One middle aged girl's journey from fat to gastric bypass and beyond!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Beginning of the Journey

Up until the spring of 2011, I was dead set against having weight loss surgery. My father had a gastric bypass several years ago and it looks like someone deflated him. He lost 140 pounds but I suspect he did not eat enough protein to prevent muscle wasting. He also had a fairly long recovery time. I work full time in a school, I do not have a lot of time for recovery. Then a classmate of mine had a massive heart attack and was in a coma for what seemed like forever. He has two small children and a wife. I started thinking about my own family and I started to worry about leaving them. Thank goodness, my friend survived and is currently dropping weight through diet and exercise but the thought was still in the back of my head. Up until this point I felt invincible. I was rarely sick and I was healthy. I don't mean fat person healthy - I mean HEALTHY. My primary care doctor always jokes that I am the healthiest fat person she knows. My bloodwork is always stellar. My cholesterol is 175 with all my DLs where they are supposed to be. My blood pressure is always perfect. I have had a healthy pregnancy (despite my OB/GYN's predictions). I gave birth without complication to a beautiful (albeit small 5lb.15oz.) baby girl who is now a precocious three year old. I had no reason to go for such drastic measures. My father was pre-diabetic and needed several joints replaced when he had his gastric bypass. He needed to do it. I did not.
I have still been an active person although more limited recently. I re landscaped my entire yard by myself. My husband and I remodeled our home by ourselves. I enjoy hiking and the outdoors. I guess I never really considered myself FAT. I know that is ridiculous seeing how I have spent the years since college over 250 pounds. My weight has never really interfered with the things that I wanted to do until after I had my daughter. Even though I lost 25lbs. during my pregnancy, my post pregnancy body felt cumbersome. Things that I used to be able to do were more difficult for me to do. I started to shy away from being physical because it made me feel fat. That was NOT what I needed. In the three years after pregnancy, I gained 36 pounds. Everything I owned was tight. I refused to go up to a size 30 because in my head that was super fat.
I paid a visit to my primary care doctor around the time of my classmate's heart attack. and we talked. She is fabulous and we had a very frank conversation. She said she had let me try on my own long enough and felt like I should consider a gastric bypass. She gave me the name of a surgeon that was out of her "network" who did the surgery laproscopically which required less recovery time. We talked about although I am healthy right now, in the future, as I age, that might not be the case. I left that appointment feeling like shit - a fat shit. I went home to discuss it with my husband who said "absolutely not". We have known each other since high school and I don't really think he thinks of me as being as fat as I am either.
I called the surgeon's office the next day to schedule a consultation. I was told that before I could make an appointment I would need to attend an information session. Those information sessions are held one a month. Seriously?! Once a month?! That is a lot of fat people. I put my name down for the next one. I convinced my husband to come with me and to listen with an open mind. I finally let him in just how miserable I have been in my body. We listened to this doctor describe each surgery, go through his outcomes and looked at the lengthy list of consultations and tests I would need to qualify for surgery. I did not even know if I would qualify for surgery because I did not have any other health issues that would make my surgery medically necessary. Then he got to a slide in his Powerpoint that made me gasp. It was a breakdown of BMIs and what category they fit in. I fit into the "super morbidly obese" category that did not require another health condition to qualify for the sugery. Woah. I am that fat. I had made up my mind on that very slide. My husband was more concerned with the actual surgery and the potential for something going wrong. This surgeon's complication rate was less than the national average and he has never had a death. My husband agreed that if this is what I wanted, he would be supportive. That was that. I started making the myriad of consultation appointments the next day.

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