"Genetics Loads The Gun...The Environment Pulls... on June 27, 2009 9:17 pm
Today, I decided to have weight loss surgery. It's funny because I used to be so against people who used surgery to lose so much weight because I thought it was the easy way out. A quick fix. And people who lose massive amounts of weight without the surgery always inspired me. But let me tell you...there's a certain point where you realize you are helpless. You have tried it all with an honest heart and nothing sticks. That's when you take a "big girl pill" and realize there are no more options. Surgery is all you've got left. Unless you want to die. And I'm 18 years old so I don't think I'm ready to end my life so soon. But if I continue the way I am now...it's what will happen.
So what brought on this insane idea? Well....My mom's friend from work had the Lap-Band procedure done a year ago and was seeing wonderful results and my mom wanted me to just talk to the woman but I wasn't hearing any of it. I didn't want to talk to her and that was the end of it; however, the universe had other plans...
It was the end of the school year and I needed a dress for both Graduation AND Chamber Singer Banquet. I usually order things online because there's not many stores around that accommodate my size but ordering things takes days to process and even more days to ship and if they don't fit you have to send them back and it's just so annoying. So Mom and I headed to Franklin in the hopes that I could find something. I should have known better...but stupid me! Our first stop was Lane Bryant. They have a pretty good selection compared to other stores that carry plus-size clothing in styles not even your grandmother would wear. We were in the store searching for anything and everything. I was so desperate-- I didn't care how ugly a garment was..if it was the right size...I was trying it on. I swear I tried on the entire store.
Amidst my clothing frenzy, my mom's friend (who had the Lap-Band procedure done that my mom wanted me to talk to) was also shopping there (100% coincidentally) and came over to talk to my mom while she stood outside my door. After trying on my massive supply of clothing in the largest size the store had and having no luck at all, my mom's friend (Mindy) came inside my dressing room and shut the door. It was time for an intervention. The first thing she said to me was, "I know how you feel, believe me. And regardless of how you're feeling right now, you are a beautiful girl." That was it. I broke down into a sob that I am embarrassed to even think about to this day. I don't think I have ever cried so hard in front of another human being. I was just feeling so low, so disgusting, so monstrous that I just couldn't handle it. Once I regained composure, Mindy told me about her struggle with weight and as she was talking I thought to myself, "OH! That sounds just like me! Oh my god! Me too!." Everything she described as far as how she felt before the surgery and how difficult it was to shop for clothes and how she would sneak food was my life to a tee. I was absolutely floored. She also told me about how she feels now-- one year out from the surgery and how she is so glad she had it done. "You are a beautiful girl. You are worth it." she said to me, "It's time to start living your life!" I began to think...Maybe surgery is not so bad after-all....
Every moment after that day, surgery was on my mind. Maybe the Lap-Band isn't so evil... Will it really help me?... Is surgery the right thing for me?... Where will I have it done?... Will I have complications?... You get the idea. Needless to say, shortly after that incident I decided that I needed to look into surgery. I didn't really know how to go about telling my mom that I wanted to have it done. She kept asking me to come up with something special that I wanted besides a car for Graduation. One day I just blurted out, "You know what you can get me for graduation? This surgery." I had done some prior research and decided I wanted to look into this even more. You can never be armed with too much knowledge.
My mom got on the horn to a friend at a hospital in Nashville and asked for more information. It turns out that the hospital holds free seminars that you can attend. Not knowing where else to begin, we signed up. The first seminar was directed by my mom's friend's second choice of surgeons. Even though, according to my mom's friend, he was second best... He was a very good teacher and I felt his seminar was very informative. I won't go into grave detail about the contents of the seminar because it's not too important to you all, but during the seminar they talked about the advantages and the risks, the complications, the actual procedure, and the major lifestyle changes associated with the four basic bariatric surgeries: Lap-Band, Gastric Sleeve, Gastric Bypass, and the Duodenal Switch. I left the first seminar feeling confident as ever in the Lap-Band procedure and ready to take on the world. However, you can't just wave a magic wand and BOOM! you're having the surgery.. I guess, technically, you could if you had the money... But I'm not one of those people who can pull $15,000 to $25,000 out of their ass. Us "middle class folk" have to pray that insurance will cover it.
Speaking of insurance. If there is anything out of this that'll kill me, it's insurance. We just so happen to have the pickiest insurance policy out there. They have so many requirements before they'll even so much as consider paying for your surgery. The standard requirements for any insurance is that you are at least 18 years of age... Check. Must have a BMI of 40 or greater (morbidly obese)... Ha! WAAAYYY Check. Various medical records... Check. And various psyche tests... Soon. Easy enough, right? Well it would be if that's all my insurance required; however, they went the extra mile and made losing 10% of your body weight a requirement. That means if you weigh 200 pounds you have to lose 20 pounds before insurance will approve you. (300 = 30 pounds and so on...) Ain't that some bullshit? I have been trying for eighteen goddamn years to get some weight off with no success and now you want me to lose 10% of my body weight? You sick bastards. ..........Okay, in reality? It's not that difficult to lose 10% of your body weight, especially when you have more to lose. But when you are on a strict time line like I am, it's extremely stressful.
You see, I have to get insurance's approval AND have the surgery BEFORE December because when I turn 19... I get cut from mommy's insurance since I'm not going to school. I hear ya, I hear ya...Go to school! Community College! My response? No.
A) I'm not going to waste thousands of dollars for credits an actual college that I want to go to might not accept.
and B) I use school as an excuse. I've tried plenty of shit in the past and failed because it was "too difficult with school and all..." I'd rather not give myself the chance to use that excuse anymore. It will be easier to get accustomed to a new lifestyle if I don't have the pressures of school beating down my back.
Not to mention my mother is already buried six feet under with the debt of my dad's and brother's student loans. It's just not the right time for school. If I don't get my weight under control now I never will and I will might not see much past 21 years old.
What does this all mean? It means I am taking, at the very least, a year off to focus on myself and my health with this surgery and if everything goes well I'll go to college next year. College is always going to be there, my life won't. I am eighteen years old. I've got my ENTIRE life ahead of me and I'm sick. I'm sick of being the funny, fat chick. I'm sick of not being able to wear cute clothes. I'm sick of having to buy "one size up". I'm sick of being too fat to play the lead role in a show. I'm sick of looking like a fucking brick house. I'm sick of my body not being able to function properly. I'm sick of taking so many medications. I'm sick of hiding in the shadows. I am sick of having my weight and food consume my every thought. I am sick of being ashamed. I'm sick of being embarrassed to walk out of my house. I'm sick of not being able to ride roller coasters with my friends. I am sick of putting up with the idiots who make rude comments. I am sick of being lonely. I am sick of being unattractive. I am sick of people thinking I am lazy. I AM SICK OF IT ALL!!!!! DO YOU HEAR ME!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
No. Of course you don't. This is a computer. lol But in all seriousness...Things are gonna change. I can't continue to live my life this way-- I'm divorcing food. I've waited a long time for this breakthrough and I will stop at NOTHING to get healthy. It's not even about "skinny." I've never been skinny a day in my damn life and quite frankly, I don't care if I never get skinny. But I want to be healthy. I want to be "normal." And I'll be damned if I'm going to let anything get in my way.
Woo okay! Now that that power moment is over... I'm going to update you on the most recent happenings. I went back to that hospital in Nashville for a second seminar. This time it was my mother's friend's first choice of surgeons. That's why I wanted to go back. I wanted to get a feel for the best surgeon's personality. Because I really like the guy she said was second best and it didn't feel fair to make a decision without hearing both sides. So we went. He was quite a cocky man but my mother assures me, having known and worked along side many surgeons, that a cocky surgeon is a good surgeon. I'll tell ya...it pays to know people who work in the medical world. Anyway, today's seminar made me reconsider my previous decision.
The Lap-Band is, of course, a man made tool and may malfunction, slip, or erode over time and end up having to come out. I thought, "No problem, if that happens we can try a more invasive surgery." However, if for some reason the Lap-Band has to come out, the risks of your next surgery sky-rocket from about 1% to 20%. And that scared the hell out of me. There's no way to know the long-term repercussions of The Lap-Band since it has been in America for only 8 years. I mean, it's designed to last a lifetime but there is always that what-if. So now I am considering the next step up surgery which would be the Gastric Sleeve. It actually has less risks at the time of surgery and less long term problems with a higher weight loss. Sounds awesome, right? The downfall? Insurance won't cover it. Which means we'd have to pay $21,000 to have it done. That's a big deal. So I don't know what is going on right now. We just have to take it one day at a time. The next step is to see my regular primary care doctor which I will be doing..Tuesday. Ahhh...till then, this is all one big headache.
Cheers to the new me! :)
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