Before & After RNY with Katetme, losing 100 pounds!April 10, 2018
Why I Decided To Have WLS
I’m an adopted child. I know that isn’t the typical way to start a weight loss story but stay with me. I was raised by wonderful, kind, engaged parents and never felt for one day that I wasn’t loved. My childhood was pretty great, with a few exceptions that were out of my control, not that I didn’t try to fix them all.
I grew up with dozens of cousins, beautiful girls, handsome boys, lots and lots of blue-eyed, blond, tall, skinny and some, like me brown-eyed, brown hair, and short. Loved those cousins.
I spent lots of time speculating about what my biology/genetics might be but left it alone until I was pregnant with my first child. It dawned on me that I didn’t have a clue what I might be doing to my baby, genetics-wise, so I got busy and started my search. To no avail. I had my son, a perfect red-headed, hazel-eyed baby, which made sense because I had married a red-headed with green eyes, so I was content to leave it all alone for then. I had gained about 65 pounds with this pregnancy and did NOT lose it by breastfeeding. Thirty pounds stayed with me for the next five years.
I joined Weight Watchers and lost most of it and discovered to my delight, I was pregnant again. This time I only gained 17 pounds and lost a lot of the other weight when I had my second, red-headed, brown eyed son.
At this time I found my biological mother, met her, and embarked on a long correspondence, for many years with her. She had four other children and didn’t know how to tell them. This went on for many years. To say this was a trigger is too simple. There were lots of other things in my life to send me searching for comfort, the comfort that food gave me. The truth of my childhood was we all ate, for lots of reasons, but mostly to comfort and rejoice for all kinds of occasions. My mom and aunts were wonderful cooks, and they never gained weight.
SO food was love, and love was food.
I had a third child, my darling daughter, and then the weight battle was on.
In the next few years, I tried Weight Watchers again, and again, TOPS, and Weight Watchers. I would lose 25-30 pounds and gain back 40. This yo-yo'ing went on for two decades. My self-esteem plummeted and I became the biggest phony I knew. I could dress it up, had great haircuts, good makeup, the right clothes, took care of my kids, and the kids of lots of other people in my at home daycare, was in PTA, my church, and no one knew how miserable I was. I prayed every night for God to take away the weight, to help me slay this demon that was torturing me, to no avail. I ballooned to 200 pounds (I’m 5’2”).
As other women may or may not feel, I had been a closet dresser and un-dresser for years, we made love with the lights out and sometimes mostly dressed (me). The shame and humiliation I felt about my body came through in every part of my life. The winter before my March 2008 surgery, we went to the Bahamas and our best friends came too. I couldn’t go out into the water with my husband, and the people I love and invited to share our vacation with, because they were all fit, and I was NOT.
I remember standing in the door, crying, and not wanting to lower myself into the water in front of them. Hideous. She is my best, best friend, but with every vacation we shared, and there were many (and still are) you would find me crumbled in a bedroom, sobbing, because I was fat, and unable to swim/mountain bike/fit on a plane/have my picture taken for heaven’s sake, without pulling someone in front of me. I vowed to change. My husband kept telling me, he loved me just the way I was but he did worry about my health. Of course, I didn’t believe him, how could he love this me?
During this time, I had gone back to school and earned my Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, and once again the phony me took over. I could counsel people, help them, and be heavier than was ever, and provide the healthy “do as I say, not as I do”- school of therapy. Effective, maybe, shameful yes.
So the nurture vs nature came to play in the following ways:
My biological father died at the age of 51 of a massive cardiac episode in 1981, one year after I met him. In the mid-2000’s, my biological sister died at age 51 and my biological brother died at age 46. Both were weight and addiction-related. It was after my younger brother (8 years younger than I am) brother died, that I made the decision to have Gastric Bypass surgery, the Roux-N-Y. By then, I was diabetic, had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and was well on my way to my own cardiac episode.
I found ObesityHelp.com and lurked for about three years before I took the leap and made an appointment with Dr. Jamie Loggins, at the Central Maine Medical Center’s Bariatric Department. To say it was a good experience is an understatement, they were wonderful, from the reception to the team. The workup was extensive and thorough. I made a date, they qualified me with my insurance, and it was a go. I had to lose 23 pounds before surgery, and that was hard. I ended up drinking protein shakes three times a day for almost two weeks to get there, but I did it. I was 236 pounds pre-surgery and weighed 213 pounds on the day of my surgery.
Before & After RNY with Katetme
My Surgery and Post-Op Life
On March 31, 2008, I had the surgery. I asked my husband to leave me after I left the recovery room because again, I was humiliated how it all looked…drains etc. He did, and I spent my recovery with the bariatric team, who took care of me very well. My recovery went well, with no issues with refeeding and learning to listen to my pouch. During this time, I fended off comments that I “took the easy way out” in stride, because I knew what my new life was, and it was anything but easy. I began to exercise, walking and going to Curves. The running turned to jogging in about four months and Curves helped me
tone up, too. I ran up to 2.5 miles a day, I still can’t believe that!
The weight came off, the difference I felt was exponentially bigger than the actual pounds. By that I mean, I was growing in confidence and more importantly, I was truly proud of ME! I was actively saving my own life, I felt, and not allowing depression, and inertia to win this time.
With that awareness, I continued to lose until I reached my Century mark, in August of 2009, 16 months post-surgery!
I wish I could say it was easy. A new body, new attitude, but the ensuing years were not kind to us. We sold our home of 28 years, and moved to a smaller, more easily maintained home. The economy impacted our business and the repair of my body-plastic surgery had to be put off, again and again. The loose skin, and rashes, and hygiene, once again became issues.
I set a goal for myself in 2015, to climb all 48 of the 4000-foot mountains in NH. My oldest granddaughter wanted to join me and we accomplished eight that year. My skin became a big hurdle, chaffing and actually getting in the way of the giant steps sometimes necessary to take while boulder hopping. Once again, I started to feel like I couldn’t do something, felt like I was holding my granddaughter back, and going back on a goal…old stuff…and with the old stuff some old habits reappeared.
I snacked constantly and gained 30 pounds back. I was mortified, once again hiding to dress, limiting contact with my long-suffering husband of 40+ years. We climbed only three mountains the next year, and none last year, although we did a 3000 foot one.
This past year, we were able to sell our business, and the first thing my husband said was, “You are going to have your surgery. That is my number one priority for us.” Did I mention how lucky I am?
I found a surgeon in Maine that I loved. He made me feel like I wasn’t being selfish, vain or any of the other names I was calling myself. And he felt there would be a good outcome. I wasn’t asking for an 18-year-old body, just a 65-year-old body that would be more functional for me. We decided on a TT and BL, with my face, legs, and arms put on a back burner. Those two areas were my most problematic for my quality of life.
October 16, 2017, was the date. Once again, I asked my husband to leave me alone, but this time my daughter and daughter-in-law went with me and took such good care of me pre and post-surgery. We stayed in Portland overnight after surgery and got the go-ahead to go home the next day. My daughter researched and implemented a post-surgical anti-inflammatory diet for me, and I and my surgeon, believe that got me quickly through the worse swelling and bruising.
I can only tell you through my tears, that the outcome is nothing short of a miracle for me. The apron of skin is gone, my breasts are off my stomach. The doctor made me cry at my 2-week check up by saying, “I found a little person in there!”
He took off 5 pounds of skin from my tummy and 1 pound of skin from my breasts. A total of 6 pounds of excess skin! I forgot to say, I lost 22 pounds before surgery, to make sure that what was taken was not fat, it was skin. And with the 6 pounds gone, which didn’t show up for a while due to swelling, I am now within four pounds of my lowest post RNY weight. I will get there again.
My family says I have my sparkle back again, and I say yes! This is how I wanted to feel.
My greatest hope is that when I face my next mountain, I will conquer it with much more ease and confidence than ever before, and I will reach that goal of all 48 before I hit 70, in 3 years so that’s a little more than 11 a year, and if I am 70 for the last of them, who cares! How old will I be if I don’t climb? How old would I be?
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