Oct 04, 2018
Well, here I am. Exactly 1 month shy of the 20th anniversary of my vertical gastric banding surgery. On one hand, since it's been maybe 18 years since I've posted here, it was great reading how excited I was at the time.
For 13 years, I did great. I did have that tummy tuck back in the day... my "now" husband nursed me through that - so I knew he was a keeper. I read some of my previous posts that even back then talked about how easy it was to gain weight back post-VGB, but somehow I managed to keep "most" of it off until about 13 years ago. I had gained more than I normally allowed myself to without "minded" intervention (meal planning, eating journals, exercise, etc). I think I actually got up to about 235 from the 175 where I liked to stay and I did this really extreme diet, called HCG diet. I injected myself daily and hardly ate. So how thrilled was I when I got to an adult lifetiime low of 132. Wow. Talk about being thrilled with myself. I didn't care that it was such an unhealthy way to lose weight that I lost almost all of my hair and was wearing a wig. I was thin.
And then... You know that thing called "life"? Well, it hit my household pretty hard. I suffered a massive job loss, simultaneously my husband suffered an even bigger job loss and then we lost everything. The huge house, the cars, so-called "friends". And that is when I let it go. I let it all go. I was so humiliated. I found myself rarely leaving the house. When I did, I definitely didn't care how I looked. I would go out without make-up just so people I knew might not recognize me if we caught a quick glance. My life as a hermit gradually progressed into someone with social anxiety and then grew into someone with agorophobia who would only leave home to drive somewhere to get food. I would muster up the courage to go to the grocery store, but generally, grabbing fast food limited the most face to face contact. I stopped going everywhere. I got a crummy job but it worked because I could work from home. I disconnected from a lot of close family, like my mom and sister.
About a year ago, I made a conscious decision to take my life back. I held onto the one crutch that had always been there for me (food) so my gradual weight gain continued while I took the steps needed to rejoin the real world. I got the courage to call my psychiatrist. I'd seen her for 13 years consistently before my financial woes caused me to stop going to her. Considering she's not a therapist, she has done an amazing job of helping me reclaim myself. Now that I'm "chemically" in a better place, I've mostly overcome my fear of leaving home.
My current weight is 275 and I'm starting the process to see if a revision to a RNY is a good option for me. My first surgeon has long moved on to bigger and better things but the hospital I had my surgery done at didn't give up and they now have an AMAZING program. Back 20 years ago, there wasn't a lot of nutritional counseling or education done, before or after surgery. At the same time, I don't think it took as much to get an approval for surgery if weight loss reduction surgery wasn't specifically listed as an exclusion on health insurance policies. Back 20 years ago when I was a 24 year old girl with dial-up access to AOL, I was armed when I walked into that surgeon's office. I knew what I needed to get approved with the first letter. Things are a lot different now. If weight loss surgery isn't specifically excluded, then you are going to have to jump through some hoops to get approval. The bariatric center I'm going to knows the hurdles and have designed their program so they don't even ask for approval until you've done everything on their checklist, which includes 6 months of required diet classes.
Not sure I understand all of their steps on the checklist. Their program required that I see the bariatrician there, although I'm not sure why. The bariatrician is more of a medical weight loss doctor and isn't a surgeon. I had to see her to get the sign off for a consult with the surgeon. But I did that and got a consult with the surgeon. She isn't what I expected at all. I admit I went in without giving her a lot of tools to help me. I forgot what kind WLS I had (thought it was a bypass, but it definitely WAS NOT) and my medical records were long ago destroyed. So when she and I talked, she was very curt and said unless there was a "problem" with the bypass I had back in the day, there may not be anything to fix and it would all be behavior modification. So she scheduled me for an upper GI and a CT and said we'd see what those tests have to say. I admit in the last week since I saw her that I've been a bit down since I left thinking I'd have to go back to doing this in a way that didn't work for me in the past.
That brings me to today. And this forum. I was just doing some internet searches like I did 20 years ago and wouldn't you know I happened across my old profile page here. Clear as day I now remember it wasn't a bypass at all. I was one of those people who had amazing success with the vertical gastric band... and now I am one of those people who years later needs a revision to RNY. But finding this page and my old posts have reminded me that surgery was never a cure. It's a process and a lifelong change. It's a tool. It's not indestructable. Once you are on a "normal" path in life, you still are not like everyone else. Most people who are morbidly obese have a very real addiction to food and you can never afford to fall off the wagon.
I'm going to keep posting here. Because today is a lot brighter than yesterday and I've found a little hope again. I'm one diet class down with 5 more monthly classes to go to. And the outcome is going to be worth it. Keep your fingers crossed for me!