Grab a cup of coffee. This is a long post.
So, it has been a really really really long time since my last post.I know that, and I’m sorry. I just haven’t ……… Anyways.
If you know me or have been following me over the years you know that I have worked hard at losing weight for the majority of my life. You also know that I have ALWAYS struggled with my weight. I have always been that FAT friend. The one tolerated because there was one, maybe two people in all of the circle who actually liked me.
Over my life I have done just about everything, save surgery. I’ve done Weight Watchers, Curves, Adkins, Low Carb, the military diet, Slim Fast, Special K, Doctor monitored Phenementrine (I am probably not spelling that correctly), Doctor monitored dieticians and nutritionist, Doctor monitored Wellbutrin, you name it, I have probably tried it, or something close to it. I’m the classic YO-YO. I would lose 20-30 pounds, then gain 30 or 40.
About 6 years ago, I looked at a picture I had of myself at Christmas and just cried.
I was 289lbs, the highest I have ever been, and through blood sweat and tears was able to get down to about 220. Unfortunately, nothing I did made the scale move from there. I was at 220 for about 4 months, and I tried upping my exercise, cutting more calories, upping my calories, and a bunch of other stuff, but it wouldn’t move. So I gave up and have since gained a chunk of that back.
For the last couple years, I have had lots of problems with back spasms, which leave me unable to get comfortable and throwing up from the pain. On July 4th weekend 2015(16?), I had an episode that was so bad, that I spent 36 hours throwing up, passing out, throwing up bile, then not even bile anymore. It was so bad and scary that the husband and daughter units had seriously considered taking me to the emergency room. In hindsight, they probably should have.
Anyways, I started eating healthier and walking again. Then as I have done before, didn’t see the result, and my body just hurt all the time, with nothing to show for it. I stopped. My back continues to give me problems. It affects everything I do, and plan to do.
My back isn’t going to get any better at this weight, and while I don’t have diabetes or high blood pressure yet, they are going to happen if things don’t change. They both run on both sides of my family and if I stay on the road I’m currently on, they will also be added to this list. I have watched someone I love very much have some serious health problems over the last few years and is now at a point where they can’t hardly walk because their feet are so bad. I see that, look at myself, and realize that while it may not be my feet, it is my back and my knees, and if this is not corrected now, then I’m not going to be able to help take care of that person when they need it, or my husband, who is 13 years my senior. (In the interest of full disclosure, the husband unit is in much better shape than I am. Not to mention, that if something doesn’t change he will greatly out live me.)
Not to mention that I’m not being an example of being healthy to my daughter. Yes, she is 17 and a senior in high school now, but SO NOT the point. I don’t want her to follow in my footsteps when it comes to health as it has historically been written. I want her to live a long, healthy, active life.
This isn’t healthy.
I am not healthy.
This isn’t okay.
I am not okay.
This has to stop.
I see the road ahead of me, and I don’t like what I see.
I HAVE TO DO SOMETHING.
GETTING “OPERATION GET HEALTHY PROJECT” BACK IN EFFECT
Step 1: I talked to my doctor about everything. We talked seriously about options. I gave her the extensive list of things I have tried and failed out.
Which brings me to the weighty decision I have had to make.
My doctor, believes that I should seriously consider getting weight loss surgery (WLS). Other doctors have suggested this over the years, and up until December I was aggressively against it. In November another doctor had suggested it, and I just said I wasn’t ready yet. This time, when my doctor asked me to consider it, for the first time in my life, I didn’t recoil, I didn’t snear, and I didn’t think “Oh Hells No!”.
I thought… okay. Let’s discuss this. So we did. She went over the different types, and that we can always start the process and I can always decide not to move forward with it. She gave me a bunch of information and told me to do my research online, then send her a message to let her know if I wanted to talk to the bariatric department. She also stressed that surgery is NOT a quick fix. It is a last ditch tool to help you achieve a healthier life style. I would still need to put in the work, A LOT OF WORK. Finally, she gave me a referral to a nutritionist, as that would be the first of many steps in this process, whether I decide to go through with surgery or not.
I did the research on WLS, and watched an untold amount of youtube videos from both doctors and patients who have had it. One thing I found super interesting is that all the good happy stories were right there, at your fingertips. I had to go SEARCHING for the complications, for the failures, etc., which I did read and think about.
Then there was the discussion with my daughter and husband to see what their thoughts were on it, and they were extremely supportive. They have both seen me struggle to lose weight, and how hard I did try with no success. While their reactions surprised me, they didn’t. They have always been supportive in whatever it takes to make me healthy. This is just such a DRASTIC decision, I didn’t think they would immediately jump on board for me to move forward with this process. They made sure to tell me that whatever my decision, they would support me fully. ( GODS I love those two. )
There are things that won’t change even with surgery. For instance, my thyroid issues. I have a thyroid that runs so slow, I walk by a doughnut shop and gain weight. Let alone walking in and consuming one. Another example, in a way is my dependency on food. We all depend on food to survive. It is a necessary evil in life.
What I would (and should ) change is my EMOTIONAL dependency. When I’m stressed, I eat. When I’m depressed, I eat. When I celebrate, I eat. When I’m bored, I eat. That would all have change, but I have to eat. I would just have to change how my dependency is ruled.
I met with the nutritionist on January 31st, and after discussing how I eat, my known pitfalls, my concerns, my history, my family health history, etc., she got me started on a diabetic diet at 1200 calories a day and no more than 10 carbs a day (its an exchange formula that you do to figure out how many carb points per # of grams of carbs in the item). I starved for the first 4-5 days. Sent her a message and she suggested I up my protein to help curb the hunger. I did and did much better, my body adjusted a little bit. Upping how much protein I was consuming via protein shakes helped a lot.
On February 8, 2018, I went to the Bariatric orientation seminar in Fremont, which is where the closest Kaiser Bariatric Center is to me. At the time I went I was about 85% positive that this is what I wanted to do, but I knew I really needed to learn more directly from the doctors, surgeons, and people I would be working with over the next few years if I decided to go through with this.
So I showed up to Kaiser early… which may or may not have been a good thing. So I sat in my car and listened to a book until it was time to go in. Once I got checked in and waited in the waiting room, more people came in and I noticed something that surprised me a bit. I was one of the only people who didn’t bring someone with me for this. Most everyone who came for the orientation had a partner, friend, parent, whatever, with them for support. I think I was of maybe 3 who didn’t have a companion with me.
Anyways, they called my name, they started by taking my weight and giving me a “Binder” that I have to take to every appointment. It is more of a spiral bound notebook, but they call it the binder. It has everything in it we need pre-op. Info on each type of surgery, nutrition info, and a bunch of other things.
The doctor then gave a presentation on what types of surgery Kaiser Fremont will do (which is the RNY gastric bypass or the Sleeve). They don’t do the lap band as they have not had success with it in the past, and they have found that it often requires a second surgery because it doesn’t work, or there are complications with the band. They also don’t do the switch as it has a much higher risk of malnutrition later on. One of the interesting things I learned is that people with diabetes or the risk of diabetes may do much better on the RNY because since it bypasses the colon(?), insulin is regulated better, and some people have been able to get off of their diabetic meds completely.
He also went over loosely what Kaiser requires before they will schedule your surgery. This includes your consult with the surgeon, dietician, psychological evaluation, some weight loss and some various testing. Yes, they do make you lose some weight before hand. As the husband unit said, “See you can lose the weight. The problem is sustaining that kind of weight loss and keeping it off.” They want to make sure you can commit to the food changes that need to happen for your new life.
There was a bunch of other information that he went over, but one thing he kept stressing is…
MAJOR LIFESTYLE CHANGE FORCED UPON YOU
READ THE BINDER!
Because I had done so much research before hand, a lot of the information I knew. I did learn some other things that are more Kaiser specific though, and the Dietician presentation I thought was a good wake up call for a lot of people. Some of the comments that I heard from people really surprised me and made me realize that I don’t think they did any research on this before coming.
Am I just weird?
Am I necrotic about this?
Seriously, there were people saying…
“That’s all I’ll be able to eat?”
“What? I won’t be able to eat cake again?”
“What do you mean I have to eat my veggies after my protein?”
I was just shocked and floored with those comments. I mean.. what did you think this was? I freaking walk in the park option?
So…. rant over. Though I did learn a bit more, once the Dietician was done, they filtered us through so that we could make our next appointments. Again, I had done my research, so when they asked if I had a surgeon preference, I told them I did not because everything I found on all the surgeons was great. So I got my appointment and then mulled everything over all the way home …. through 5:00 pm traffic in the Bay Area. Then I mulled it over a lot more. Then a lot more. Then lots of conversations with the family, and mulled it over some more.
My Weighty Decision
The pros and the cons have been weighed and I am going to have the surgery. I know this isn’t going to be easy. I know that this is just a TOOL to help me get the weight off. It is strict and at times it’s going to be brutal. This isn’t an easy decision, but yet it is for me. Medically, it is a no – brainer for me.
I already hear people saying well just eat like that now. You will still be able to “cheat” that way, you won’t have the possible side effects down the road. The problem with that… it allows me to fall back into old habits. This is the forceful hand that will NEVER let go. I will forever have to be mindful of how I eat. Let me say this plainly…
THIS. IS. NOT. THE. EASY. WAY. OUT.
If you have read some of my past posts about the weight loss, there are some about how I want to wear cute clothes, to be not looked at with shame in public, and lots of other vain things. Yes I talk about health and stuff, but this time it is so much more health focused.
I just can’t allow myself to become what I am becoming. I have to do this.
So, bring it on.