Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Tomorrow I am having Bariatric weight loss surgery! Those are 8 words I never dreamed I would say. It’s not exactly something you dream of as a child. “When I grow up I want to be a race car driver, a ballerina, a Dallas Cowboy’s cheerleader, and, oh, yeah, I want to be so fat that I need surgery to do something about it.” Funny how I never remember that being part of the dream. So, how did it become part of the reality?
As a child, my family nickname was “Tiny”. And it was not meant ironically! I was petite all the way around. Growing into high school I remained “tiny” height wise – making it into my senior yearbook as the “shortest girl” in my class at 4’11” – but, definitely filling out in the curves department. I was never fat, or even chubby, but I was not a “stick” as some of the other girls.
So, baby #1 comes along. And so does 50 lbs. But, I was young – very young – and it came off easily and quickly. (Oh, the joys of a 19 yr. old metabolism!) Soon after that, baby #2 and another 50 lbs. It didn’t leave quite as fast, or as easily, but I was still only 21, and other than a pound or two, it did eventually leave. However, then we had baby #3. And another, you guessed it, 50 lbs.! This time all that lovely baby fat decided it liked being right where it was – on my hips, belly and thighs! We had become friends! We bonded! Thus, my introduction to NutriSystem, and the beginning of the real battle!
NutriSystem would take off about 20 lbs., but that wasn’t enough. Over the years I’d end up doing Richard Simmons (3 x’s), Atkins (3x’s), Weight Watchers (4x’s), SparkPeople, The Schwarzbein Diet, Lean, Clean & Green, Slim Fast and the list goes on. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Baby #4 would pack on another 65 lbs.! (Thanks, Sam!) Depression and stress brought on by the death of my first husband would play right into this scenario. But, hold on, the story’s not over yet!
At 30 a miracle came in my life, it was called Phen-fen! The next thing you know I was practically back to my pre-baby weight, and God brought me miracle #2 – my present husband! (He must be a miracle if he was willing to take on a single mom with 4 small children!) Soon my new marriage brought baby #5 and 45 more pounds and the yo-yo began again!
But, by this time life brought something even more daunting – fibromyalgia! For those unfamiliar with fibro, it effects every aspect of your life. Fibro is known for having over 60 symptoms, the most notorious are extreme fatigue and all over body pain. After about 5 years of trying to stay ahead of the fibro, about 6 years ago, it took the upper hand and took a severe turn for the worse. My pain and fatigue hit epic proportions. My mobility was severely affected. I quit my job. And, of course, my weight sky rocketed. In a year’s time I gained over 30 lbs. Suddenly, all the diets that I’d used before, failed me. Nothing worked! I went to doctors. Nutritionists. No one could help.
Then 3 years ago, one of my doctors, a man I’d been with for many years, suggested I look into weight loss surgery. At first I thought he was nuts! Yes, I could stand to lose some weight, but I wasn’t exactly Jabba the Hutt, which, in my mind, was who had weight loss surgery. But, this doctor knew me. He knew how hard I’d tried to lose the weight. He knew how I’d struggled. So, I promised to look into it. My daughter and I trekked to the only hospital near us offering the surgery which was 35 minutes away. Once there I became more enthusiastic about the idea, only to discover that I was 9 lbs. underweight and didn’t have the right co-morbidities to be approved by my insurance! So, I put the idea aside. That was that. But, as it turned out, God wasn’t done with it yet!
On September 11, 2014 I was in a serious car accident. I blacked out while driving home from the grocery store. When all was said and done, I had 2 broken bones in my right shoulder, 6 broken bones in my spine and a severe concussion. This had me pretty immobile for some months, as you might imagine. And with even less mobility than usual I put on more weight. In April of this year I went back to see my doctor again. Our entire visit was consumed with the weight loss surgery discussion. In the time since I’d gone to the other seminar, our local hospital, 5 minutes away, had begun it’s own Bariatric program with a very well respected surgeon. And since my accident, the extra weight had pushed me over the line for approval by my insurance company. As well, the extra weight also caused sleep apnea, which was one of the co-morbidities the insurance company approves, so I was “double approved”!
But, here’s the kicker, by this point, God had brought me to a point where I was comfortable with my weight. I struggled for a long time with not being “Tiny” anymore. That had been my identity. But, I had finally, learned to love who I was. Beauty comes in every size, shape and color. I learned that I don’t have to be a size 5 to be beautiful. I always believed that for other people, but never for myself. But, now I was beginning to see it. So, why now? Why am I doing this?
Well, for the first time in my life I am truly doing this for my health! It’s not about my size, shape or the number on my jeans. Right now I have moderate to severe fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, lingering pain in my back, shoulders and neck from my accident, sleep apnea, TMJ, and migraines. As well, diabetes is rampant in my family. I don’t have it – yet, but I’m close. Do you think these things are going to get better if I sit back and do nothing? If things continue on this path? Heck no! I’m only 48 years old. I have 4 amazing grandkids, and 3 children who haven’t even started having children yet. Right now I can barely enjoy them. Every little outing, a trip to the store could mean hours or even days spent on the couch in pain trying to recover.
So, I’ve decided I’ve had enough! I’m going to stop being fibromyalgia’s victim! I’m taking control! Do I have a guarantee that this will cure everything? No. But, I’ll know I’ve done what I could. (“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might;” – Ecclesiastes 9:10a) I DO know it will stop me from getting diabetes. That’s a guarantee. I DO know it will cure my sleep apnea. Another guarantee. And how can it not help to have less weight on my arthritic joints? God’s placed this opportunity in my path and I’m going to take it!(“All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth…” – Psalm 25:10a)
Tomorrow’s the day! 6:45 a.m. I check in. The start of a new day, a new journey! I hope you take it with me!