I gave up a lot this year. I walked into 2014 willing to sacrifice pretty much whatever was asked of me in hopes of regaining my health. I surrendered my love of good food. I gave up sugar, soda, and any kind of processed food. I even gave up taking any time for myself in the midst of a very stressful job. No vacation this year — at all. I have given countless doctors thousands of dollars in co-pays, premiums, “special supplement costs”, and every single sick AND vacation minute I’ve accrued.
Walking into the hospital on the 22nd I was optimistic that this was the right thing. I walked out the evening of the 23rd tired, sore, but ready to start this new chapter. On the 24th I developed a horrible complication which landed me back in the hospital for a 2nd major surgery in as many days and a considerably longer stay because my kidneys decided that was too much stress and they needed a couple mental health days. I was finally cleared to come home AGAIN the afternoon of the 27th. Terrified, swollen, bloated, sore, exhausted, and really only wanting to sleep I went home, but have yet to be able to lay in a bed. Me and the recliner are best friends.
You’d think ‘ok well we are a week in now and she should be getting back to normal.’ And, to that I’d tell you, my right side is wonderful. Very little pain. Good range of motion. My left side is a little more “drama queen-ish” and she has decided to hang on to her trauma. So, because of her stubbornness pre-surgery I weighed in at 263 — post surgery I am a hearty 274 and I haven’t had anything more substantial than 4 oz. of a very disgusting protein shake once since the 20th. I don’t think sugar-free jello and water count.
I walk daily, but I can’t eat. I mean that literally. The protein supplement you spend a crapload of money on is only tolerable when you can chug it, but when forced to sip, it makes me heave. And in case you’re wondering that is a HORRIBLE thing to do because you may rupture something. So I have subsisted on runny mashed potatoes because it’s the only thing that doesn’t make me puke. Unfortunately, that has little to no protein in it so I may start losing hair. WOW! WONDERFUL! This surgery just keeps on giving doesn’t it!
I’m stuck with my decision. I am not one to wallow in regrets. However, I will say this. If I knew even 2 weeks ago what I know now I would just said to hell with it and skipped this all together. On my list of piss poor choices — Bariatric surgery has shot to number 1.
Please forgive any grammatical errors in this post. It’s 3:24, I’m in bed, on an iPad (instead of at a PC) and I just shouldn’t be held responsible for misusing “to” when I meant “too”.
So, a few things. I talked to a guy yesterday who agreed to be my personal trainer. He was so sweet and kind. Believe it or not I never lacked confidence in myself as a person. It must be the Sagittarius in me, because I always felt secure in who I am despite my weight, but being able to admit that I cannot get myself in shape alone. *Whew* that was hard for me. He made it easy to ask for help and I appreciate him for that!
I went to church Sunday. That’s freaking HUGE! MASSIVE! I have my reasons for not going, but I got an IM from a childhood friend basically asking me when I was coming. We had a brief convo where I told him I don’t do congregations. And to be honest I didn’t plan on going. However, Sunday I got up, got dressed, and went. And I’m glad I did. Sometimes in the midst of stressful times God speaks to us in unlikely places. And for me church is about as unlikely as a monk in a strip club.
My job may be easing up soon. I swear for the last 6 weeks I have felt completely overwhelmed. 10 hour work days. Trying to juggle 4 separate programs. Phone calls. E-mails. Home Visits. Excel files. Lists. Letters. Nursing Homes. All of this and keeping a smile on my face has been a challenge. One I suspect I have been failing. (Read I’ve been a bitch). To all my friends who have overlooked it, forced me to laugh about it, or just forced a hug on me in spite of myself… Damn I love y’all!
I’m exhausted, which means I’m in bed by 9 and awake between 3 and 5… I gave up caffeine and sugar and that means I’m cranky, but on the plus side I am down 35lbs by myself. That is important to me. Because even though I am having this surgery Tuesday, this proves to me I am ready, committed, and capable of changing this aspect of my life. It’s getting close and I’m a little scared and a lot nervous. And in truth I’m looking forward to the anesthesia… I may get some real sleep.
When a person decides to take on Surgical Weight Loss it is not something that you wake up on Monday and say “hey, let’s spend the next six months hanging out in doctor’s offices.” It’s never that arbitrary, (or at least it shouldn’t be). This is a ‘I’ve done all I can do on my own and unless Jillian Michaels or Bob what’s-his-name are going to move in my house along with Oprah’s chef – I need help’ kind of deal.
So, when you put it out in the universe that you are going to do this, people have all kinds of reactions to you. Some say “way to go!” Others say nothing as not appear rude or disapproving. Still different people will offer you advice on how to do it without such a drastic change. And my favorite are those who find out I had to lose significant weight prior to surgery (30 pounds to date! Yay Me!) who say “well why don’t you just keep doing that” (because I actually NEED to lose more weight than my current diet will achieve). Anyway, I’m good with pretty much all the reactions. While I cherish my privacy, when you drop half a person in less than a year people will notice and ask. However, I was not completely prepared for what I heard yesterday.
Overweight women tend to have a harder row to hoe in the dating arena. Not because we are any less funny, charming, kind, or cool. It is because our bodies tend not to be society’s ideal. I get that. That is not a news flash. What angered me was being told how cool and funny I was; only to then have tacked on that when I lose my weight men will flock to me because I’ll then be cool as hell AND physically appealing. WHAT! I consider myself pretty darn cute right now. Overall health aside — I have never seen me as unattractive.
Talk about a backhand compliment. Men can be fat and still be dateable, but not women and that just sucks. I get preferences. I prefer men who are taller than my 5’3”, with jobs, reliable transportation, and good hygiene. I figure personalities will sort themselves out after the first date. I guess my biggest offense comes from this dude basically telling me who I am as a person is not enough. That’s a little hurtful. I may be a handful, but rest assured right now, before I lose even one more ounce, I am pretty damn good as-is
I am an open book. So, it will come as no surprise to the people who know me that this is the way I chose to journal my weight loss process. In December 2013 I was in the emergency room 4 times due to uncontrolled asthma. I had high blood pressure and felt like a rough 60-year-old. I’m 41 and my personality is that of a young 30-year-old. So I went to my primary care doctor to have an honest conversation about my weight. For years he simply said to me “you need to lose weight.” Talk about stating the obvious. Yup, I am well aware I am fat. Not fluffy, not chunky, not a “big girl”, or a “plumpkin”, but fat. I have never been thin. I was at my smallest what we in the black community call thick — small waist, but curvy.
Over the years life happens. I picked up some weight when my daughter was born. I picked up some more over the subsequent years until one day about 4 years ago I didn’t recognize the woman staring back at me. I felt like shit. Everything ached and nothing was comfortable. I knew then that I needed to do something. It took four years of trying different things including joining a gym (net weight loss 10 pounds) and eating healthier. But the truth of the matter is my weight was prohibitive. That is not an excuse. I had allowed my weight to make my asthma so bad that simply walking on a treadmill for a half hour meant I may need an ER afterwards. That’s a hard thing to admit. So, more than my physical appearance (I’ve been blessed with good self-esteem no matter my size) I was afraid for my life.
So, in January 2014 I told my doctor that I was sick and tired of him throwing a pill at all of my issues and I fearful I wouldn’t make it to 60 much less the 90 I’m trying for. I told him quite plainly to quit medicating my fat and help me get rid of it. He is not a fan of weight loss surgery, but he conceded that he’d either give me the referral or loss me as a patient because I was done.
In the last six months I have been through a battery of tests that make feel like I had been rode hard and hung up wet. I have seen every –oligist you can imagine and a psychiatrist. I have been poked, prodded, scoped, and pricked more than I want to think about. But most importantly I have been educated. I have been educated about why diets have never worked long-term for me. I have been educated about why exercise is not only important, but only one piece of my puzzle. And I have been forced to look at my health without blinders on and learn what I need to do so that I can be healthy.
I will have Roux en Y Gastric Bypass surgery on July 22, 2014. I am inviting you to follow my journey.