On a personal note
Then . . .
I haven't updated my blog for quite some time. Between one thing and another, I haven't been able to find the time. But something astonishing happened to me a few months ago, and I wanted to share it.
I've always had trouble losing weight. Well, losing it wasn't a problem; keeping it lost was. In fact, by the middle of 2005, I was 190 pounds overweight. No, I didn't weigh 190, I was 190 pounds OVER what my weight should have been. I felt huge and ugly and slow and stupid. I also felt I would probably die younger than I should, and came to accept all those negatives about myself. It was a battle I would never win, so why even try?
At one point in 2005, I knuckled down and lost about 35 lbs. I thought I'd finally solved my problem, but I hit the wall and no matter what I did (dieting, WW, exercise, meditation, NutriSystems, etc.) my weight didn't budge.
Fast forward to 2010. By then, I'd remarried (a wonderful man), a doctor who had seen many patients in my situation develop diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and worse (worse?!) - yes, Death. He urged me to do something to save my own life. Yes, he was being selfish. He wanted me around for another 20 years or so. I can't say I disagreed with his bias.
I'd read about various bariatric surgeries over the years, but the mortality and complication rates were high. Not for me. Then I saw an ad in a magazine about the lap-band. It looked very simple and something I could deal with, so my husband and I attended a seminar. When the meeting was over, I'd decided NOT to have the lap-band, or a gastric bypass, or duodenal switch. The complication rates were too high, the post-op diets too restrictive, and I didn't think I could live with any of them for the rest of my life.
BUT, there was a 4th option: a gastric sleeve. I did more research and decided THAT was the way to go.
On December 7th, 2010, I underwent the surgery. I was in the hospital only overnight and came home the next day. The surgery is conducted via laparoscopy, so there's not one giant incision (just 4-6 little small ones). I healed very quickly.
Long story short, as of this week, I've lost 60 pounds. REAL pounds, on the doctor's scale - not my home scale where if I stood just right, naked, with short hair and an empty bladder, I MIGHT see a 1 pound loss.
No, I'm not done losing weight; I still have another 75 lbs. to go, but now I KNOW I will make it. For the first time in my life (I'm 62 and have been overweight to one degree or another since I was 12), I KNOW I will finally be thin. I wish this surgery had been available years and years ago. I'm sure my life would have been entirely different had I not had to struggle with my weight every minute of every day for 50 years.
I hesitated to tell anyone I was having this surgery as many people view bariatric surgery as "the easy way out." I'm here to tell you, sister, it is NOT the easy way out. There is a lot of pre-op work to be done to even become "eligible" for this kind of surgery. The pre-op and post-op dietary regimens are strict - but very do-able for someone who is truly committed to changing her life F-O-R-E-V-E-R. I haven't been hungry and when I eat, I'm full after 6-8 bites. I eat between 5-7 meals a day (every two hours or so), and I am THRILLED with the results.
There is much more to this type of surgery, so if you are considering it, DO check out all your options. Find the very best bariatric surgeon your area has to offer, do what he/she tells you, use the surgery as the tool it is (it's only part of your weight loss process; you still have to avoid foods that make you fat, or you'll regain the weight you lose). And if you decide this is the solution for you, hold your head up high and go for it. It's YOUR life; take control of it! It may be the best thing you have ever done or will ever do for yourself.
Life is short. It can go on for decades or end in a heartbeat one single second from now. You just don't know. All you can do is what you can do, and I decided that I was sick and tired of being victimized by my genes or age or emotions, and it was time to take matters into my own hands.
Since October (a mere 3 months ago), I've had to give away ALL my clothes. They grew too large weeks ago and I didn't want to wear them anyway because they reminded me of when I was bigger (aka, really, really fat). I've bought a few new things to tide me over until I reach my ultimate goal, but I FEEL so good, waking up every day is exciting, and looking in the mirror now makes me smile instead of feel guilt and remorse, dread and self-loathing.
So there you have it. I expect to reach my goal weight in the late summer or fall of this year, and I can hardly wait! Finally, I'll get to be who I really am; look on the outside how I feel on the inside - healthy, energetic, happy, content - and not like a middle-aged woman dragging her hefty body around in pain and sorrow. And I'll be able to wear pretty clothes again! I am so looking forward to buying a size that doesn't have an X (or 3) in it!
If you have questions, please feel free to email me. This surgery is not for everyone, and asking questions can help you decide one way or the other whether it might work for you.
I care about you, dear reader, and finally, for the first time in memory, I also care about me.