I am four days out from having my gastric sleeve surgery, and it is incredible what changes you go through when you are ready. I’m allowing a virtual stranger to remove and reconstruct a significant organ. That is huge. But it goes beyond that fact. When I began this journey, my eating increased because I had a horrible case of the “NEVERS.” The “I’m never going to have…” or “how can I live without ____?” But the “NEVERS” eventually turned into, “I may decide not to consume _____ again, which is okay.” That shift in thinking is monumental in this journey. The reality is that six to nine months post-op, you will be able to have what you want. There are no restrictions… but at that time, I will choose to avoid the foods that have been my go-to “trigger foods.” The reason for this is that I refuse to undergo life-altering surgery and end up where I am today. That will not happen to me.
Years ago, I lost about 100 pounds. At that time, I had not been through therapy, well… not the therapy I needed anyway. I went to a therapist during and shortly after an abusive marriage, but it was Band-Aid therapy. It helped me walk away from a toxic person, but I never addressed the “why.” It wasn’t until I went through cancer, dealt with issues in my current marriage, and found myself asking myself why I was back to being 100 pounds overweight that I decided to find a therapist that could help. At first, I stepped into therapy looking to gain insight into mindfulness. At first, it helped me lose a few pounds, but I inevitably gained all the pounds back, plus some.
That’s the thing. I have, for as long as I can remember, been on the yo-yo diet train. Lose 20, gain 30… lose 100, gain 130. I went back and forth, resetting my biological body clock to the highest number until I hit 340. That number made me question if I could ever lose this and keep it off. I was at 286 for the longest time, but once my rheumatologist put me on prednisone and a drug called Remicade, and I quit smoking, I ballooned up to 340 and found it nearly impossible to lose any of that weight for a period longer than a few weeks.
Now I’m not living in a land of delusion. There were a ton of big meals and over-eating mixed with a lack of movement that led to me growing to 340 pounds. My body was and is in pain 24/7. My Achilles is swollen, and that causes my ankles not to bend correctly. It sucks. I hate going up and down stairs as a result… but I press on. Which also led me to consider this step. In July or August of last year, I went to a friend/former coworker’s garage sale, and she had lost a significant amount of weight. She shared with me that she had bariatric surgery. I didn’t ask many questions that day, but the seed was planted. Over the next several months, I made half attempt to lose weight, but all were unsuccessful.
Then in October, I spent a little time catching up with her again, and the changes in her were profound. She was more confident, active, and happier than before her surgery. So this was when I started inquiring about the process. She was happy to share her story, journey, and doctor’s name and even added me to a bunch of Facebook groups so I could explore the process. In November, I called her Bariatric Surgeon, and I booked an appointment for December. By this point, I had researched the heck out of the surgeries. I had one friend who had the sleeve and this other who had the RNY (gastric bypass.) I, at first, was leaning toward the RNY, but after the visit with the surgeon, I decided to go for the sleeve.
The reason I chose the sleeve is because of the malabsorption that can happen after the RNY, along with the recovery times, level of invasiveness, and the option to have another surgery down the road if necessary. The RNY is equivalent to the last stop at a train station, whereas the sleeve is like the second to last stop. But more than the option to have another procedure is my need for a swift-ish recovery. I did not want anyone to know because I was afraid of judgment. I worried that people would lay their misconceptions and ignorance at my door, and I didn’t want that; however, I have told the bulk of my friends and family at this point. Though, I have kept work in the dark. I don’t have an issue telling people now, but I have found in the past (different company) that if you go on an LOA (leave of absence), you will be treated differently upon your return. So being able to take PTO rather than short-term disability or FMLA is a great thing for me.
The next post will be my salute to the foods I once loved that, for some reason, now don’t hit the same. Take care, and thanks for joining me on this journey (even if you jumped in late, and I’m already six months post-op lol)