This has been an almost 3 year journey for me. I am still alittle shocked that it is finally going to happen. I guess I should start by introducing myself.
Hi, My name is Jean. I am 44 (ok, in one more week I will be) and have been overweight most of my life. I am legally married but my husband and I have been separated for 6 years (long story) but we do get along pretty well. Therefore I am basically the single parent of 2 kids. I also have 3 step-kids who are older and out of the house. I have 4 cats. I like to read mostly mysteries, thrillers and suspense novels. I am hoping to have more hobbies as I lose weight.
I never ever thought I would consider WLS. You always used to hear the horror stories and things from years ago. I really started to consider it about the time I joined this forum. I know many advances have been made, it is alot safer than years ago and now insurance is covering it. I guess I finally got to the point of being very unhappy and fed up with having no energy and feeling like I couldn't do anything. I started my journey by attending and info. meeting at Unity Hospital. I was all gung ho about it and filled out the paperwork and had my first appt. with Dr. Baker's office. At the time I believe I was 353 lbs. This was in July of '04. They told me I had to lose 27 lbs. and do a structured weight loss program for 6 months. I thought, Ok, no sweat. I will just start drinking more water and watch what I eat and because I am so heavy, the first 30 lbs. will come of very easily! WRONG! I forgot to tell you, I LOVE fast food. I was working at a job that I worked crazy hours, trying to take care of my 2 kids and dealing with 2 unruly step-kids. I also have issues with depression. I was exhausted all the time and it was just to easy to stop at McD's. and pick up food thru drive-thru and I wouldn't have to cook. Kids would be fed, I go home and veg in front of the TV. I would usually eat fast food for lunch to, Breakfast? What is that? I started seeing a dietician at my clinic and we recorded my weight and I was really wasn't losing much of anything. I just put the whole process on the back burner and went about my life.
Lets just say, the year 2006 was a horrible year for me and I am glad it is gone. I do realize that I respondsible for some of the events that happened in my life and I am dealing with that. In January I had my gall bladder taken out as I was having attacks. In April I had surgery for urinary incontinence. In May I had a car accident and totalled my car and my daughter and I ended up with whiplash. Thank God it was only that because our accident could have been alot worse. I was working hours that worked with my kids schedule but it was extremely hard on me. My step-daughter was also not cooperating at home with me at all and we had alot of tension and stress there. I also was having issues with my home and my depression was rearing it ugly head because I was exhausted all the time and not dealing with things well. Also my sister-in-law passed away suddenly and unexpectedly and my oldest sister found out she had breast cancer. ( They caught it early and she is fine) In August I lost my job of 18 years. I hit bottom. I didn't know what to do anymore. I felt like a failure, a horrible parent and a worthless human being. A part of idenity was gone and I had no idea what to do to make a good living for me and my kids to support us. (yes, my hubby does pay child support.) My husband agreed to put me on his insurance as he already covers the kids and it wouldn't cost him anymore. It was the same insurance I had before. I filed for unemployment and got that started and then just tried to decide what I was going to do. First, I slept ALOT due to the depression and exhaustion. I realized I couldn't continue to do that. Amazingly the stress and tension was reduced some and I dropped 20 lbs. without really trying but I wasn't eating much either because I was depressed. I had to start the WLS process all over again. It had been over a year since I had last been in. I went to the info meeting again and Gwen (Doodlebug), who I had gotten to know and has become a dear friend, went with me for support. I made and appt. with Dr. Baker's office and filled out all the paperwork and made appts. for my psych. evaluation again. By the time I had my appt with Baker's office I was almost done the psych. eval. and was pretty much on my way. They told me I was at 347 lbs. and they wanted me to lose 26 lbs. I thought, ok, I can do that. I decided to go back to school for a customized program that would only take several weeks. Things were starting to look up alittle and I wasn't feeling so hopeless anymore. The kids liked having me home more and the house was getting the attention it needed. Also in July I kicked my step-daughter out of the house. I was starting to take control again. I had my teaching appt. at Dr. Baker's office and had lost 20 lbs. The nurse wanted a letter of support from my therapist and alitte more documentation about my structured weight loss. My therapist was happy to write a letter support. My regular Nurse Practicioner was fully supportive, we had been talking about this since '04 and she has known me for 9 years. She told me I am still healthy and now is the time to do it. The only problems I have are depression and high blood pressure. I do have heart problems and diabetes in my family so we thought this was a good idea. I started school and loved it and had a blast! At school I was packing my lunch everyday and eating better. I had more time at home and was cooking more at home because I couldn't afford to eat out and we were eating alittle better.
Enter 2007. After Christmas break I went back to school and one day I can home and there was a message on the answering machine. "Hi Jean, this is Dr. Baker's office and your insurance company has approved you for surgery, please call and make an appt to meet with Dr. Jeff Baker." WHAT!!!! I didn't know they had even sent in the paperwork. I never got in more documentation of structuered weight loss ( was doing a phone program thru my insurance and I think the insurance company could see that) but I know my therapist had sent in the letter of support. WHAT!!!! I couldn't believe it. I had kind of put it on the back burner again because I was going to be finishing school shortly and I had to find a new job soon. How could I possibly fit surgery into all this mess. My unemployment was running out and what was I going to do? I talked to Gwen and she was excited, she said " well, just go see the Dr. and make the appt. for surgery, you could always cancel it if you can't do it." Ok, makes sense. I called and make and appt. with Dr. Jeff Baker for Feb. 22nd. I knew I had lost more weight so I thought I was where they wanted me to be. I finished school on Feb. 2nd. I had a blast in school and I loved it, I miss it! Anyways I started looking for a job. NOTHING. They want experience and there just wasn't alot out there. I thought that things will open up more in March and April. Financially, could I last that long? On Feb. 15th I got a call from Dr. Jeff Baker's office, " we have a cancellation for tomorrow, would you like to come in instead of next week?" Sure, I can do that. So on Feb. 16th, I meet Dr. Jeff Baker, I had lost another 6 lbs., he said "everything looks good and I suppose you want surgery ASAP. How about March 8th at 10 am?" WHAT!!!! um uh, cough, sure! He had tried to get me in Feb. 28th but couldn't, this was the soonest. I was SHOCKED!!! As I pulled out of the parking lot, I called Gwen, "Got the date! March 8th!" She said "DANG, I won't be here!" She will be in Austrailia. She has been supporting me and I was looking so forward to having her be there for my surgery and being my Angel. But, having the choice, I would be in Austrailia too! She was so excited for me. I was still in shock!!! I came home and posted it on the board and put out a call for an angel. Gwen called me later and said " I have the perfect Angel for you and I just talked to her and she said that she would be honored." So Christine is my Angel and I couldn't be happier! I wish it could be Gwen but Christine is a perfect stand in. I gave Christine a call we agreed to meet for lunch. I spent the next 4 days still in shock. I told a few friends and family. I told my husband and asked if he would take me to the hospital. He said he would. I made arrangements for my kids while I am in the hospital. It still hasn't completely hit me. Finally about Wed. or Thurs. it kind of hit me alittle more. My birthday is March 3rd, I will be 44, a week later I will be a loser! What a birthday present! This is finally happening! I am having a Lap-RNY so my recovery time is only about 2 weeks, sans any complications, and I can resume my job search. I will have to dip into my retirement though but I think I can handle that. WOW! I still can't believe it. Christine and I met for lunch yeaterday and we hit it off. I had met her one other time. I am excited at the what the new me is going to be. The only thing I worry about is saggy skin but Christine gave me great advice on that and I will be working with her in that respect too. I can't wait to go shopping with Gwen and Christine! I can't wait to see what size jeans I will be able to wear! My goal is to lose 150 lbs. Dr. Baker said that is reasonable and I could even go down alittle more but that is a good goal.
Some of you remember Jessica O. She was a dear friend of mine and I met her after she had WLS and while she was sick. Unfortunately, she passed away Nov. 14 2005 at the young age of 28. I still miss her. Last night I called her parents told them. They are excited for me. Her mom said that as I lose weight and get to the right size, she has some of Jessica's clothes waiting for me. I would be honored to wear some of Jessica's clothes! I still think of her so often and whenever Gwen and I get together we still talk about her. When I was in my car, I said "Jessica, it is finally happening, I am having surgery!" I know she would be excited and happy for me. I know she is in Heaven cheering for me, knowing her she probably pulled a few strings and made this happen for me now. LOL Thanks Jess!!! Love You!
Anyways, that is my story and I am sticking to it! I think the two things I am most looking forward to are having more energy and being able to climb stairs alot better. I want to be able to move better and play with my kids more and be able to run around with them. My kids are excited. they say, "Mom, are you going to be skinny?" LOL
This surgery is not for everyone and the decision should not be made lightly and without alot of research and thought. For me I believe it is the right decicion. I am excited and I feel it will change my life. I know that I am the one who has to put in the work to make it work and get the results I want. I have to make the changes and it isn't always going to be easy. I still think it is the right decision for me.