It’s been quite a while since my last post, and I’m sure I have a perfectly good excuse, but let’s not dwell on the past, shall we? Much has happened in the past few months, and we should at least catch up on some of it. I’ve got a few recipes waiting to be written up, and a couple other things to talk about, but the biggest thing that happened around here…and I can’t believe I’m about to tell you this…well.
I had surgery.
Yeah, no. THAT surgery. The one I’ve been mulling in my head for ten years. The one I talked myself out of dozens of times because “Oh, I can do it on my own,” or “I don’t need to have major surgery to do that,” or “I’ve seen too many problems with it, it’s too scary.” THAT surgery. Weight loss surgery.
I’ve been researching everything since last spring. I had given myself one last chance to get it right on my own, and by mid-summer I had yo-yoed again, gaining an approximate 20 pounds after losing 15. This is probably the fourth or fifth time that happened in the past two years, and I was done. So I pulled the trigger and at the end of July attended an informational meeting about one of the programs in the area, at a hospital where I have no previous ties so as to eliminate the chance of running into people I knew. A little more research showed that I had picked the right hospital, and the absolute best surgeon. By the next week, I had eight or nine appointments made through the next three months, including a physical with a new general practitioner (who I love and was fully on board with everything, thank goodness), and I was. Doing. This.
I had three monthly appointments with a nurse practitioner, basically to get weighed in every month and talk about my habits and what to expect during pre and post op. I had two nutrition classes, and one behavioral health class, plus one on one appointments with the nutritionist and the behavioral health specialist. The program prepares you for what you’re about to go through, and their people evaluate you to ensure your own success, which I appreciated. There’s also a great network of support, with meetings every month to attend if you’re having problems or just need someone to talk to. As much support and love as I’ve had from friends and family throughout all of this, I am glad I have the support of the program as well — it’s just good to talk to people that have been there and know what you’re going through.
The surgery itself was on Friday, January 10th – or four days ago, as I write this. Five, when it will publish. I had what is called a vertical sleeve gastrectomy, or VSG. It’s a laparoscopic procedure in which 85% of your stomach is cut off and removed. There are no implants. There is no rerouting of innards. There is only a small, half-banana shaped tube where my stomach used to be. Everything went well – I was told I was in the “sleeve of the month club” by my doctor. Recovery was a little rough – I had a fair amount of pain and nausea, but by Saturday I felt much better and was able to come home. I feel better every day – hoping that tonight (Tuesday night) will be the last time I take my pain meds to sleep.
As far as food, it’ll come. I’m on clear liquids now – all the chicken broth and jell-o I can handle, and I can have a protein shake made with water. This weekend I can switch to full liquids – tomato soup, yippee! — And from there move on to pureed foods, soft foods, and eventually everything I can tolerate, within reason of course. I didn’t have this surgery to lose weight while still eating junk – just less of it. There is a fair amount of work to be done on my part – getting lots of protein, staying adequately hydrated, making sure I take my vitamins, and of course exercise, which I’m so looking forward to.
The most important people in my life – family, close friends, some coworkers – have known about this for a while, though there were a few people I didn’t get to clue in to everything until right before, only out of lack of opportunity. I’m sharing it here because I didn’t feel the need to hide it. I’m happy and at peace with this decision, and I know it’s the best for me. Whether or not anyone else supports or likes this decision is on them, not me. I don’t have diabetes, nor am I pre-diabetic. I don’t have heart problems, or issues with cholesterol. I’m just tired, and constantly in pain. And I decided I can’t live that way anymore. I’ve gone through my entire life – 38 years of it – being overweight, unhealthy, and ultimately unhappy. I’ve spent the last ten years trapped in a body that was unable to do many things I wanted or needed it to do. It just took me until this year to be ready to take the steps necessary to change it. I’ve taken my life back, and nothing anyone says or thinks can stop me, so you may as well join the ride. I don’t promise it’ll always be smooth, but it will damn well be exciting.