I don’t hate my body – I love my body and that’s why I’m having weight loss surgery
Weight has always been a issue that I’ve struggled with, back and forth, since I hit puberty. It was never uncommon for me to fluctuate 30 or so pounds and of course, it deeply affected my self-esteem. But I’ve learned how to build my self esteem regardless of my body image – and that is a beautiful thing. My issue now is, my health is my main concern.
Since I was 13 years old I’ve tried everything to lose weight, such as starving myself, binging, purging, dieting, fad-dieting, exercise, over-exercise, personal trainers, weight watchers, boot camps, waist training, meal prepping, protein shakes, calorie counting, food logging, illegal drugs, legal drugs, weight loss drugs etc. the list just goes on and on. I’d lose a ton of weight, keep it off for a few months or a year then I’d slowly gain it back.
My most recent and highest weight gain came after I got clean or “sober” in 2013. I started replacing narcotics with food and sure enough, nearly 5 years later I am at the highest weight I have ever been. It’s something I’m ashamed of and avoid talking about but it’s time to stop living in shame – it’s time to start living in the truth.
So exactly what surgery are you getting?
There’s 3 popular types of weight loss surgery: Gastric bypass, gastric sleeve and the lap band. I chose the gastric sleeve which is when the surgeon removes nearly ¾ of your stomach. I know, it sounds crazy, but trust me – it’s very common and has great success rates. It’s considerably safer than the other two and I definitely feel confident that I chose the right procedure for me.
How do you go about getting the surgery?
I started seeing a nutritionist every week in June 2017. After 7 months of weekly nutritionist appointments, I went to a weight loss surgery seminar at the hospital in January. After the seminar I had a consultation with the surgeon and was given a thick binder full of all the pre-op procedures and lab work I needed to get before the surgery. My insurance wanted me to attend 6 months of nutrition classes but the 7 months I spent going to the weight loss clinic counted toward that. Luckily the binder was so helpful, detailing exactly what was needed and where I could get everything done. I had blood drawn, an abdominal ultrasound, an EKG, and so much more but I just kept going until everything was complete. Finally in April, I was given a surgery date in June 2018.
How much weight will you lose?
Well, it’s different for everyone. Statistically, sleeve patients will lose about 60% of their excess weight within a year. It could be more, or it could be less – either way, I am not fixated on the numbers, I just want to be healthy, active and ready to carry children.
Why did you decide to get surgery?
- I worked for a chiropractor and saw so many people whose weight contributed to chronic knee and back pain.
- My family has a history of diabetes, gout, sleep apnea, heart disease, infertility and other medical conditions that are either directly related to weight or are made worse because of weight.
- Most importantly, I need to have my Fallopian tubes removed, meaning my only hope for biological children is through IVF. The fertility specialist said they would not do any fertility procedures until my BMI dropped significantly. Also I want to be a good role model for a child, I don’t want to pass on bad eating habits or laziness.
- Another good reason is because my husband wants to do activities with me that I just can’t do with him right now – we are going to Europe in the fall and I really look forward to being able to walk around the Eiffel Tower without needing to stop!
Are you going to be able to eat?
Yes. Kind of. For a week after surgery it’s just liquids, then slowly reintroducing soft foods for a while before I can have solid food. The portions of food I’ll be able to eat are significantly less than before and I will be on a sort of trial/error relationship with certain foods. For example, acidic fruits and vegetables are discouraged for a while after surgery. But eventually I’ll be able to eat normally, just not as much.
Will you have to exercise?
Yes girl, of course! I don’t exercise much now because my knees and my back start to hurt. I get tired very quickly and I feel like a giant sack of shit. However, I am genetically predisposed to athleticism and I know from experience that I build muscle quickly. I enjoy lifting weights and pushing myself to exhaustion. Immediately after the surgery I will be encouraged to walk a lot to prevent blood clots, so I will be active right away but I really do look forward to working out again.
What are some things you’re afraid of?
- Saggy skin
- Hair loss
- Not waking up after anesthesia
- Being judged for my decision
Even as I type them, I know how stupid they are. At the end of the day, the benefits far outweigh the risks. I’ve been intensely preparing for this procedure for nearly 6 months – I know what I’m getting myself into. I’ve also decided that it’s completely normal to be afraid and I feel better knowing I’ve chosen the best surgeon for my procedure – I have faith everything will be ok. As for the skin, it’s not that big of a deal, I have to keep reminding myself that although I’m human, I’m not doing the surgery for my image – I’m doing it for my health. And as far as pain goes, being fat is painful, emotionally and physically, so time to suck it up.
What are some things you look forward to?
- Walking around Europe
- Going for hikes or bike riding with my husband
- Getting my dog out in nature more (she’s lazier than me)
- Feeling more confident in my physical capability
- Starting the IVF process
- Hopefully becoming a mom
- Working out with friends
- Taking better care of myself
- Before and after pictures!
- Going to the beach
- Buying a new wardrobe
- Helping others on their journey
- Working on my self esteem
- Riding on a plane without feeling squished
- Walking up a flight of stairs without dying
- Eating on a regular schedule
- Less back and joint pain
- Living a longer, healthier, happier life
Typing these things make me smile – it’s a life changing event and I’m so excited to become whoever it is that God intended me to be.
What if you don’t lose weight or you gain it all back?
First of all, get out of here with your negativity. Second of all, I like to use my drug addiction as a reference. We all know someone who thought rehab would fix their drug problem, but as soon as they got out of rehab they went right back to using. I don’t know why some people choose to use again after rehab but I can only assume they weren’t ready to make the changes and sacrifices. Not me. I went to rehab once. I sat in their program and I heard them when they said, “Look to your right, look to your left, only one of you will stay clean”. I took it as a personal challenge – 4 and ½ years later I’m still clean.
So when people say things like, “You know it’s not a quick fix right? You’ll have to change everything about your life. Lots of people gain the weight back, just be prepared” I just smile because I’ve been here before. I’ve faced unfavorable odds before and I’ve persevered. I’ve had to completely change my life before and I did it. I’ve been forced to choose between life or death and I’m still standing. So, to the people who doubt me or don’t believe in me, I say, “Just watch”.
Last few words…
I know that everyone won’t agree with my decision but I have decided it is the right choice for me, regardless of what anyone else thinks about it. If you have any of your own questions about it or want to reach out to me for more info please feel free, I’m here to help. I will list the surgeon info at the bottom.
As always, thanks for reading.
Surgical specialists at Anne Arundel Medical Center
Dr. Courtney Doyle
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