It seems that I have battled with my weight all of my life, always wanting to be 10 pounds thinner. When I hit my thirties, I finally decided it was time to be OK with my weight and shop in the plus size section. I wasn't thin when my husband met me, and after two children, I put on another 20 pounds.
When my oldest was born, the doctor strongly suggested that I start exercising, because it had been a difficult pregnancy. I joined an exercise class and started going twice a week. Before I knew it, I was there four times a week and really feeling good. No significant weight loss, but I was shopping for a size smaller. Then came baby number two. She was not a good sport about the nursery and exercise started to fall by the wayside. Nothing was more embarrassing for me than getting pulled out of class because my kid wouldn't stop crying. Of course, once I stopped exercising the weight piled back on double time.
Last year my youngest started kindergarten. I had such hopes of going back to exercising regularly. But work, volunteering at school and spending time with friends started to take over and there was no time for exercise. My grandmother passed last year, mind still sharp, but her body (I estimate she weighed 400 pounds at death) gave out. I started to fear my own mortality and became more cognizant of the fact that I was sending the kids out to play, while I was sitting on the couch. Just like my grandmother.
In July it happened. I hit bottom, as they say. I had been back to exercise class for three weeks and I had terrible shin splints. My knees never hurt so much and I thought of my grandmother: unable to walk because of pain in her legs from her extra weight. To top it off I was gaining weight instead of losing it. I looked at my husband with despair as we talked, and I cried. He said, "Maybe you should look at weight-loss surgery?" I was flabbergasted. He had always been opposed to surgery, and I realized my weight must be really bad.
That night I got up off the couch, grabbed my netbook and started my research. There were several options: Lap-Band, Gastric Sleeve, and Gastric Bypass. I decided on bypass, because the statistics showed patients lost more weight and were more successful at keeping it off. Of course, it is also the most invasive and dangerous of the three.
THE HEALTHCARE DANCE
Getting accepted into the surgical program isn't easy. There was the insurance research. Am I obese, but not too obese for surgery? Is surgery covered and what percentage? I was lucky our insurance was pretty easy. Then I had to view four webinars, where I saw what happens during the various surgeries and the side effects. The psych evaluation determined I am capable of following the strict post-surgery regimen (I could write a whole blog on that experience).
Finally, I had my appointment with the surgeon and nutritionist. They took about a gallon of blood and tested for everything, made me get on a scale, checked my blood pressure and gave me a serious talking to about food choices. (Things like a donut a day will cause you to gain 42 pounds a year if you don't exercise). I got all of that accomplished by mid-September. Then I had to wait and wait and wait. Finally, October 12 I got the call telling me that the insurance had approved the surgery and it was scheduled for November 28.