One Year Surgiversary!

Aug 14, 2009

I MADE IT!! WOO HOO!!   This past Wednesday was my one year Surgiversary. And it has been quite a journey. I am finally healthy. And finally happy. And recently divorced. And I now realize that my unhealthy marriage had a lot to do with me getting as overweight and as sick as I was. It has truly been an exciting journey. And I can't wait to see what else God has in store for me.

I will upload my new stats later on today.

Here are some thoughts that I recently shared with a neighbor who is about to have Lap Band surgery. Maybe there's something here that can help you.

I completely understand your excitement, apprehensive, fear, concern, lack of patience, etc. Been there, done that. Lol.

I also made the choice to not tell anybody about my surgery. It was a very private decision that I only shared with my daughter and my husband (now ex). I did not want people to look down their noses at me, judging me because I failed and conventional weight loss programs, and now had to resort to surgery. Or have them tell me all of the urban legends they've heard about weight loss surgery. Or treat me differently by not inviting out to office lunches again. Or constantly monitor everything I eat & drink while at my desk. You know? But there were two catalysts to my mind's turning point.  

(1) I started to realize that I was doing this for me. Nobody else. And it was only a tool to be used with the other tools (diet, exercise, water, protein, smaller portions, etc). And that I was not a failure because I went this route.  

(2) I met with Beverly Smallwood for my Psych Evaluation. She is awesome AND she's had gastric bypass surgery. So she knew exactly all of the emotions I was going through. But her take on it was this - if you lie to your friends now telling them that you are only eating healthy, what are you going to tell them when the weight suddenly starts to fall off quickly? Do you then tell them the truth? How would they feel about you lying to them all that time?   So I went ahead and decided to tell my friends and co-workers. They were all very supportive. They cautiously asked questions without judging me. And even asked what I could & couldn't eat for office lunches. And one co-worker even shared some of my story with his dad, who then also had the Lap Band surgery!

  I know right now you are ready to jump through every hoop out there, as quickly as possible. But there is a method to the madness. It took you years to get to your current situation. So in order to be successful, it should also be a gradual process to losing the weight. This will allow you to work on your mental and emotional health as well as your physical health. Dr. Avara's office is wonderful! They do a great job of answering any and all questions you have. And their intake seminar is very valuable with the information they offer. I had already done a ton of research prior to going to their seminar, but it was still informative for me. Plus you learn about their staff. And that was pretty cool!  

1. This is by far the best thing I have ever done in my entire life. I am healthy! No more medical problems or medications! Not for an entire year now!! I now have my self-esteem and confidence back. And I smile constantly! My friends tell me all the time that my face "glows".  I am now dating again. That has been a struggle, but the comment I get the most is that my confidence and personality are the most noticeable things about me. (And that I have sexy eyes). LOL! But that my weight isn't even that noticable because of my self-confidence. THAT RIGHT THERE is worth every penny of this surgery. WOO HOO! My only regret? Why did I not do this sooner???  

2. I never noticed my port. From day one, I never felt it or noticed that I had one. In fact, I had to have somebody point out where mine was. I still don't realize I have it. And I've been on flights since then and it did not set off the metal detectors. One of the neatest things (and weirdest) for me, was at a support group meeting, a lady let me feel her port. It's right next to the belly button. And even looking at her thin frame, you couldn't tell that therre was anything inside of her.  

3. I can eat and drink anything I want. No specific food item or drink makes me sick.  Now, if I eat large bites too quickly food still gets stuck. But a quick gulp of Diet Coke pops that baby right out of there. (NOTE - This is the ONLY time you can ever drink a carbonated beverage again). Also, I am now so restricted that if I eat late at night, I have to stay up an additional 3 hours or I have a severe case of heart burn. But I shouldn't be eating that late at night anyway. The only times I have trouble, it is because I'm doing something that I should not be doing. So in my book, the Lap Band is doing what it is supposed to.  

4. Anybody can attend our group's support group at anytime. You don't not have to be a current surgical patient of Dr. Avara's to attend. If you have a friend / family member with questions, bring them. If you just want to ask questions, come on. If you end up having your surgery somewhere else, you are still welcome at our monthly support group meetings. They are free of charge and we meet at Dr. Beverly Smallwood's office. She's the one who did my Psych Evaluation. And as a gastric bypass recipient, she even participates in our meetings, as her schedule allows. The meetings are run by Dr. Avara's staff. After their presentation, we have a question & answer session. We also get updates on what is going on with his office. It's also a great way to network with other people in town who are going through what you are going through. So that you can e-mail / call / chat / text them at any time.  

5. I would put Dr. Avara as #1 in the SouthEast portion of the USA. He is a musician, so he has amazing finger dexterity and is a very skilled surgeon. In fact, his best statistic is that after about 1,000 surgeries he has ZERO mortalities. Dr. Avara, his staff, and Singing River Hospital have gone the extra mile to be certified as Bariatric Centers of Excellence. That means they are specifically trained in how to deal with obese people, their emotional baggage, dealing with their problems coming out of anesthesia, and dealing with their excess weight by having bigger beds, larger doorways, and equipment that can handle heavier patients. The entire time I felt like a valued patient, who was constantly treated with dignity. I NEVER felt like an obese freak.  

6. I checked in at the hospital at 6:30 in the morning (I think). My surgery was at 9:00. I woke up in recovery around 11:00. I was up walking the unit at 1:00pm and was discharged by 1:30pm. I went home, sat on the couch wathing tv the rest of the day. I sat up on the sofa watching tv all the next day (Wednesday). Thursday morning I returned to work. In fact, I waited 2 weeks before I went back to Curves. But when I did, I only did the recovery boards, walking in place getting the circulation running through my body. After a week, I gradually added some of the machines back to my routine. And then ultimately was able to get back into full swing of things in a little over a month.  

7. Nutritionist. Now this is my only concern with this office. And I do need to properly address it with Lisa. During your seminar, you learn abotu nutrition. And you are supposed to meet with the nutritionist at that time. For whatever reason, I did not. Since then, I still haven't met with the nutritionist. Now I get nutritional information at the support group meetings. And we even get free samples of various vitamins and protein-based products at our meetings. And each time I go in for a fill, the doctor reviews my nutritional information. So right now I am keeping a food journal. Ugh. Lol. has a great tool for this and supposedly Dr. Avara's office can access that and see my progress. So I'm documenting my workout routine (calories burned), my measurements from Curves, and my diet now. I am waiting to see what they say about all of that.   I feel like I now have my life back. For the first time in years! I am happy and healthy. And I am now in control of my own destiny. I am going through a metamorphosis, kind of like a butterfly who has just shed her fat caccoon and now truly spread her wings, absorbing the warmth of life while sharing her true beauty with the world.  

I'll be happy to answer any questions you have. But honestly, you really need to come to our next support group meeting at the end of this month. And any support system you have should also come with you as well. You can never have too much information in this journey. And your support system will need to be educated on it as well so that they can honestly support you and not be in fear over what you are about to go through.   Please don't hesitate to ask anything! That's what I'm here for.

  Thanks for listening,

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About Me
Hattiesburg, MS
Surgery Date
Mar 27, 2007
Member Since

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