Things have changed so drastically for me in the past 4 months, more than I ever expected. It’s truly been a blessing. I just want to share my story so far, as I really haven’t shared it or opened up with it to many people.
Eighteen weeks ago today, Tuesday, November 20th 2007, I went forward with the biggest and hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. Had I not made the decision I did, the chances of me being dead before I was 30 were high. My health was rapidly declining. I didn’t want to die, I had too much I wanted to do and I surely couldn’t do it before I was 30. Not only were time and money an issue with me accomplishing all I want to accomplish before I die, I wasn’t in any physical shape to do the things I wanted to do.
I had become miserable, I felt so broken, I started to hate life. I was constantly in pain (my back, my knees, my feet, my hips.. and this is just the beginning…), and things as simple as getting ready in the morning had become a huge chore for me. I couldn’t even go to the store for simple shopping without being in pain, and being completely out of breath. At 22 years old, I didn’t belong in this place. I was stuck in a body that I shouldn’t have been in.
I knew I had to take control of my life, I knew I had to get healthy and I knew, I didn’t have long to do it. I thought long and hard through all of my options, and I decided that Roux-En-Y gastric bypass surgery was the best choice and the only way I’d have my life back, and be able to do all I wanted to do in life. It would be an amazing tool to get me to the place I needed to be. The benefits outweighed the risks, I’d be more likely to die not having the surgery.
In the months leading up to my surgery day, I made lifestyle changes to prepare for the rest of my life. I started cutting out things that were unhealthy and that had helped get me to where I had ended up- sugar, white flours, and fast food. By making these changes, I lost 35lbs in the 6 months before my surgery. By losing this weight, it made the surgery much safer for me, though it still had it’s risks.
Changing the way I ate was only the beginning. I had to deal with the tainted relationship I had with food. The years prior I had turned to food in a very emotional way, and it’s how I dealt with sadness, stress, happiness…. every emotion came with food. It became like an addiction, and it was my comfort. It was unhealthy and I had to find other ways of dealing. I won’t say it was easy, but I’ve dealt with it. I’m sure it will be a lifelong battle, but it's a battle worth fighting.
On the day of surgery, I was very nervous, but I was better than I ever expected to be. Once my mom and I made the hour drive to Fremont and got into the hospital, the tears began to flow. They took me back and had me change and started my IV, and put a heater into my hospital gown that blew it up. While I waited for my time to go into surgery, my mom and I talked, I made a few phone calls, and I talked to my surgeon, the anesthesiologist, and whoever else came in to talk to me.
Eventually, an older man who was one of the OR nurses came to take me to the OR. I hugged my mom, gave her my glasses, and then the man took my arm and we walked to the OR. During the walk, I cried, and he tried to talk about things like weather. Eventually we made it to the OR, he opened the door and we entered.
Once I entered the OR I was greeted by my surgeon, who gave me a huge hug and promised me that everything was going to be okay. She then introduced me to a few of the people that would be in the OR during my surgery. I looked around, I couldn’t see very well as I didn’t have my glasses, but I saw a lot of weird things and I began to question my decision. I climbed up onto the table, and they strapped my arms down and talked to me. Eventually the anesthesiologist told me I would start feeling sleepy, and I then said “WAIT!”. Several people leaned over to see what I was going to say, and I said “Am I going to wake up??” and they said “Of course!” and went on with their business… I then said “DURING THE SURGERY!?” they all laughed and said “Of course not!! Why would you say that?!” and I said “because I heard stories” and my surgeon then held my hand, leaned over and wiped my tears and said “They didn’t have surgery here, or with me.” She stayed like that until eventually, I fell asleep.
About 3 1/2 hour later, which felt like minutes to me, I woke up in recovery with my surgeon holding my hand and telling me that my surgery went great and that she would be back after she spoke with my mom. I then had nurses all over me, giving me drugs, and asking me about my pain. I was hot, nauseous, and in a lot of pain. I felt horrible and really wondered what on earth I’d done to myself. My mom came to visit me in recovery, to bring me my glasses that I’d been asking for.
About an hour later I was wheeled off to my private room. The ride was awful. It was bumpy and it made me feel totally ill. Once there, they gave me my morphine and I was able to push the button every 10 minutes… and that I did. It helped A LOT! After about an hour, I made a few phone calls to let people know I was alive and that surgery went well.
I slept off and on until 6 hours had passed and it was time for a walk. Getting up was terrible, it hurt so bad!! And, it made me very nauseous and I was dry heaving, which hurt. But I got up, and I did several laps around the hall. Once I got back to my bed, I got a reward!! Ice Chips!! Oh yes!! I had to walk every hour for the rest of the night, and did more laps each time. I stayed in the hospital for two nights.
I got released from the hospital on Thanksgiving day. The drive home from the hospital was full of traffic and I was dry heaving the whole way home. As soon as I got home, I got into bed and stayed there. My grandmother and uncle came over for dinner, and the smell was horrible. Smells really got to me right after surgery.
The couple weeks after surgery were tough, and I questioned what I had done. I was in a bit of a depression for bit. I hurt a lot, I had a hard time moving, and I couldn’t even drink liquids and I was sooo thirsty.
After those first few weeks, I started to feel great and was losing weight rather rapidly. At 12 days post-op I had lost 21lbs since surgery. Eventually I went from liquids, to soft foods, and then to my ‘lifestyle diet’.
Things have since been absolutely wonderful and I have no regrets. I’ve done incredibly well, I’ve had no complications and I’ve gotten sick on food once.
Having this surgery was the best thing I ever did, and already, 4 months out of surgery, I have my life back. I’ve lost a total of 109lbs. My health is already improved drastically according to blood work. I feel amazing. I’ve already accomplished everything I did this surgery for, and now the rest is just extra advantages.
I now have a healthy lifestyle that includes a healthy diet and exercise, and I couldn’t have done this at a better time. When I one day have children of my own, I can be a role model and teach them the habits I’ve now picked up so they will never have the battle with obesity like I have.
This has already been an incredibly mind blowing journey, and there is only more to come… I can’t even grasp it. But I’m excited for my future, and can’t wait!
I can now, without a doubt in my mind, accomplish everything I dream of accomplishing and my weight will never again hold me back. I have a long healthy life ahead of me.
I <3 my RNY!!!