Vets Vantage Point: The Value Of Support

on 3/13/19 10:14 am

Let me re-introduce myself after quite a long absence (3 years away from OH!) I'll be 10 years out from my RNY surgery in July, and just as I came back to OH last week I discovered Daisy's daily questions to vets. What a great way to jump back in ~~ and even recognize a name or two from "back when"!

I'd like to offer a continuing way for vets to share on particular topics, our learnings and struggles and even a word of wisdom here and there. So I'll do my best to post weekly-ish and invite y'all to join or newbie or somewhere in between.

Today I'd like to talk about the power of support post WLS.

I knew this going in. I was told at my support group that there were 2 key variables to long term success: attending support was one, and commitment to lifetime change was the other.

And I DID attend support. We lived in PA at the time, and I drove about 90 minutes each way to my support group once a month. It was a large circle, and I always learned something. I was on OH daily, and in those days we had a very active state message board that was a terrific help to a newbie.

Then....we moved to Florida. I was sitting pretty, at my goal weight, active and working and all was good. I researched a bariatric practice with a support group there, and attended a time or two.

But the drive was out of my way (although much closer than it was in PA), and I just didn't invest my energies into going.

And I was ok.

Yes, I was O****il life took over. I met up with some marriage issues that took a lot of energy to resolve (and because you may be wondering, yes I'm still married).

My mom was aging and required more and more of my attention.

Supporting mom's needs meant family drama. Some of you know about family drama, I bet!

And ultimately, we moved again. This time, to Michigan, as my mom entered assisted living and I made daily trips over to see to her needs. I did her cooking. Shopping. Laundry. Doctor's appointments. Ultimately, mom passed away at age 101, just this January.

And my own needs? Well, those fell down the list, further and further over the past 2 years.

I never even thought of WLS support along the way. I was busy.

And ever so slowly, I gained 10...15....25 lbs. My "self care" became an unhealthy "energy bar" (really truly it was a big cookie) or a PBJ for dinner because I had no time or energy left for myself.

I've realized now how very very far my own self care slid over the last few years. I'm not as ok as I was in PA, or in Florida. That 25 lbs means some things:

I didn't pay attention.

My clothes don't fit well. Some favorites don't fit at all.

I don't move with confidence.

I don't feel as positively about myself. There's shame and guilt to bear along with that 25 lbs.

Losing it is hard.

Last week, I got in the car and made another drive - and hour this time - to a support group. It was a big circle, and I listened closely. At my point in the journey, I knew that some of the people in that circle were great successes; others felt that regain will "never happen to them," and others were new and fearful and hopeful all at once.

I listened to some wise people.

I'm back to OH, too, and enjoying my own daily "reading around" here. You're part of the support network too!

And next month, I'll make that hour drive once again.

on 3/13/19 10:29 am
RNY on 08/11/14

Thank you for your honesty and I am glad you are here with us. I am sorry you had so many things happen but please know you are worth it and important!

RNY 8/11/14 with Dr. Kelvin Higa PS Lipectomy 4/12/17 with Dr. John Burnett HW 291.4/CW 137-140 (10/2018)GW 150

on 3/13/19 11:08 am

But you know what? ALL of us have things that happen. Living life means we are not immune. It comes down to how we deal with it over we bounce back and keep our own needs and well being somewhere on that list~! Yes we are ALL worth it!

Miss Liss
on 3/13/19 12:17 pm

Welcome back to OH!! I was 15 years out from RNY back in January. Good to see other long timers coming on to share experiences. Support is very important. I don't think I would be as successful as I am if I had not stuck with getting support and got therapy early out to deal with food issues. I still struggle sometimes depending on what curve balls life is throwing out and I have ridden the regain train a couple of times. Thankful for a tool that helps me get it back off.

on 3/13/19 12:43 pm - DC
RNY on 12/16/13

Lynn - yay! I am glad you came back! Lately I feel like the boards are sort of slow. I totally agree that support is a MUST. I don't have in-person support as my medical center's monthly support groups are a massive waste of time. Massive. It's required for pre-ops so it tends to be (no joke) a room full of people who are there to be able to check a box, and who ask questions like "Well will I be able to have my grandma's german chocolate cake after surgery" or "I am going to try to cut back to only drinking a case of Mountain Dew a week". No joke. I used to try to go after I reached goal and answer questions but honestly, no one seemed receptive and I got zero support so OH is my daily support!

I learned long ago that my friends and my partner don't obsess over calories and carbs and gains and drops and exercise and really, food in general, like I do. No one wants to hear me obsess over protein and carbs and all that. I have found OH to be an incredible community of folks who are going through the same thing, and I learned far more from people on this site than anyone in real life! And some have become real-life friends!

Like you, I am suffering from a regain, my jeans don't fit, I am embarrassed, and I feel like it requires a massive struggle every day for a week to lose even a pound, at which point I gain it back right away. I am clearly eating enough calories for maintenance and I am sure I sound like a pathetic broken record, saying for months now that I need to lose 25 lbs. I am only 5 years and 3 months post-op and it's just so damn hard now compared to that first blissful year. I always tell newbies, for ME, the easy part was losing weight, the hardest is keeping it off. Year 4 is when it all came on...

I am from Michigan originally - Rochester Hills and then Ferndale! Where are you located?

And on a last note, I am sorry to hear about your mom. 101 is a wonderfully long life but I imagine there is never a right time to lose a parent.

on 3/13/19 1:35 pm

DCgirl I grew up in Rochester/Rochester Hills and raised my family there! I also worked for Rochester Community Schools for a long time. Departed for PA and FL when I remarried in back to Oakland County and living right on the border of Waterford Twp and Clarkston. I just wonder if our paths crossed at any point in the past! (Like, how could they not have one way or another!) Feel free to e mail me at [email protected] and we can put it together if you'd like!

on 3/13/19 1:47 pm - DC
RNY on 12/16/13

I bet they did! I went to Long Meadow, West and then Hart for the very first year it opened, and then Adams - where I graduated. I was born at Crittenton :) I live just outside of DC now but most of my high school friends still live within 20 miles of Rochester ha ha! I will shoot you an email!

on 3/13/19 2:07 pm

Oh....please e mail me! I bet you know my daughter! (AHS 2000) or son (AHS 01)

on 3/13/19 2:16 pm - DC
RNY on 12/16/13

I wish I were that young! I was Adams class of '95!

I have to run to kickboxing cardio but will send you an email tomorrow. What a small world!

Sparklekitty, Science-Loving Derby Hag
on 3/13/19 2:16 pm
RNY on 08/05/19

Remember, you're not alone. I'm in a very similar spot with the regain, though it's quite a bit more than 25lb. We're all in it together!

Nerdy Little Secret (#42) - Derby Strong!
VSG 2013, lost 150lb - RNY conversion 2019 due to GERD