I battled with whether or not I would even share my story because of how judgmental people can be, but no matter what, people will judge me for something. If my story helps even one person, then it is worth it to be transparent. Here goes:
After struggling for so many years and watching my health decline and quality of life suffer, I began heavily considering bariatric surgery. I had several signs along the way that lead me to believe that this was the way I needed to go. My struggles with my weight date back to childhood. It’s something I’ve always dealt with, but it really got out of hand once I moved away from home and started working.
Back in 2010 I had a doctor who kept recommending it to me. She basically told me that with my PCOS my body craves carbs, and I would have a difficult time trying to lose weight on my own. I was not ready to go that route and decided I would still try and do it on my own. The years after that were filled with multiple weight loss attempts through dieting, exercising, etc in varying stages and much with little to no success. The most success I had was prior to conceiving my son where I had lost about 40 pounds, and I had to struggle to lose each of those pounds.
Around June 2018 I joined a program that had workouts and meal plans incorporated. By September my back began aching and I had a pain down my leg like I had pulled a muscle. I went to an orthopedic doctor to get checked out. The doctor I saw was around my age. They did an x-ray and didn’t find anything. Of course I didn’t want anything to be wrong with me, but it’s hard to have no answers. The doctor left out of the room, then he came back and told me he felt like he’d be doing me a disservice if he didn’t come back and talk to me. He told me that about half of my body weight was fat, and that I might want to consider having weight loss surgery. He said that at my weight I should not be doing high impact exercises because that is too much impact/pressure on my joints. He said I should be doing lower impact exercises like swimming. I tell y’all, I literally cried in the car because he wasn’t telling me anything I didn’t know. I thought about all of my successes and failures and just cried. This doctor really gave me permission to stop doing those high impact exercises that were doing more physical harm than good. They were taxing on my joints. This was my first sign.
An OB/GYN that I had gone to undergrad with was doing these Maternity Talks on Facebook live where she would speak about obesity in pregnancy and other maternity related topics. During one of her talks she told us not to be afraid to seek help through weight loss surgery so that we can lose weight and have a healthier pregnancy. She spoke of the difficulties that women experience while trying to lose weight and some of the complications that can happen when the mother is overweight and pregnant. This was my second sign.
Then one right after another there were about three people that I followed on social media who got weight loss surgery. Two got gastric bypass and one got the duodenal switch. I felt like I was getting one sign after another. I had decided on the lapband for myself. Some of these last instances happened after I had already begun the consultation for bariatric surgery.
I had my first consultation on February 4th of this year, my second on March 11th, and my 3rd on April 8th. With my insurance, the requirements were to have three nutritional sessions over a 90 day period and to get a psychiatric evaluation. My third appointment was less than 90 days from the first one so I had to have an additional one. At that appointment I finally had questions, a page full to be exact. My doctor answered every question. One of the many things I really liked about him is that he did not try to push me one way or another towards any particular surgery. Looking online in these support groups, there’s so much good and bad mentioned about each of the surgeries. One thing we have to remember is that someone else’s experience may not be our own whether it is good or bad. We have to weigh the pros and cons to decide what is best for ourselves and our lives in general. I felt good about my decision to get the lapband, and I just had to wait on a surgery date.
May 14-17th I was in class for work, and I got a call from my doctor’s office telling me that the approval had come through, and they were calling to schedule the pre-op and surgery. I wanted to schedule it for my next day off which would have been that following Friday, but I was a little nervous and also wanted to give myself a chance at really trying the pre-op diet which was the Sugar Busters diet. I told them that I’d come in on June 6th for pre-op. It was an all day ordeal, but everything was good to go, and I went in the morning of June 7th for my surgery. My crew was with me. Y’all, I was so nervous, but I was ready. I still had those thoughts in my head like, “Maybe I can try one more time, etc.” I remembered this one guy along the way who told me that I did not want to miss my window of opportunity, and I just knew that I needed to go through with it. I went in that morning, and they took great care of me. I came out of surgery just fine. That anesthesia is so difficult to wake up from. I made sure I thanked all of the nurses there for taking such great care of me. They took me into the room where my family was waiting for me, and I was excited to see them, although groggy. They wanted me to get up. I really wasn’t ready, but I knew how important it was to get up and get moving to make sure I could recover well, so I did. They discharged me, and we went home. Things were definitely not easy.
I went back to work on that Monday, and I felt very strongly that I really should have taken a week off. I just went through the motions of getting everything accomplished even though some days it was very difficult. All in all, my healing was going well. I was definitely a little hungry going through the beginning stages. As more food was incorporated things got a little easier. I made sure to walk for exercise everyday whether it was walking outdoors or doing a Walk Away the Pounds video by Leslie Sansone.
I was asked about joining an online support community, and at this point I was down about 50 pounds from the beginning of my journey. I joined the community. There were options of live workouts, prerecorded workouts and meal plans, etc. Once I got the clearance from my doctor to do other workouts, I joined in. I was doing very well. I was able to do movements I hadn’t been able to do in a long time. My flexibility and overall mobility was coming back, and I felt so strong. Then on September 16th, I had less than ten minutes left in a Tabata workout. I was doing burpees, and when I came down, my knee made the most gruesome sounds, and I knew it was bad. I had injured myself.
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Thank you to those people who pushed me to tell my story because as they said, “People need to read it. You don’t know who you might help.”
Until next time,