Why choose weight loss surgery?

 

We’ve all seen the People magazine cover’s with those people that have lost huge amounts of weight (we’re talking 50-100’s of pounds here!) all on their own. The magazine makes sure to point out in big letters that these people did it all WITHOUT SURGERY. As if they need some kind of medal or something. Don’t get me wrong now! I believe that anyone who loses weight, never mind over 50lbs of it, deserves a medal. It’s just the fact that the whole WITHOUT SURGERY part is supposedly the most important part of it all. It’s a big life changing deal to lose a lot of weight – no matter how it’s done. Plus I believe that the people who choose surgery don’t necessarily make a bigger choice then those that don’t choose surgery, but I do believe they make a much more desperate choice.

When I was facing that choice I was most certainly desperate. Desperate, depressed (near suicidal in fact), panicked and defeated. I truly saw no other way for me to live out even the next ten years, never mind make it my to son’s high school graduation! That’s the kind of spot I was in mentally and I believe it’s probably true for others that choose the surgery route. I personally think that if you are considering having a potentially life threatening surgery done, then you should probably be in a life threatening situation with your health. That’s where I was. After a checkup I received a letter from my doctor. This letter was an eye opener. I knew I was hugely overweight and that I was courting disaster health wise. But this letter blatantly stated that if I couldn’t get my weight and Diabetes under control I would be facing amputation within a few years and probably death within ten years. Time to do something drastic, right?! When people are considering this surgery it’s NOT for vanity or cosmetic reasons usually. Think about it this way, does someone just decide to have cardiac bypass surgery because they think they may have a heart attack in a few years but don’t want to stop eating sausages? Um, no way! Nor would they be allowed to – I hope! Same goes with weight loss surgery.

I really envy those people in the magazines that lose all that weight and get healthy and don’t need to have surgery to do it. I think they are in a MUCH better state of mind than I was at the outset though. They may have some of the same problems even, like diabetes, or a hypertension diagnosis that triggered them to solve the weight problem once and for all. But the fact that they felt even remotely capable of solving the weight problem sets them several important steps above where I was.

I think mind-set is maybe the single most important factor in play here and I will be spending a lot of time on how what you think affects your reality. But for now, if you are seriously thinking about having weight loss surgery (friends and family listen up!) then you are probably thinking all day, every day how impossible this problem is for you to solve, how you’ve been fighting this battle for sooo long and you’re battle weary and scarred. It’s hard to tie your shoes because it’s hard to bend over because there is too much fat in the way. Or if you have already given up on tie shoes, it’s hard to bring your foot to your opposite knee to even put your shoe on. Maybe you have had to just give up and use Crocs or some other slip on. Getting dressed is just covering up as much fat as possible cuz for sure you don’t have any clothes you get excited about putting on, or if you do, they never look quite the way you want them to. What’s of vital importance here is that I was so tired of living in that situation that I felt there was no other way out. If I had been able to believe in myself enough for long enough (beyond the first two weeks of every new diet, that is) I would have never gotten as bad as I had. The person who had that surgery was a different person than I am now. I had been verbally and mentally abusing myself pretty much since puberty and there was no universe where I felt that I was capable of losing the weight on my own or that I even deserved to!

When a person has put themselves in a mindset like that for years and years, well I think it’s laughable for anyone to actually look at that poor wrecked person and say,” Well if you just stopped eating all the junk and went for a walk once in a while.” What can they be expecting from a statement like that other than to shame? Do they really think this morbidly obese (100 pounds over his/her ideal body weight) is going to stop and say, “OH geez! Really?? It’s just that simple?? I NEVER knew that! Thank you so much! I’m going to go home and clean out my kitchen and pantry right now! No! Better yet, I’m going to jog there! My life is transformed!” Um, no! Someone who is 100lbs over their ideal body weight has bigger issues surrounding weight than just cutting out junk food.

Also, it should be pointed out, especially if you’re reading this and considering the surgery or if friends and family are reading, that you can’t just walk in and say, “I want weight loss surgery.” and have surgery scheduled ASAP. There is a long process, or was for me anyway, and many screenings and informational meetings that have to happen before a surgery date is scheduled. I had to meet with a nutritionist, my regular doctor, the surgeon, and a therapist. Not to mention the huge amount of lab tests that were done. So, when people just dismiss it, yet again, as only the “easy way out”, it’s really not.

The mental state of mind I had allowed myself to descend into prior to surgery was one where on a daily basis I told myself that I and my son and husband would be better off if I died on the table, rather than continue to exist the way I was. I truly felt that for my son, my baby boy, to grow up with a 300lb plus mother was way worse for him than losing his mother when he was 4yrs old.  I even wrote him a letter that he could have in case I didn’t make it or there was some huge complication. That’s where I was mentally.

Now, I’m not saying that everyone who considers this surgery is in that same mental state, or even partly in that kind of state. What I am saying is that generally speaking anyone who is big enough and with enough other possibly life threatening issues going on is probably NOT being cavalier with their life. There are serious, serious considerations to major surgery and I believe that most people that have gotten to the morbidly obese stage have a lot more going on inside than anybody knows about. I think anyone who gets to a point that they are willing to risk death for an operation that permanently changes their insides should be given a healthy amount of respect and not be treated like they cheated their way into health!

If you or someone you know is considering this surgery or just have some questions about what happens after when the weight comes off…..or when it starts to come back on….This is the place. Anything you want to know – anything at all – we need to start talking about it. Only when you bring something into the light does it break free from the hold of darkness. This is a very dark, shame filled issue in our world. We need to light it up.

 

 

Gastric Bypass Surgery – The easy way out?

 

I’m laying down on a very uncomfortable hospital bed in one of those horrible jonny’s that I swear is designed to make you feel awkward. It’s scratchy and drafty in the back. I have hot and cold chills and feel slightly queasy as I contemplate what’s about to happen. I’m going to have surgery. No, that’s not right. I’m going to have SURGERY!!! The big, life changing kind. I’m going to have someone cut my stomach apart and attach a small part of it directly to my small intestine and I’m not even sure it’ll be a good thing for my life. Something could go wrong on the table, there could be awful side effects that could last my whole life. I could be nauseous forever. That would be REALLY bad cuz I’m the biggest baby ever when I’m feeling pukey. But I weigh over 300 pounds and the alternative of staying that way forever is way worse than even dying on the operating table would be. The reasons that I believed I would live out my life in the “beached whale” category are for another post, but at that time, there was no other hope.

Think about that for a second! If a person has come to the point, that they believe there is no other hope for them than to have surgery to fix a weight problem….Well, what does that say about their life and state of mind? Just to get to the point where I was willing to have surgery was hard enough that I would never consider it the “easy way out!”

I don’t know if it’s still like that now (leave comments and let me know!) but when I had the surgery 10 years ago, you had to be pretty bad off. Morbidly obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control is having a BMI of 40 or above. It can also be having a BMI of 35 or higher with several other health risk factors like Diabetes or Heart Disease. So for a person who is 5ft 9in tall, that’s a weight of somewhere between 230lbs and 271lbs or above. (https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/adult/defining.html) That’s pretty big and there are lots of risk factors to someone’s health (that we will talk about later) with that much extra weight on them.

I’ve heard it said that having surgery to lose weight is the easy way out and I’m sure whether you’ve had the surgery or you are a family member, that you’ve heard it too. Let’s just nip that notion right here and now at the outset of this blog! It doesn’t matter what the circumstances, if you had or are considering having that surgery you have already passed the “easy way out” a long while back! If you’re friend or family then you know what your person has gone through to a certain extent. If you are casual acquaintance, co-worker or even bystander understand that in no way, shape or form is the surgery option the easy way out of a lifelong problem. If you still think the weight just melts off without any side effects or problems, THINK AGAIN! In my next post we will talk about that first year after surgery. It’s a honeymoon in many ways, but like I said before, I’m here to talk about ALL of it – the stuff no one tells you. So if you can’t or won’t ask your loved one or friend or co-worker, ask me. I’ll go there with you. For those of you who had the surgery, I want to know what your experiences were – and are so …Talk to me!