Describe your behavioral and emotional battle with weight control before learning about bariatric surgery.
I had some struggles as a young woman and was a victim of rape and had severe abandonment issues. Food had been my best friend. I lived my life in a daze only feeling from the neck up. I allowed people to abuse me and I felt life happened to me rather than feeling I had any control over anything. I lost weight only to gain weight back over and over and finally eating myself up to 287 pounds. At 5'4" with a small frame that is a lot of weight to carry.
I was numb emotionally and I hated myself. I went from bad relationship to bad relationship partly because I felt that was all I deserved. I talked to myself in the mirror in a way that would have gotten me slapped by someone else. I was cruel to myself and destructive in many ways.
As I grew older I began to have an inner shift. I realized that I needed to love myself right where I was. I was never going to be able to take care of me if I did not. I began to do deep work and my words in the mirror began to change. I began to say "I care about you". At first there were many tears but years of hatred and self loathing began to fall away and I decided I was no longer going to live with the label of victim.
I began to do research on weight loss surgery. It was something I had considered before but always thought it was the easy way out. I went to a information session for the first time about 3 years ago. I walked away thinking it was not for me that I would just do it on my own. I continued to work on my inner self and then the year of my 49th birthday I decided that year 50 would be my year. One night after spending time with a very dear friend she pulled me aside in tears and told me that she was afraid she was going to lose me. She shared how heartbroken she was to see me using a cane. In the past I would have been upset and offended that someone would have said something about my weight. This time I was not offended I knew that what she was saying was true. In addition I had a friend who offered to pay for me to attend Weight Watchers meetings at work with her.
I thought to myself ...I have people who really love me, they loved me enough to speak up in love. It gave me that extra push to move forward and I went back to an information session and made up my mind after weighing the options that I was going to have RNY bypass surgery. I had diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea. I was walking with a cane. I was tired all the time and had no energy.
The process began for me in July of 2010 with an initial appointment. I then had to go for a psychological evaluation and nutritional appointments. I was finally approved for surgery and given the date of Dec 3, 2010. I remember that the week before surgery I was so scared that I had thoughts of backing out. I was afraid I would die on the table. In reality...I did have a rebirth. I left behind the victim in that operating room. For me this was a rite of passage from one part of my life to another. This tool has changed my life.
What was (is) the worst thing about being overweight?
The worst thing for me was the constant obsession about my weight. When I went places I always scanned the room to see if I was the fattest one there. I always worried about how I would get in and out of places...would I fit in the booth, would the chair hold me. I worried that I would not be able to keep up walking with people or that I would have to climb stairs. I was so self conscious that it kept me from doing the things I really wanted to do. I was trapped in a body that was a symptom of all the pain I was carrying around with me. It was suffocating me to death, it was literally killing me. With diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea and other aches and pains I was on my way to an early grave. I did not want that.
If you have had weight loss surgery already, what things do you most enjoy doing now that you weren't able to do before?
Today it is 14 months since I had my surgery. I weighed in this morning at 139 pounds. I have lost over half my weight since my surgery. But more than that I am healthy. I am no longer on medication for diabetes or High Blood Pressure and I gave my cane away. I have so much energy that I have done more in the past year than I have done in probably 10 years. I am teaching classes, going to the gym, dancing, singing...and living my life with open arms and open eyes. My inner work has excelled and I have found that the true key to all this is that it is a tool. I must work at it every single day. I never thought in a million years that structure and accountability would be the thing that freed me to live a happy life. I always thought the opposite.
My life has changed in such positive ways that I would do this over again in a heartbeat but I would not have waited so long. My advice to anyone considering the surgery is this: If you want to be successful see this for what it is a tool for lifestyle change. If you have the surgery and then try to figure out what you can get away with doing afterwards you are going to end up right back where you started from. Everyone loses in the beginning; it is the way the surgery works. But if you are eating the same or cheating early in the game eventually the weight will come back. I spend each day of my life awake, alive, vigilant and responsible for my actions. I do not pray, hope or wish that the scale would stay where it is or go lower...I work at it. We are responsible for the final outcome of the surgery. We are given a valuable tool that can change our lives if we use it correctly. If you think this is the easy way then follow my journey for just a day and you will see that I and others like me must work at it every single day. I write all my food down, I do research, I take responsibility for what I put in my mouth every single time I open it.
I still am attending those meetings my friend offered to pay for because the support has been priceless. The leader of that group has been wonderful and has supported me every step of the way. I found that WW was very compatible with my surgery after I was able to eat regular food. I recently spoke at a WW success story meeting and shared my story about WLS and was very well received. I also have taken leadership roles in our centers support group and started a support group for women that meet at the local library. Helping others who are going through the process or who have already had the surgery. By helping others I help myself. People ask me about loose skin, missing foods, any regrets... I do have loose skin but I do not care about that. I would rather have loose skin than diabetes, High blood pressure and a cane as my constant companion. I do not miss the food that made me sluggish and fat. I have no regrets.
At 139 pounds I fit in a size 8 jeans, I can wear heals, I can play on the floor with my grandchildren and I have a lap they can sit on. My name is Rauncie. My 50th birthday present to myself was a new life. I wanted to grow old watching my grandchildren grow up and living a life of purpose. I will live the rest of my life grateful for this second chance to live my life fully engaged and loving myself. Starting weight 287 Current weight 139 Surgery: RNY gastric bypass Dec 3, 2010