The year was 2010, the place was Yellowstone National Park, the feelings were;
irate, mad, annoyed!
Yes, I was angry. I couldn’t do anything, I felt my body had failed me, but I had failed my body. Getting up in the morning was a chore, my husband would wake early in the morning, start a campfire, eat breakfast, and read his book. I laid in the tent, sleeping, or just laying there, dreading the time I stepped out of the tent. Stepping out meant I had to pretend to be a “Happy Camper”.
In truth the only time I was truly happy was when I was just sitting and observing the beauty. That sounds great, but when you have an active husband, it is depressing. Walking the paths in the park was pure torture, especially the ones that required steps. I felt so depressed about my insufficient engagement in the experience. My handsome, wonderful husband played along and pretended he was okay with my insufficient energy, but in truth I knew he was secretly disappointed.
Returning home was not much better. I was teaching at the time and it was in July, summer break was a nightmare. Still, not wanting to get out of bed, still disappointing my husband, kids, grandkids. Living was a strain. I couldn’t go up and down stairs without pain and heavy breathing. I weighed in at 298 pounds, I was considered, “Class 3 – Obese”. My BMI was way over the 40 point. I was a mess!
I am not even sure where the idea came from, but one day I decided to call my insurance to see if they would pay for gastric surgery. They would, but you had to be on a strict, doctor monitored diet to qualify for coverage. Quickly, I set up an appointment with my doctor and explained my situation. She agreed to monitor my weight loss. I explained that I wanted to try the Fit for Life plan to lose weight. She read the plan and agreed it would be a great way to lose weight as it promotes high protein, low carbohydrates, six small meals a day, with gradual addition of exercise.
Telling my family!
Telling my family meant after all these years of lying about being happy, I would have to admit, I hate myself. I hate I let myself down. I hate I let my husband down. I hate I let my kids down, I hate I let my grandkids down. I just hated I had to go through this to lose weight! Of course, everyone would say, you are fine the way you are, you don’t need to do this…but they all would end up saying, if you do this, we will support you. That is what I needed, support! Lots and Lots of support!
The Weight Loss Center
The realization that this is happening
The scariest place to be
The happiest place to be
The only place for me
I researched and researched for a weight loss centers in the area that would perform weight loss surgery. I was lucky! There was a surgeon in our area that specializes in weight loss surgery and was and affiliate with the hospital/doctors on my insurance plan. I found out they had an informational meeting at a hospital near me the following week. My husband and I attended the meeting. It was informative. I signed the papers to allow them to contact my insurance and my doctor. It was the scariest thing I have ever done. Weight loss surgery is, at the least, going to change my internal being for the remainder of my life.
Once done, it is
A few days later the call came in…we talked to your insurance, they will cover the costs if you do the three month diet and prove you can lose weight. I laughed…my problem never was losing weight. Sure I could lose, and then gain it back with another ten pounds added on. I went from a 120 pound 18 year old to a 298 pound 40 year old. Yo Yo dieting was a way of life for me. The insurance clerk laughed and said, the next step would be to do the three months diet, come in for a consult, and when the diet is over, submit the results to the insurance company for the surgery approval. Sounds easy, right?!? Since I already knew about the diet and started with the diet a few weeks early I set up the consultation appoint.
I had no idea there were so many weight loss surgeries. Each surgery has its pros and cons. Each aids in weight loss, each changes your internal structures, each is permanent, each had side effects. Did you know that someone that has had gastric bypass will get physically ill if they eat sweets? Sweets were never a problem for me. The surgeon took my medical history, eating habits, exercising habits, and lifestyle into account and recommended I have Lapband surgery.
Lapband is the least invasive surgery that treats obesity through the slower consumption of food, thus reducing the amount you eat. The surgery consists laproscopically placing a silicon gastric band around the entrance to the stomach, the tube is also attached to a port used to “fill” the silicon tube. The gastric band constricts the stomach making the entrance into the of the stomach smaller and allows you to feel full with less food and then the food takes longer to digest with the constriction. You are literally eating small portions, feeling full longer, and losing weight. However, you are not changing your internal organs permanently. The lapband is permanent, you will always have the port, but your internal organs are not changed in any way.
Readying the body for the day of reckoning
- Dietary Changes
Eliminate – bread, rice, potatoes, pasta, crackers, chips, pretzels, cookies, cakes, pies, candy, sugar sweetened food, sweetened drinks, full strength fruit juice, processed food, fried food, breaded and saucy foods
- Prepare your body:
Cut food into small pieces, chew thoroughly, eat slow, eliminate distractions, stop drinking 30 minutes before a meal and wait 30 minutes after a meal, start an exercise program for at least 10 minutes a day
- Changing Eating Habits:
Eat protein first, unlimited vegetables, fruit at least once a day, three meals a day, no snacks, limit carbs to 20-30 a day, drink much water, avoid alcohol, take a multivitamin, keep a log of foods
- Three weeks before surgery change to a soft diet
- Two weeks before surgery change to a full liquid diet
- Three days before surgery change to a liquid diet
Six months and 28 pounds lighter
Time to go
February 15, 2011 – The day that will live in infamy
Surgery took about an hour under general anesthesia. Recover takes about four hours. You cannot leave until you can keep down fluids and pudding.
Recovery is quick, within a few days you are at full activity level. You need to slowly introduce regular food again. The gastric band is in place and has limited constriction at first. It is at your two week check up they complete your first “Fill”. I will never forget that first fill! The pain was intense. I thought I would never do it again. You will get a “Fill” every two weeks until you reach your goal weight or you can’t keep food down.
Lapband surgery is the slowest in seeing results. With Gastric Bypass you can lose 50-100 pounds in a few short months. With Lapband you will lose slowly and steadily for about a year to two years.
- The pros –
I lost weight steadily – going from 280 pounds at surgery time to 168 pounds in August of 2013. I enjoyed most of the foods I love and still lost weight. I went from a size 26 to a size 10! I felt great, no more knee pain, can get out of bed every morning with energy. Life was better, house was cleaner, everyone was happy! I learned how to eat healthy and that the amount wasn’t what counted, but what your body needed to survive is what mattered.
- The cons –
Limited foods you can eat, no carbonation at all, frustration, vomiting, never feeling satisfied, and depression increases especially if you are like me and stress eat.
I am not going to lie! It was hard and remains hard to this day. I have gained some weight back, I currently weigh 185 pounds and I went from a size 10 back to a 14. How did I do this…I went back to my old habits. I became frustrated with not being able to eat, physically it was painful most of the time and I would often vomit if I ate too much. The most irritating is the build up of gastric fluids when you are eating and they need to be expelled by vomiting. I would cry for just a normal meal, a cheeseburger, steak, any normal food. I was tired of ground meat, soup, mashed potatoes, and literally feeling hungry all the time. I started to eat “slider foods”. These are called slider foods because they slip right through the gastric band without constriction. Of course these are the bad choices we make, cookies, ice cream, chips, candy, cakes, pies…pretty much anything bad for you.
I am asked all the time – Would you do it again if you could go back? The answer is simple, YES! I am so much healthier and in the long run, happier. I look at myself now and think that yes, I have gained some weight back, but I am also still 100 pounds lighter today than I was in 2010. I still get frustrated, I hate the vomiting, I miss my beer, but I am so much better off than I was back then. I haven’t had a fill in two years and thus I can eat steak, potatoes, rice, chicken and most meals now, but there are days that I cannot eat these foods physically. I have learned to read my body and what it needs. I still eat a lot of soup
My goals and why I am blogging about this part of my life:
Be HONEST with you
Help those with weight issues
Help those who may seek gastric surgery for weight loss
Share reviews of restaurants based on my dietary needs
Share my vacation from a different perspective
Ask for support from my followers when needed
If you have questions or need support please contact me!
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2 thoughts on “I Live a Soupy Life – My Story of Weight Loss Surgery”
Thank you for sharing this! I’m sure many people think that weight loss surgery is an easy fix but there are so many things to take into consideration. I don’t have first-hand experience myself, but have spoken to others who have undergone different procedures. I wish you continued success!
Thank you Sandy! It is just like any diet…it is not a quick fix, it is a life change!