My Weight Loss Surgery Decision and my journey to it.
Monday, March 04, 2013
After discussing it with my doctors, husband, family and support system, I've decided to have weight loss surgery. (This is a very long blog, some may not seem relevant, but all in all comes back to my decision with weight loss surgery.)
My fertility specialist recommended it after the fertility treatments weren't working and we couldn't get control of my pancreas and hormonal insanity. At the time I absolutely refused. I didn't want any surgeries, for a few reasons.
1. I felt after a WLS I would have to change my eating habits and eat less, etc, well if I could do it after surgery, I can do it myself before surgery and wouldn't need the surgery, right?
2. I don't want it to look like I'm taking the easy way out, which is what I thought WLS was.
3. I didn't want surgery, it's scary and dangerous and there are so many horror stories out there you hear about.
That was in 2011.
In 2012 all fertility treatments stopped because, there just wasn't anything left to do that we could afford. Adoption/Fostercare were a possibility in the long run, but not something that was available at this time for one reason or another. 2012 was really a year of me learning a lot about myself and coming to accept certain realities in my life. Let's make a list again...
1. I binge. I didn't know. A lot of people probably would say, "how do you not know you binge?" Well, I always thought binging went with purging and I didn't purge. If we're going to be honest here (and it's time I am), if I could purge I think I probably would have. I just don't have much of a gag reflex and takes a lot for me to vomit even when I'm sick. So I learned this after seeing a therapist initially about the infertility issues. I'd like to say that since I learned that I binge that I stopped, but that's not true, not at all. I'm more aware of it and am better about it, but certainly still do it.
2. I was starting to accept that children might not happen for me (for us) and while there were times of self pity and guilt, I've been able to work on accepting that my husband loves and supports me with or without children and doesn't blame me. I've come to realize that if I never have kids there will always be a hole in my heart, but we all have our crosses to bear and if that's mine, so be it. Call it fate, destiny, life path, whatever...it is what it is.
3. I have trouble with balance in my life. This is not something I learned in 2012, what I did learn is that I do not have to be a pushover. I am allowed to say "no" or to tell people how I feel, even if it might hurt them. I don't have to be rude or mean about it, but my feelings are important too. What does this have to do with balance? Well, I think I went from one extreme to the other. Once I started saying "no" and being honest about my feelings, thoughts, etc, I think I might have tipped the scales the other way. I never said or did anything I felt to be rude or inconsiderate, but I think my tact might have gotten lost along the way. The best word to describe how I've been I believe is "testy." I need to find the balance. I'm working on that, but I am glad I'm able to speak my mind more. I may have upset some people and possibly lost friends along the way, but I still feel this is a positive direction for me.
So, now we come to 2013. In January, a friend updated her profile picture. At first I wondered who that random person was she was posting as her picture, then realized it was her, down about 80 pounds. It's unbelievable how different the weight can make you look. I spoke with her in some detail and she explained about having the gastric bypass surgery, her doctor, the process, etc. I began to reconsider it as an option. At this point, I still felt the bypass was much too invasive, and maybe the lap band would be an option I'd consider. So I signed up for a free seminar the following week.
At the seminar, there was a lot of detail, a lot of q&a, and quite a change of my thought process. I learned the mechanics of the surgeries and what they do for and to your body and internal organs. I thought it was as simple as, smaller stomach=smaller portions. Well, it's not. Without going into details, in the end I was leaning more toward the bypass due to the fact that it has such a positive and immediate impact on diabetes, due to bypassing the pancreas. Well, my lovely pancreas is a huge source of my issues, so it seemed obviously the correct choice for me.
Appointments were made, surgeon, nutritionists, psychologist, etc, all necessary for the hospital and my insurance. After speaking with the surgeon, he advised me that he felt either the sleeve or the bypass would work for me, but the choice was mine and he'd approve either one. I'm not in the process of talking to many people who've had both and getting the pros and cons for both.
I understand that either one I choose will greatly change my life, my eating habits for the rest of my life, vitamins and supplements I'll have to take for the rest of my life, things that I probably will never be able to eat again without having extremely bad reactions to it, however, I feel that I can't do this alone. I've attempted so many times to lose weight and get healthy. I've tried really bad diets (Atkins, diet pills, etc) and some general healthy lifestyle changes. Granted the "Lifestyle change" that SP helped me with a few years ago when I lost about 50 pounds was the most successful, but didn't last. Partially, definitely my fault. I could have chosen carrot sticks instead of chips, but also partially that my hormones, blood sugars, etc were working so hard against me all the time. Unless I was eating 1200 calories a day and exercising 60+ minutes every day I would gain back. I couldn't even maintain with this mess inside me.
I'm sure some people are still 100% against it (some friends are as well, but luckily they're supportive of me and whatever decision I make, which is why they're my friends), and I'm sure I may get some negative comments on the option, I believe this is right for me now. With my weight and my medical issues at this point in my life (I'm only 34), I can't imagine where my health might be if I stay at this weight and this poor health for another 5, 10, 20 years, if I even live that long. I start to say, what have I got to lose, but I understand, there is still risk. However, I feel, this is worth the risk. (I have researched the hospital numbers of risks and complications from this as well. Nothing's 100%, but they have excellent results and surgeons there.)
Something else that does concern me slightly about this whole surgery option...I don't want people to look at me like I took the easy way out. After all things considered, it's extremely difficult and the easy way would be with simple diet and exercise, however, I am still concerned about what people think. My husband constantly tells me not to care what others think, but it's not that easy for me. I'm not going to let this fear stop me from doing what I feel is best, but it will still be something in the back of my mind every time I tell someone.
I still have a couple months of appointments, follow ups and what-not, but I have to say, I'm excited because I have hope...and I haven't had hope in a long time.
Member Comments About This Blog Post
I had the gastric sleeve 10 months ago, I am so happy I did... down 75 pounds. It is not easy, and not a fast cure it's a tool to help you!
1469 days ago
I can only say that I have yet to meet anyone who did the Atkins or a similar low-carb diet correctly who was not extremely successful. In particular for people with diabetes, which is really a disease of carbohydrate intolerance, it is the only thing that will work in the long run to keep the weight off. Obesity does not cause diabetes but the same causes, large amount of carbohydrates in your diet, together with carbohydrate intolerance, will cause both obesity and diabetes. Even if you get bariatric surgery this would still be the only dietary approach that can keep your weight AND your blood sugar in the normal range without medication, which will start a viscious circle of your body needing even more insulin over time.
I don't doubt that there are very rare conditions where low-carb won't be advisable but I have not heard of one yet.
I would be very interested to hear what it was about Atkins that did not work for you and would be more than happy to share resources with you that could make it very successful so if you like send me a spark mail.
Major surgery has one more disadvantage that many doctors don't think of. It makes it impossible to exercise for a while, something that is very helpful with diabetes.
1544 days ago
Comment edited on: 3/6/2013 12:00:31 PM
Thank you all for your kind words and support.
Andrea (SoothingGlow), I hope your surgery went well, I'd love to hear how it went, the ins and outs of the whole process if you're willing and when you're up to it.
Houndlover1, when I did the Atkins diet, I actually became very unhealthy. I have spoken to my regular doctor (have another appointment today), spoke to my fertility doctor and to an endocrinologist about the surgery options all before going to the bariatric clinic. I'm aware they are going to try to encourage me to do the surgery, although, I have seen them turn people away, so I know they're not just trying to get any and all patients they can. Actually, the recent diabetes diagnosis helped to cement the decision in my mind. However, thank you for your thoughts and suggestions. I will always welcome and continue to research any/all options.
1545 days ago
I hope you will reconsider the surgery. I just saw your post on the diabetes forum but rather wanted to comment here. You say you have tried Atkins before. If it did not work for you I'm pretty sure that you did not have a support group to help you figure out what was not working. Atkins is the easiest diet to do for life, you will never feel hungry and it will cure diabetes FAST, without surgery. In fact I suspect that your blood sugar could be close to normal within a month, although losing the weight would take longer of course. Since you are never hungry there is no temptation to binge for most people, either. There is nothing better for your heart health either.
Take a look at the book "The great cholesterol myth", written by a cardiologist or the book by Gary Taubes "Why we get fat". Don't believe doctors who make a ton of money from bariatric surgery. You are better off talking to someone at a non-surgical bariatric clinic.
Please consider joining us on the low-carb team on Spark and give the low-carb lifestyle a try for at least a month. There are lots of people there with amazing stories to tell of beating all kinds of diseases incl. binge eating.
Here is the link:
1545 days ago
You have to do what is right for you.
I wish you the best of luck!
1546 days ago
Hi! My name is Andrea. I too am having gastric bypass. I have my pre-op testing tomorrow and my surgery next tuesday. I just want to encourage you to do what is best for your body and NOT worry about what people are going to think. The truth is...there are A LOT of people that think that WLS is "the easy way out.". The good thing is that you dont HAVE to tell anyone if you dont want to. I think for me one of the best things I've done to learn how to deal with people's perceptions of me is to see my therapist. I have become a much stronger person for myself. It has helped me stand up for myself and what is right for me. Whichever option you choose is up to you and don't let anyone else's opinion sway your decision.
Good Luck! Welcome to the start of a life changing journey!
1546 days ago
I know how you feel and I have been in your shoes. I had the surgery Gastric Bypass and I have no regrets. I have to wait a year before getting pregnant but it doesn't stop me from trying. People will always have something to say....Do what is right for you...
1546 days ago
you are so strong! you're making the very best decision for yourself, as long as you believe it. stick your tongue out at the naysayers and do what you need to do!
YOU HAVE GOT THIS!!!
1546 days ago
I think (from reading your blog) you have researched all your options and chosen what's best for you. That's what matters!
1546 days ago
May you gain something from all of this. Learn to monitor yourself and I am sure the surgery will help. God bless you in your decision.
1547 days ago
1547 days ago
Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.