- HEALTH TRACKER
Before & After
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My WLS story actually begins about 10 years ago. I was 24 and just getting settled into my professional career. I was attending graduate school part time while teaching school during the days. I weighed 268 pounds. I was so unhappy. I felt like an outcast at every turn. Despite having friends, being academically successful, having a meaninful career and a wonderful family, I felt like my weight was a huge barrier in everything I did. I couldn't help but feel that I just wasn't treated the way I should be--by society, by my students and colleagues, by life, by myself!
I had been overweight or obese my entire life. I still have my childhood school records shwoing that in kindergarten (which I started when I was only 4), I was already very overweight. I never was NOT overweight. Ever. I come from a family of obese people. It seemed the only person to escape the weight curse was my brother but I believe that was because he took up sports as a young child and never fell into the yo-yo routine of getting fat and trying to lose weight. At the same time, my brother and I are not much alike physically and I can't say I believe he'd ever be as obese as I had grown as an adult. My father was morbidly obese for as long as could remember. I was a mirror image of him.
I, along with my supportive mother, attended a WLS surgery informational meeting after I had reached an emotional breaking point. I did not tell my father as I wasn't sure he would approve. At the meeting, I heard all the warnings and all the success stories. I also listened as the surgeon said he did not perform laproscopic surgeries because he felt "the scars were a good reminder for his patients of where they came from and what they had to do to get out." I remember being horrified by the idea that this surgeon felt it was his *responsibility* to scar his patients with memories of *what* they once were. I guess I partially understood what he was trying to say but I couldn't help but think it was typical of others to pass such harsh judgement on the obese. I also realize that 10 years ago, laproscopic surgery was not quite as common as it is today but it was an option, just not with that particular doctor.
Despite my apprehension, I attended a post-op support group just to meet some real-life WLS veterans and then made an appointment to meet with the surgeon. The surgeon was what I would consider a typical surgeon. He wasn't overly friendly but not rude either. He was factual and simply concerned with getting the information he needed in order to offer me his informed opinion. He did say, after poking around on my belly, that I would have to "work really hard to lose the weight." I was then handed a two-page checklist of all the pre-op tests, meetings, appointments and various requried steps I would have to make to get to surgery.
I don't remeber my exact train of thought at the time but I did not go through with the surgery. I realize now I was terrified and just could not get passed that fear. I was 24 years old and simply not ready.
That summer and fall, I lost 95 pounds on my own. I limited myself to about 800 calories a day and walked about 3 miles everyday. It worked. I was very happy. But, as so many know, it did not last forever.
Five years later, I found myself nearly as heavy as I had once been. I was again miserable. My mother called me to tell me about an advertisement she saw in the newspaper for the same surgeon of five years previous but now offering a different type of surgery--the Lap-Band. It sounded quite amazing. I was young and healthy and willing to work at the weight loss but understood I needed some help.
I called the surgeon's office and was told that an informational meeting (the first required step once again) was not open for at least 6 weeks. I tried another surgeon that I had heard of and was told that I would be able to attend an informational within only a few weeks but I should begin the process by talking to my General Practitioner about getting a referral for an appointment with the surgeon.
more to come...it's been a long journey and is far from over