I had considered weight loss surgery before I actually REALLY considered weight loss surgery. In part I rejected the idea because I personally didn’t feel comfortable with the lap-band or with the gastric bypass/ RNY options. I didn’t know about the sleeve surgery when I first started researching and once I did, I started giving it more thought. I also originally rejected VSG (vertical sleeve gastrectomy) because, frankly, I didn’t want to give up all my favorite foods. I wanted to eat what I wanted when I wanted, as much as I wanted. But my weight was creeping back up scarily toward 300 and eventually I had just had enough. My feet and ankles hurt, my clothes were too tight and I was physically uncomfortable much of the time.
I had maintained a relatively healthy lifestyle for several years; I ate mostly Paleo, I tried to exercise regularly and I did at least one cleanse a year. Yes, I drank wine and ate carbs and didn’t move as much as I wanted to due to both my size and my heel spurts. But I couldn’t lose weight. When I made the decision in August 2013 to get the surgery, I went in full steam ahead. I had all my appointments within a few weeks, my date was set in late October and I was ready to start my new life.
To prepare myself, I spent hours and hours and hours on Facebook WLS (weight loss surgery) groups, talking to other WLS patients at different spots throughout their journey and watching YouTube videos. There is a whole community for weight loss surgery patients and I gained a wealth of knowledge from them. Although you cannot fully know what to expect until you go through it yourself, I had at least gathered enough experiences to know if something I was going through was semi-normal or not. And that made a difference for me.
I should note here that my main motivation for wanting weight loss surgery was not all that complicated. I did not hate myself at 300 pounds. In fact, I loved myself, valued myself, did the work (see part 3) I needed to do to feel confident and sexy and worthy at any size. So it wasn’t really about vanity or confidence or looks. I was on blood pressure medication but was otherwise healthy. I didn’t have diabetes and my blood sugar and cholesterol were in check so my motivator wasn’t even really health. It was movement. I wanted to have enough weight off my body so that maybe my feet would get better (they did) and so I could hike and not huff and puff. My heart was healthy enough to get me up a hill, but I was carrying 150 extra pounds and it was HARD! I wanted to just be a “normal” sized person and to be normally out of breath at the top of a hill. I wanted to move my body outside more without the limitations I had as someone between 270-295 pounds.
On December 5th, 2013, I had about 75% of my stomach removed and a hiatal hernia repaired. I got there at 6:00 in the morning for my 8:30am surgery and up until I was wheeled into the operating room, I was wondering when I was going to call my bluff. I walked into that hospital fully sure that I’d walk out saying “Just kidding! Not gunna, no way!” I was terrified. This was for real and this was forever.
And although my recovery was atypically long and painful, once I was through it, the weight just melted off. I lost 70 pounds in the first 4 ½ months and once I started exercising, things screeched down to a moderate 5 pounds a month. But those 5 pounds have been coming off consistently and I’m stronger and faster and in better shape than I’ve ever been in my entire life.
This is where you find me now. 10 months post op from VSG, down over 100 pounds, working out 4-6 days a week (more on that later, I’m sure). It has been a wild, wild ride, let me tell you. And I think all the things I’ve learned along the way may be better said in another blog, as I have so so so much to say on that, but I will say this. I am so thankful to have received the gift of the sleeve and grateful to have lost the weight I have lost: while I don’t feel I have changed very much inside, I do feel as though I have become more fully myself. I walk and hike FOR FUN, I take any opportunity to get up and get moving, I’ve found work out classes and routines I am absolutely in love with. Life is so very very good.
Here are my 10 month progress photos. Picture on the left is 301.2 on 11/22/13, picture on the right is 200.0 on 10/5/14.
Thank you for tuning in and walking through this journey with me. If you are just catching up, here are links to Part One, Part Two and Part Three. You can watch my WLS from beginning to end you YouTube as well.
Until next time, friends… make it a wonderful day!