Describe your behavioral and emotional battle with weight control before learning about bariatric surgery.
I have been trying to lose weight my entire adult life. I have done Jenny Craig twice (got so sick of the food!), Weight Watcher's 3 times (never lost more than 10 lbs.), liquid diets, SlimFast, etc., etc. Around the time I reached age 45 or so, I decided this was just how I was going to be, and decided to enjoy life and stop worrying about it. The funny thing is, I've no trouble maintaining my weight at around 200 (I'm just 5 feet tall.) It seemed that eating whatever I wanted was OK and I didn't really gain any weight, so it was easy to stay that way. But after age 50, I really started to feel the effects of weighing 100 lbs more than I should, esp. in my knees! There is a lot of arthritis in my family, but everyone else got it when they were old, and all of a sudden my knees really started to hurt all the time. I've had cortisone shots several times, which helps for awhile, and another type of artificial lubricant injected, but they still hurt a lot. (Esp. walking and going up and down stairs.) I can still do Zumba, though, which I love -my orthopedist can't get over that! But he said total knee replacement is in my future -but he said if I could lose wt., it would really help my knees. He said every 5 lbs. I lost would buy me 3 more months before I needed surgery. Also, my blood pressure kept going up -I'm now on 3 different meds for it. My internist kept after me to lose wt., but I wasn't motivated enough until my knees really started to give me trouble. My husband was always gently asking me to try to lose wt. and I knew it really bothered him that I was 80-100 lbs over what I was when we got married 30 years ago, but I blamed it on slow metabolism, 3 kids, working fulltime, no time for myself, etc., etc. But it was really starting to get to me, getting so out of breath going up stairs and up hills, hardly being able to bend over and tie my shoes, and shopping for clothes (esp. bathing suits!) was just heartbreaking! I hated how I looked in pictures and how I thought others must see me. I decided I had the opposite problem of an anorexic -they still think they're fat, even when they're scary-skinny, but I never felt fat or thought of myself that way, until I saw pictures of me next to other people -then I had to face the ugly truth. I work in health care, and I felt guilty counseling other people about exercise and diet when I obviously wasn't following my own advice! And I knew if I didn't do something, I would end up with diabetes and heart disease, not to mention 2 artificial knees! I had several patients who had bypass surgery, and they all did so well and looked so great -I started seriously considering it for myself and started doing some research. Around that time (about 3 years ago) my husband told me he didn't want to be married any more and was moving out. Of course, I was devastated! I knew my weight and appearance was part of it, but of course, there were many other problems in our relationship that we didn't seem to be able to work out. I felt that I wanted to try, but he was "done" and wouldn't even consider counseling or trying to make it work. So the idea of wt. loss surgery went on the back burner while I coped with the separation, divorce, making a new life for myself, etc. I ended up buying a condo (which I love!) and asking my long-time divorced sister to move in with me -we are both empty-nesters now, and both are having our first granddaughters 6 weeks apart! Life is finally good again after the heartbreak, and she is a Zumba instructor, so she is fit and keeps me going to class 3 times a week. Once life settled down and I got through the painful divorce, I resolved it was my time to do something for me, and I decided now was the time for weight-loss surgery. My sister and my whole family have been extremely supportive of my decision, and my 3 children (all grown now) are also very supportive. My older daughter is a nurse, and she is coming to take care of me -she confessed that she was trying to think of a nice way to tell me I should lose wt., because she was worried about me! That broke my heart! My younger daughter is in her last year of college, and she is a little worried about the surgery and says she loves me just the way I am, but she'll be happy if I'm healthier. She loves to cook and will help me with healthy meals! (My girls are very petite and luckily have stayed that way into adulthood.) My son, who is 30, needs to lose some weight, but his wife is a runner and will get him moving again after the baby comes. I need to be healthy and active for my new granddaughter! (who is due in 2-3 weeks!) And even my ex-husband, who I am on very good terms with (and his girlfriend of 2 years!) is very supportive and has called to offer his support and encouragement. (I wonder if he will have second thoughts about leaving me when he sees the new me! Ha! But this is not about him -it's about me and feeling great in my own skin and being healthy and happy!) I finally want to look on the outside like I feel inside! And I want to be a good role model for my children and my patients, and live a long and healthy life! So I am having a sleeve gastrectomy tomorrow (March 7) and I am ready! So that is my story!
What was (is) the worst thing about being overweight?
My painful knees, not being able to do many things, either because I get out of breath or because I can't bend over/reach, and feeling embarrassed all the time about my appearance when I'm trying to look professional.
If you have had weight loss surgery already, what things do you most enjoy doing now that you weren't able to do before?
It feels so great not to get so out of breath and be able to bend over to tie my shoes! I love trying on old clothes that I hadn't worn for a long time due to being too tight/too uncomfortable/didn't look good -and now they fit and look great! (And some are even too loose and baggy and have to be given away!) I have much less pain in my knees -I have only taken Advil once since surgery. It's wonderful to hear people compliment me on my appearance too! I also noticed at my exercise class, I can reach my toes, balance on one foot, and twist around more than I could before -there's not so much belly in the way!