being able to easily take care of my feet–my tummy is in my way. So losing a bunch of this is only a good thing. But it’s still scary. I’m also afraid of the loose skin making me look like a shar-pei. We will have to see.