Before & After VSG with Jonathan, losing 153 lbs!February 26, 2019
Why I Decided to Have WLS
“For God’s sake, Dayna, it hurts my back when I wipe my ass,” I said to my counselor through tears. It was November 2015, and I had no idea what could or should be done. But Dayna just sat with me through the tears and as they subsided she asked me why I didn’t call my doctor to ask for help. I told her I was convinced she’d have given up on me by now. I had promised to lose the weight so many times in so many ways that surely there was no way she’d help me now that I was over 400 pounds (405, to be exact).
At my doctor’s appointment, I told her all of the things I’d told my counselor. I told her how I felt, what I feared, and what I knew she was going to do which was give up on me. I begged her for some sort of positive hopeful statement but seemed convinced one couldn’t possibly come. We’d discussed surgery in the past, and I’d always said no right off hand. I wouldn’t have surgery, I was terrified of it. I could do it the old fashioned way. And a thousand other reasons. I wouldn’t even listen to my doctor tell me to consider the possibility.
I was desperate. I legitimately thought I was going to die. Soon.
"I'll do whatever you tell me to do. Want me to come in every week? I'll do that. Is it time for me to have the surgery? You told me to have it three years ago. I'll do it. Whatever you say." Already on that day, I was on two blood pressure medications, an antidepressant, and a potassium supplement. This was my rock bottom moment. Rather than criticize or get angry, she shook her head and patted my hand as I started to tear up.
My doctor told me, "No. It's not the time for any of that. Your pressure is up again. But we're not even going to address that today. You don't have the strength right now to do anything to make progress. We're adding another antidepressant right now. Keep working with your counselor, and come back and see me in three weeks." I sniffled and nodded.
I wasn't a lost cause. There was hope.
Nevertheless, I felt scared about the future and embarrassed because I was scheduled to go to Walt Disney World in a few weeks (just after the first of the year) to run in a half marathon. I'd committed to it in April and hadn't been able to get prepared. I was honestly considering just staying home.
Dayna, however, wouldn’t have any of it. "No. Your plane tickets are purchased and you're staying at that beautiful Animal Kingdom Lodge you mentioned. There will be animals right outside your window. You're going. But I'm giving you permission to not feel bad about the race and to reframe this trip."
"What? Like some personal retreat?"
And that's precisely what I did. I spent five days at the Animal Kingdom Lodge in Walt Disney World alone. I never left my room. I learned to meditate. I wrote and journaled. I slept. I pampered myself. And I just rested and focused on myself. It was in that room, with a giraffe outside my window, I decided that when I came home I was going to schedule a consultation for VSG.
Before & After VSG with Jonathan
Weight Loss to Date: 153 pounds
Surgery Type: VSG
Surgery Date: 5/4/16
Surgeon: Dr. Robert Landerholm
My Surgery and Post-Op Life
“I don’t know if you’re going to dream or not while you’re under, but if you are dreaming, I want it to be something pleasant. So when I tell you to think of something pleasant, that’s your cue that it’s just about sleepy time,” said my anesthesiologist.
Something about my anesthesiologist calling it “sleepy time” made it seem less like the whole “not breathing might die” thing, so I was okay with it.
Almost as soon as the conversation was over, my nurse was there and told me it was time. I looked around the suite for my wheelchair or gurney. Nope. We were walking to the surgical suite. WALKING. Like on the way down The Green Mile.
We walked down a hallway and turned a corner into the operating room. There was the operating table, complete with arm board and straps. Essentially a lethal injection table. I felt my heart thumping in my chest like a bass drum. I’d never had surgery before and was quite literally terrified.
Just hop up on the table and scoot down. We’ll get you secured.
I laid down on the table and my breathing was elevated as was my blood pressure. I could feel the pulsing in my head. I was starting to freak out. Before I had a chance to think, here came the mask.
The anesthesiologist told me to just breath deeply.
Next, my brain took over. "Hey. You know what, man? We’ve lost fifteen pounds through the preoperative diet. That’s not so bad. It was manageable. Maybe we just keep doing that. Yeah. Let’s do that. We’ll just stay on the preoperative diet and go home. Maybe we just cancel this thing."
Next, I was told it was time to think of something pleasant. Oh crap, I'm doing this.
Before I knew it, I was sitting in a chair in the dark in my preoperative suite, barely aware of anything, except for one really important fact. I was alive.
Since then, I’ve thrown myself into the program with gusto! I’ve successfully completed several 10k/half marathon challenges, successfully written and published a book about the VSG journey I went on, given speeches and lectures about VSG success, fell wildly in love with a fellow VSG patient who I fully intend to never let go of, and more! I’ve traveled the world comfortably, and more than that, I’m living my best life! At 40! Can you believe that? I’m finally living my best life. My #SLEEVELIFE.”
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