I’ve struggled with my body since I was about 14 but as I got older and times changed I got to the point where it didn’t matter anymore to me. I was me and I loved me. Yea, of course, I wanted to be able to go up a flight of stairs without getting out of breath, but excuse are easier then change some times. I joined a few gyms, tried a few diets but nothing worked and I always just told myself I would try something else at a later time. Then I’d pack on 10 more pounds. I called it my pity weight.
It wasn’t until I was at my heaviest at 272 lb , that I knew something was wrong.
I had started to experience fatigue, restlessness, and my arms would go numb no matter how I laid in bed. I was always tired but could never sleep more then a few hours. Finally I decided to visit my doctor. At the doctors office the few concerns I had, turned into bigger ones. My weight and diet had caused me to have high blood pressure and high cholesterol. When I pointed out how hard I’ve tried to lose weight I realized I was making another excuse, to my doctor who is telling me what was wrong and why. She mentioned a weight loss clinic, and explained how surgery wasn’t the only thing they did. So the next day I called the weight loss clinic just to see what it was all about.
This weight loss center I went to provided weight management including nutritional counseling, medical evaluation, psychiatric evaluation and weight-loss surgery. My first step was to attend one of the information seminars. There they discussed the process, handed out tons of literature, and set us up for our journey. My first visit at the weight loss clinic wasn’t what I expected. It was a lot of learning at first and tired to absorb as much knowledge as possible. I attended every classs and group they afford, there weight management class that was very informative and one of my favorites. Each class was different, one class would talk all about how to make healthier choices, another about Food Journaling, and then different bariatric surgeries. I also went to some Support group meetings, which I found to be very helpful. Those meetings were a mix of pre and post opp patients and you could discuss concerns and fears with actual people have been down this road. During this time I meet with doctors and had decided maybe surgery was the best path for me. I began food journaling with the nutritionist and in doing so I learned a lot about my eating habits and things that trigger my overeating, like stress and boredom. I learned to make healthier choices and as i progressed through the program I did lose a few pounds.
Meeting with the psychologist was the most pivotal point in the journey.
We sat and spoke about what this weight loss meant to me. I was confused by her question because I never thought about what it really meant. I was fat, I had medical issues? But I blurted out all of my fears dying young and leaving my children behind, not being able to keep up with my 4-year-old anymore, telling my 13 yr old son no I couldn’t go for a run because I knew I wouldn’t be able to make it more than half a block. I was embarrassed about how big I had let myself get. How can I tell people after this I punked out and opted for weight loss surgery and didn’t try harder. It was refreshing to let it all out my worries and insecurities all out on the table. That was probably the first time I knew I was actually doing the right thing.
A week prior to the surgery I was instructed to begin my pre-op diet. The Pre-op diet consisted of only liquids. The reason for the pre-op diet is because the stomach is located just to your left of your liver. To access your stomach for most bariatric procedures, your surgeon will use a liver retractor. This is a device that lifts the liver up and out of the way so your surgeon can safely operate on the stomach without the liver getting in the way. When you consume a lot of solid foods the liver becomes stiff on a liquid diet you liver can easily be moved. The first day wasn’t as bad as my second day, I was still working and seeing other people eat and snack around me was hard. My whole department ate lunch is secrecy to be supportive, but others who had no clue randomly walking by with a donut while I wiped the drool from my mouth. Then when I was home I had to be a mom, I still was cooking dinner for my family.
But I stuck it out until the end.
I kept different clear liquids around me at all time things with empty calories to ensure I could distract myself. My favorite where raspberry ice pops so good by the end of the week even the kids were eating them with me.
August 22nd 2017 I had my surgery. Prior to the surgery I decided it was best for me to get the Gastric sleeve surgery. The day I went into surgery I was 258 lbs. Once out of surgery everything was pretty easy for me. I didn’t have some of the most common medial complications ie. heart burn, nausea. It wasn’t until I got home that the discomfort kicked in. It felt like my stomach was sore and inflamed. Consuming liquids was strange at first I would get a cramp if I drank anything to quickly. The first 2-3 weeks after I was on liquids. I was walking around a bit but I tried to relax to give my body time to recover. I wasn’t as drawn to food as I was prior to surgery because I didn’t feel hungry. But I missed chewing food, what a weird thing to miss doing I know. But its true the feeling of chewing was one of the things I missed most. By the third week I was up walking around no support bathing normally and finally was allowed to have some soft foods.
Still no real chewing.
I did not have any solid foods till my ninth week out from surgery. It was amazing I could actually chew something. By my 12th week I was back to all foods and still am. I can now consume about a cup of food during each meal. I no longer have drinks with my meals. So either I drink something prior and wait 15 min or I eat and then wait 30-45 min after to drink. It sounds silly but my stomach is so small I have to do one or the other not both at the same time. I have changed a lot of my eating habits, but I cant give up salty foods. I no longer have high cholesterol or high blood pressure. My health is at a good place but I’m still considered overweight. Now am 173 lb, and I have hit my plateau I need to start working harder towards new goals. Running a marathon, doing push ups and just living life. From here on out its all me and wont be losing anymore weight unless I make an effort to start working out or tracking my calories more. So lets see where I go from here.
What is Gastric Sleeve Surgery ??
The Google machine definition of gastric sleeve surgery is a surgical weight loss procedure in which the stomach is reduced to about 15% of its original size, by surgical removal of a large portion of your stomach along with a greater curvature. The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery states that in 2016, 216,000 people in America had some type of Bariatric surgery and 58.1% of those surgeries were Sleeve Surgery that’s 125,496 people.